In Windows 2000, the remote desktop functionality left something to be desired. The remote desktop was always presented in a virtual session. Remote access to the physical console was not provided through the remote desktop tool, necessitating the need for a tool such as virtual network computing (VNC) for users who required remote access to the physical server console. Some services do not work well when interacting with a virtual session, making remote desktop useless for this purpose.
With Windows Server 2003, Microsoft has provided a "console mode," which corrects this problem by providing remote access to the physical console, thus eliminating the need for additional tools. This is good for a couple of reasons: One, all of your remote administration needs can be met through a single tool; two, the fewer remote access tools you install, the less attack surface you provide to a potential hacker.
The easiest way to connect to the console is to go to Start | Run and type mstsc /console. This will start the Remote Desktop Connection tool in console mode. This method also allows you the flexibility to pick and choose when you will connect to a virtual session versus a console-based session.
Note that this connection does not count against the two session remote administration limit. So, in essence, Windows Server 2003 with a version 5.1 or higher Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client provides up to three remote console sessions.
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