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User32.dll or Kernel32.dll does not initialize

Symptoms
An application that is executed by CreateProcess or CreateProcessAsUser may fail, and you receive one of the following error messages:
Initialization of the dynamic library <system>\system32\user32.dll failed. The process is terminating abnormally.
Initialization of the dynamic library <system>\system32\kernel32.dll failed. The process is terminating abnormally.

Additionally, the failed process returns exit code 128 or the following error:
ERROR_WAIT_NO_CHILDREN
Cause
This failure occurs for one of the following reasons:
  • The executed process does not have correct security access to the window station and desktop that are associated with the process.
  • The system ran out of desktop heap.
More information

Cause 1

The executed process does not have correct security access to the window station and desktop that are associated with the process.

The lpDesktop member of the STARTUPINFO structure that is passed to CreateProcess or CreateProcessAsUser specifies the window station and desktop that are associated with the executed process. The executed process must have correct security access to the specified window station and desktop.

For more information about how to resolve security problems with window stations and desktops, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
165194 CreateProcessAsUser() windowstations and desktops

Cause 2

The system ran out of desktop heap.

Every desktop object on the system has a desktop heap that is associated with it. The desktop object uses the heap to store menus, hooks, strings, and windows. In Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP 32-bit, the system allocates desktop heap from a system-wide 48-megabyte (MB) buffer. In addition to desktop heaps, printer drivers and font drivers also use this buffer.

Desktops are associated with window stations. A window station can contain zero or more desktops. You can change the size of the desktop heap that is allocated for a desktop that is associated with a window station by changing the following registry value.

Note We do not recommend that you use the /3GB switch. The /3GB switch is specified in the Boot.ini file. The /3GB switch is supported only for 32-bit operating systems.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\SubSystems\Windows
 In Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP 32-bit, the default data for this registry value will resemble the following (all on one line): 
   %SystemRoot%\system32\csrss.exe ObjectDirectory=\Windows   SharedSection=1024,3072,512 Windows=On SubSystemType=Windows   ServerDll=basesrv,1 ServerDll=winsrv:UserServerDllInitialization,3   ServerDll=winsrv:ConServerDllInitialization,2 ProfileControl=Off   MaxRequestThreads=16				

In different versions of Windows, the default data for this registry value will resemble the following:

For Windows Vista RTM (32-bit)
SharedSection=1024,3072,512

For Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 (32-bit), and Windows Server 2008 (32-bit)
SharedSection=1024,12288,512

For Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 (64-bit), Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)
SharedSection=1024,20480,768

The numeric values that following "SharedSection=" control how the desktop heap is allocated. These SharedSection values are specified in kilobytes. There are separate settings for desktops that are associated with interactive and noninteractive window stations.

Note If you change the SharedSection values in the registry, you must restart the system for the changes to take effect.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

The first SharedSection value (1024) is the shared heap size common to all desktops. This includes the global handle table. This table holds handles to windows, menus, icons, cursors, and so on, and shared system settings. It is unlikely that you would ever have to change this value.

The second SharedSection value is the size of the desktop heap for each desktop that is associated with the "interactive" window station WinSta0. User objects such as hooks, menus, strings, and windows consume memory in this desktop heap. It is unlikely that you would ever have to change this value.

Each desktop that is created in the interactive window station uses the default desktop heap of 3,072 KB. By default, the system creates the following three desktops in Winsta0:
  • Winlogon
  • Default  
    The "Default" application desktop will be used by all the processes for which "Winsta0\default" is specified in the STARTUPINFO.lpDesktop structure member. When the lpDesktop structure member is NULL, the window station and desktop are inherited from the parent process. All services that are executed under the LocalSystem account with the Allow Service to Interact with Desktop startup option selected will use "Winsta0\Default." All these processes will share the desktop heap that is associated with the "Default" application desktop.
  • Screen saver  
    The screen saver desktop is created in the interactive window station (WinSta0) when a screen saver is displayed.
The third SharedSection value is the size of the desktop heap for each desktop that is associated with a "noninteractive" window station. If this value is not present, the size of the desktop heap for noninteractive window stations will be same as the size that is specified for interactive window stations (that is, the second SharedSection value).

If only two SharedSection values are present, you can add a third value to specify the size of the desktop heap for desktops that are created in noninteractive window stations.

Every service process that is executed under a user account will receive a new desktop in a noninteractive window station that is created by the Service Control Manager (SCM). Therefore, each service that is executed under a user account will consume the number of kilobytes of desktop heap that is specified in the third SharedSection value. All services that are executed under the LocalSystem account when Allow Service to Interact with the Desktopis not selected share the desktop heap of the "Default" desktop in the noninteractive service windows station (Service-0x0-3e7$).

The total desktop heap that is being used in the interactive and noninteractive window stations must fit in the buffer.

Decreasing the second or third SharedSection value will increase the number of desktops that can be created in the corresponding window stations. Smaller values will limit the number of hooks, menus, strings, and windows that can be created in a desktop. On the other hand, increasing the second or third SharedSection value will decrease the number of desktops that can be created. However, this will also increase the number of hooks, menus, strings, and windows that can be created in a desktop.

Because the SCM creates a new desktop in the noninteractive window station for every service process that is running under a user account, a larger third SharedSection value will reduce the number of user account services that can run successfully on the system. The minimum that can be specified for the second or third SharedSection value is 128. Any attempt to use a smaller value will instead use 128.

Desktop heap is allocated by User32.dll when a process needs user objects. If an application is not dependent on User32.dll, it will not consume desktop heap.  

Note In Windows Server 2003, the specific event is logged in the System log when one of the following conditions is true:
  • If the desktop heap becomes full, the following event is logged:

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: Win32k
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 243
    Date: Date
    Time: Time
    User: N/A
    Computer: ServerName
    Description: A desktop heap allocation failed.

    In this case, increase the desktop heap size.
  • If the total desktop heap becomes the system-wide buffer size, the following event is logged:

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: Win32k
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 244
    Date: Date
    Time: Time
    User: N/A
    Computer: ServerName
    Description: Failed to create a desktop due to desktop heap exhaustion.

    In this case, decrease the desktop heap size.
In Windows Server 2003, a system-wide buffer is 20 MB when one of the following conditions is true:
  • You are in a Terminal Services environment.
  • The /3GB switch is specified in the Boot.ini file.
Properties

Article ID: 184802 - Last Review: 06/12/2015 17:22:00 - Revision: 12.0

Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface

  • kbdll kbkernbase kbprb kbsecurity KB184802
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