SQL Server Management Studio Startup Time

Note: This posting only applies to Management Studio 2005. We have corrected the behavior for Management Studio 2008 thus there is no special configuration necessary. 

One of my co-workers recently responded to a problem a user was having with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). The user was experiencing extremely slow startup of SSMS – a couple of minutes. The potential cause for the problem is not apparently obvious, but could impact tons of installations.

One issue that can cause this problem is that if the server does not have access to the internet, then the .NET framework can’t access the crl.microsoft.com website to verify that the digital signatures used to sign the binaries for managed applications are valid. Each certificate check has a 15 second timeout in the .NET runtime implementation. Depending on what features are installed, this can add up to a minute of startup time for Management Studio.

There are a couple workarounds:

1) Configure a proxy server to allow access to http://crl.microsoft.com from your server

2) Configure your firewall to return a failure status quickly when it blocks access to the http://crl.microsoft.com website

3) Disable checks for certificate revocation. You can do this using Internet Explorer by opening the Internet Options dialog, going to the Advanced Page, and then un-checking the “Check for publisher’s certificate revocation” checkbox. There are fraudulently signed binaries in the wild that can make virus-infected applications look like they were published by Microsoft. Disabling this check should probably not be done on machines with internet access.

Comments (30)

  1. Ramesh says:

    Why cannot this be done locally?

  2. dhervieux says:

    Is it reported to Microsoft and will it be fixed ?

  3. bill salkin says:

    Wow! If I understood what you said, the current version of .NET needs access to the Internet (for real or by proxy). Not having it can slow down Management Studio startup time. Doesn’t seem too good for a developer using a Laptop in an Airport (maybe in disconnected mode).

  4. Eric says:

    Add a host entry in your hosts file.
    This will cause certificate revocation not to be be checked at crl.microsoft.com
    Also this is system wide and not user specifict like the IE settings.
    I don’t realy understand the use, when it can’t reach the server it’s all ok anyway.
    So why not let it be disabled in SQL 2005 alone maintaining your safety in browsers.

    Add this text in your hosts file under system32driversetc       crl.microsoft.com

    Works for us.

  5. Paul says:

    I think its shameful that so many applications, especially those written in .NET, run many times slower than apps released 5 years ago. Microsoft just has to keep soaking up that cpu to ensure the world keeps buys more pcs = more windows licenses. Sql Server 2000 finally became useable in 2005 when performance of servers and pcs got to circa P2500/1GB ram, and now they’ve made it unuseable once again.

    Without applying this tweak sql 2005 takes 60 seconds to start on my laptop, and about 15 seconds with the tweak applied. It should start in < 1second.

  6. Erik says:

    Thanks, I had the same problem! I spend so much time looking for the answer!

  7. Yoda says:


    It sets HKEY_USERS[SID]SoftwareMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL Server90ToolsShellHelpUseOnlineContent and HKEY_USERS[SID]SoftwareMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL Server90ToolsShellHelpUseOnlineContentUseMSDNOnlineF1 to 0 from 1.

    What do you think, can it be set in HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT, too?

    Erik: http://www.google.hu/search?hl=hu&q=sql+management+studio+starts+slow&meta=

    😉 Google Is Your Friend :))

    BTW MS KB article had been posted on August 8, 2006. 🙂

  8. Manuel Daponte says:

    I’ve been for week with this annoyance. None of your tips worked, BUT when I was looking in the registry I found something…

    This keys were pointing to a folder in machine that no longer is in my network !!!

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL Server90ToolsShell

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL Server90ToolsShell

    I changed both to a local directory, and now it’s opening in less than five seconds !!!

    Thanks for the hint !!!

  9. Brad Turner says:

    THANK YOU!  We spent days working with a frustratingly sluggish system only to discover that this was the source of our issues.  In our case, it not only caused SQL MS to open slowly but it caused Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007 rules extensions to crash and timeout during sync runs (compiled in .NET 2.0 CLR).

    Option #3 solved the problem!

    Brad Turner


  10. This may not be the best place to ask this question, but we’re really hug up.   We have SQL2005 running on 64bit servers (w2003).   Then we installed SQL2005 on a 32bit server (w2000), which installed, but with Management Studio!

