Resolving Remote Desktop Protocol connectivity issues in Windows Server 2008

Windows servers and clients occasionally have issues connecting to remote desktop. Rick Vanover drops a few of his secrets to correcting this problem.

Few things can be more irritating than not being able to administer your Windows server. Windows Server 2008 (as well as previous versions of Windows Server) offers remote desktop protocol (RDP) for administration.

RDP will occasionally go awry. The next time a user cannot connect to RDP (yet you know it is configured correctly), try these run-book options for correcting RDP issues:

  • Check permissions and Group Policy: It sounds simple, but you should ensure that the user is able to log in via RDP. The Remote Desktop Users group exists locally, and local administrators are members by default. Ensure that a security configuration or Group Policy Object (GPO) is not causing the connection issue.
  • Turn it off and back on: While RDP is not a manageable service, you can tell Windows not to do RDP and then tell it to start RDP again.
  • Check that pesky firewall: Check to see if Windows Firewall is running. This netsh script will disable firewall on Windows Server Core installations, and it will also work on the full installation counterparts.
  • Delete the client registry key: Occasionally, a Windows client will not be able to connect to a server and state a licensing issue connecting to that computer. The MSLicensing registry key needs to go on the client (rather than the server to which you are trying to connect). (Note: Editing the registry can be risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.)
  • Reboot the server: Gulp. This is the least desirable option, and only rarely have I resorted to this step.

Do you have additional tricks for getting RDP working if it suddenly lets you down? If so, share them with your peers by posting them to the discussion.

More RDP resources on TechRepublic

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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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