Windows 2000 Server includes a built-in Terminal Server. A Terminal Server allows multiple users to connect to the server and run their own dedicated sessions. This is in contrast to applications such as VNC or PCAnywhere, with which a single user can connect to a remote computer and take over the logged-on session. Terminal Services is enabled on a Windows 2000 Server computer to accomplish a number of goals, including allowing remote management of your servers and providing a single point of access for network applications.

Another powerful advantage of deploying Terminal Services is that you can optimize the viability of your existing hardware infrastructure. Many companies have legacy hardware that cannot support Windows 2000 or applications such as Office 2000. However, even a lowly 486 processor-based machine running Windows 3.x with 8 MB of RAM can run the Terminal Services client and run advanced applications.

In this Daily Drill Down, I’ll go over how to install and use the Windows 2000 Terminal Services client software.

Installing the Terminal Services client software
When you install Terminal Services on a Windows 2000 Server, it automatically installs the Terminal Services client software. There are two methods of installation to a client machine:

  1. 1.      Floppy disks
  2. 2.      Over the network

Installing the client using floppy disks
If you wish to install the client software using floppy disks, you’ll have to create the disks first. To create these disks, perform the following steps:

  1. 1.      From the Start menu, open the Administrative Tools menu and click Terminal Services Client Creator. You’ll see the Create Installation Disk(s) dialog box, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

  1. 2.      Note that you have two options: Terminal Services for 16-bit Windows and Terminal Services for 32-bit Windows. Select the first option if you wish to install the software on Windows 3.x machines or select the second option if you plan to install the software on Windows 9x, Windows NT, or Windows 2000. The 16-bit Terminal Services client software requires four floppy disks and the 32-bit client software requires two floppy disks. If you wish to format the disks before the file copy process begins, put a check mark in the Format Disk(s) check box.
  2. 3.      Click OK and the applet will create the disks.

After the disks are created, take them to the destination computer and run the Setup program located on disk one.

Installing the client over the network
Although the client software is installed on the Terminal Server, the folders containing the software are not automatically shared. The path to the installation files for a network installation is located here.

The boot volume is the partition or volume containing the operating system files, and the system root is the root of the operating system files folder hierarchy, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B
Locate the Terminal Services client software using Windows Explorer.

Once you find the client software, right-click on the net directory and click Share to share the client software folder. Now you can install the Terminal Services client software by using a UNC path to the Setup.exe file.

Making the connection
After the client software is installed, you can access the Terminal Server in one of two ways:

  • ·        Through the Client Connection Manager
  • ·        Through the Terminal Services client application

The method you use is a matter of personal preference, although the Client Connection Manager settings can be exported to a file and then distributed to users throughout the organization.

Using the Client Connection Manager
To connect to the Terminal Server via the Client Connection Manager, you first need to create a Terminal Services connectoid. You can then use this connectoid to connect to the Terminal Server. The connectoid information can also be exported and distributed to the rest of the organization.

To create the connectoid, perform the following steps:

  1. 1.      From the Start menu, click Programs, then click the Terminal Services Client menu. From there, click the Client Connection Manager.
  2. 2.      You’ll be presented with an empty window. Click File | New Connection. This starts the Client Connection Manager Wizard. Click Next to continue.
  3. 3.      On the Create A Connection page, you’ll see the screen that appears in Figure C.

Figure C

In the Connection Name text box, type a name for the connectoid. In the Server Name Or IP Address text box, type in the NetBIOS name, host name, or IP address of the Terminal Server. Then click Next.

  1. 4.      The Automatic Logon page appears as it does in Figure D.

Figure D

If you want the connection to automatically log on the user, enter the appropriate credentials on this page. If you do not enable automatic logon, the user will be presented with the Windows 2000 logon dialog box. Click Next to continue.

