So, for a while now, I’ve been struggling with a problem on my Windows 7 PC where, after I would login, the Welcome screen would go away like it was supposed to, but the desktop wouldn’t load up for several minutes. The mouse would work fine as far as moving it between screens, but since the explorer process wasn’t running, there was nothing to click, and the right click wouldn’t do anything. In addition, Ctrl+Esc, and Ctrl+Alt+Del appeared to do nothing; at least not until the desktop loaded, at which point the menu to launch Task Manager would appear. So what’s the cause and fix?
When I first noticed the problem, I checked Google, but eventually gave up because nobody seemed to have a solution. I came back to it tonight because I was doing several restarts back to back trying to defragment and resize the primary partition on the C: drive, and the delay was annoying me.
After googling around for a bit, I finally found a Superuser.com post about the issue, so I looked at that. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what the first answer was, and how closely it matched my own setup. The problem comes from my one-off setup, in that I’m using the NFS Client for Windows. For me, the problem was caused by the fact that I keep my file server (Linux-based with an NFS share) powered off most of the time, as it is an archive, and keeping it powered off saves my important data (pictures of my kids, etc) from accidental deletion and some disasters, and saves my wallet from a high electric bill.
Being that it is an in-home file server, I mapped the NFS share to a drive letter in Windows. Since the server is off most of the time, the Windows NFS client apparently prevents the desktop from loading until it hits some arbitrary timeout value that Microsoft built into it. Therefore, the solution is to unmap the drive when the server is powered off. Sure it’s a bit inconvenient, but I can always just make a shortcut on my desktop directly to the file server’s mount point instead.
So there you go. If you’re running the NFS Client for Windows, and have a mapped drive that is disconnected for whatever reason, try releasing the mapping, and rebooting to see if the problem persists. Feel free to let me know in the comments if this works for you. I’ll definitely update this post if you have other causes and/or solutions.