    Management Studio does not appear on the 32bit install CD’s.   Everything else lights up just fine.

    Does anyone have any ideas/experience at finding the missing tool?  (It’s kinda slow working with the command line).



  11. This issue is covered pretty well by blogs in the context of SSMS ( Dan Jones and Euan Garden ) and in

  12. This issue is covered pretty well by blogs in the context of SSMS ( Dan Jones and Euan Garden ) and in

  13. LittleRed says:

    I am astounded that Microsoft insists on doing this. SQL  is an enterprise product, and I don’t know a single enterprise technician or security analyst that would allow a database server of any sort access to the internet, direct or otherwise. In fact, no server should be allowed access to the internet unless it is one of it’s specific tasks. I would imagine that the hacking community are having a field day with the knowledge that Microsoft servers are operating like this.

  14. Проверка аннулирования сертификата может порождать некоторые задержки в работе SQL Server 2005 Management

  15. Paulo Hecko says:

    Thanks for issue. Resolved in my case.

  16. bogdan says:

    thanks for this! it works like lightning now.

    am really grateful

  17. Elton says:

    it seems that the new patch 3054 from Microsoft for SQL 2005 also fixes the issue for the slow start of the SSMS.

  18. Mike says:

    We’ve got a Microsoft Enterprise CA system.  Is there a way to leverage the certs which could be issued from it as well as our CRL?  It would be much less of a threat than opening a hole to the Internet.

  19. Thomasek says:

    Hello Eric,

    thank you for your issue, it resolved my case!

    Before the etc.host was modified: 1 minute to run Management Studio

    now: 1-3 seconds


  20. Mark says:

    We have a client that experiences this certificate verification problem using a 3rd party application (not SQL Server Management Studio) and will try the hosts change.

    But, we have the same software installed on our test servers and on the developer’s servers and don’t experience this attempt to get out to the internet. We have sniffers and have checked.

    So, why does one system do this verification and others not? There must be a setting that is causing this verification to occur. We have checked the internet explorer settings and they are the same. We have checked other local policy settings relating to certificates and they are the same.

    I’d prefer to find out why it is verifiying rather than just diverting the check or implementing a workaround.

    Any ideas?


  21. Hi Mark,

    The best thing to do is contact the vendor for the application and ask them about this problem. There may be some configuration tucked away somewhere the app is using to determine how to do certificate verification.



  22. Mark says:

    Thanks Dan.

    We are in contact with the vendor however they also do not know.

    We have tested a few workarounds (including the hosts change) and the only one that works is to change Internet Explorer security settings to NOT "check for publisher’s certificate revocation".

    Still don’t know why it is checking for publisher’s certificate revocation when other installations of the same software do not.

    The problem occurs when the app is run from a client PC/laptop or from the server.

    Could their server have some bad certificates loaded?

    Any other ideas?



  23. Hey Mark,

    I’m sorry but I’m not an expert in this space.  Honestly your best bet is to keep working it with the vendor.


  24. Sean Kearney says:


    I was dealing with FIM2010 RC0 with the Password Reset workflow (just getting setup) and was down to everything working EXCEPT after password reset wouldn’t go through.  Checked logs on ILM and found an MMS fail when I tried.  Took a shot and did option #3.  Now of course I’m running about a billion updates to the Server 2008 Enterprise ILM server.  Either we’re blocked or my certs are out of date.  Hopefully the updates fix this 🙂


  25. Lori says:


    Can this also my issue where my vb app works fine until customer’s internet is down?

    Then I am getting a timeout error on my login query (first sql connection)?

    But, if is a sql startup issue, not just management studio, then my app should have same error running it on the server.  But, customer THINKS it’s okay on server, but will not run from workstations.


  26. In general this shouldn’t impact any app that connects directly to SQL Server. In other words, this doesn’t have anything to do with the DB Engine or establishing a connection to the DB Engine. It has everything to do with Management Studio.

    If your app cannot connect from a remote machine there are a number of things that you need to consider: firewall settings, port settings, default vs. named SQL Server instance name, protocols enabled (e.g. TCP/IP), etc.