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Certain Machine Catalogs cause SystemSettings.exe to have high CPU use while using HDX or RDP Only

Troy Sackett


This one is messing with my brain, so I thought I'd bring in other brains for their opinions.


Multiple Win10 1809 x64 Fully patched with 100+ different apps in them base images (3 of the 4 exhibits the behavior) 

VDA\Site - 7.15 LTSR CU5 using 100% MCS

Policies - All VMs are using the same Citrix Policies and Group Policies

User - Local Admin. I used the same user in all cases for my testing, but it happens with any user I try.


The problem: When I open "Choose default apps by file type," SystemSettings.exe chews away for a short while, and the CPU drops to nothing. A second later, it climbs up to 50% and stays there until you close the window. You do not have to end the task, the X works, but you can't scroll or select anything in the window.


Facts I've found while troubleshooting:

  1. It never happens when using VMWare Console
  2. It happens whenever I use RDP or HDX to connect to the machines
  3. It never happens on the base images directly, no matter the connection type
  4. It never happens on the fourth base image  that is also Win10 1809 x64 fully patched but with different apps installed
  5. If I take one of the three troubled base images and update the machine catalog of the base image that is good, suddenly, all three troubled images start working fine!
  6. If I delete a machine from one of the three troubled machine catalogs and recreate it the problem returns
  7. All virtual hardware on all four machine catalogs are the same
  8. Changing subnets and NICs on the VMs makes no difference
  9. Using WPRUI to determine that it is Windows.UI.Xaml.dll!DirectUI::FrameworkElementAutomationPeer::GetAutomationPeerChildren stack that it keeps repeating (not sure what that does for me)
  10. That dll, as well as systemsettings.exe, are the same versions in all tests


I feel point 5 is confusing to write; let me see if I can clarify:

Base Image 1 -> Machine Catalog 1 = problem shows up

Base Image 2 -> Machine Catalog 2 = problem shows up

Base Image 3 -> Machine Catalog 3 = problem shows up

Base Image 4 -> Machine Catalog 4 = no problems (but also very different than images 1-3)


Base Image 1,2, or 3 -> Machine Catalog 4 = no problems


What am I missing or what else can I try? I can't believe that the Machine Catalog is the root cause here. But considering when I put the bad image on the good machine catalog it suddenly works seems pretty conclusive.





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