Friday, May 18, 2007

RDP Console Session: Did You Know About It?

I continue to be surprised by how many IT professionals that depend on Remote Desktop to access servers for administration do not know about this:

For Windows 2003 servers, you can use the following:


mstsc /v:whqs7610 /console

(without the “/console”, it just connects regularly.  With “/console”, you grab the actual console session, as if you were at the monitor and keyboard downstairs in the server room).

Out of the box, Windows Server 2003 provides two regular RDP sessions (for Administrators), plus the ability to connect to the actual console session.  So, in effect, there are now three RDP sessions available for use at the same time.

Here at my client site, it seems that multiple people will jump onto a server and then not logoff when they are done.  The two "free" RDP sessions then become occupied, not allowing anyone else to connect.

But, by connecting to the Console Session itself, you can logoff one (or both) of the regular sessions using the Terminal Services Manager application (Administrative Tools program group), and then reconnect not using the "/console" switch to grab a regular session.  (That is, we try to reserve the use of the Console session for "emergencies").