  1. 5.      On the Screen Options page, select the size of the Terminal Client window that will appear after making the connection. The available options are limited to those supported by the video card on the client machine. Regardless of the resolution you choose, you can have the Terminal Services session run in full-screen mode by selecting the Full Screen check box. Click Next to continue.
  2. 6.      On the Connection Properties page, you can Enable Data Compression and Cache Bitmaps. Both of these features will improve the client-side performance. Note that data compression will require more processor cycles and bitmap caching will take more disk space. Click Next to continue.
  3. 7.      On the Starting A Program page, type in a Program Path and a location to start the program in the Start In text boxes. Note that these locations are on the Terminal Server itself. Click Next to continue.
  4. 8.      On the Icon And Program Group page, you can choose to change the icon used by the connectoid by clicking the Change Icon button. You have a choice of three icons or you can click the Browse button and find another icon. The default program group is Terminal Services Client but you can change it by clicking the down arrow in the Program Group drop-down list. Click Next to continue.
  5. 9.      On the last page, click Finish and you’ll see your entry, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
The Client Connection Manager with a new connectoid is displayed.

To establish a connection to the Terminal Server, double-click on the icon. You can make the connectoid more accessible by placing a shortcut to it on the desktop. To create the shortcut, right-click on the connectoid and click Create Shortcut On Desktop.

You can export the connectoid by clicking File | Export. This opens a dialog box where you designate where the file should be saved. The .cns file created can then be mailed to other users in your organization to allow them to connect to the Terminal Server. Note that the export process will ask if you want to include the username and password for automatic logon. Say no if everyone will use his or her own credentials to access the server.

Using the Terminal Service Client application
The Terminal Services client application allows a user to choose from a list of Terminal Servers. To connect to a Terminal Server through this application, perform the following steps:

  1. 1.      From the Start menu, click Programs | Terminal Services Client. Then click the Terminal Services Client command.
  2. 2.      The Terminal Services client application opens, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F
From this dialog box, you can select from a list of Terminal Servers in your domain or domains.

If the server you wish to connect to is in an unknown domain (and therefore does not appear in the list) you can type the name or IP address of that server in the Server text box. Select the screen resolution from the Screen Area drop-down list, choose the server, and click Connect.

  1. 3.      After clicking on the Connect button, the Log On To Windows dialog box appears (Figure G).

Figure G
After you enter your credentials, your personalized desktop will be presented just as if you were logging onto the local machine.

Using the Terminal Services client
Although using Windows 2000 in a Terminal Services client window is virtually the same as using it on the local desktop, there are some minor differences.

Terminal Services client keyboard shortcuts
There are a few keyboard shortcut commands that are different for the Terminal Service client. These differences prevent a conflict between the keyboard sequences used on the local computer and the Terminal Service client. Table A gives a list of these different keyboard shortcuts.

Table A
Keyboard shortcut Action
[Ctrl][Alt][End] Opens the Windows Security dialog box
[Alt][Page Up] Replaces the [Alt][Tab] shortcut and switches programs from left to right
[Alt][Page Down] Replace the [Alt][Shift][Tab] shortcut and switches programs from right to left
[Alt][Insert] Cycles through programs in the order they were started
[Alt][Home] Replaces the “Windows Key” and opens the Start menu
[Ctrl][Alt][Break] Switches the client session from windowed to full screen and back
[Alt][Delete] Opens an active window’s control menu
[Ctrl][Alt]- Copies the terminal client’s active window to the clipboard
[Ctrl][Alt]+ Copies the entire terminal client window to the clipboard
Terminal Services client keyboard shortcuts

Note that you can copy information from the Terminal Services client to the clipboard. The client and the local operating system share a command clipboard. This allows you to copy clipboard information from the local computer to the Terminal Services session and from the Terminal Services session to the local computer.

Printing to a locally connected printer
There are two ways to install the locally connected printer to the Terminal Services session:

  • ·        Via automatic printer redirection
  • ·        Via manual printer redirection

If a printer driver for the printer installed on the local machine is on Windows 2000 Server running Terminal Services, then the printer will be installed automatically in the terminal client session. Printers can be connected to the local computer through an LPT, USB, or serial (COM) port. A printer queue is created in the terminal client session, and it is deleted after the user logs off.

To use a locally attached printer that does not have drivers installed on the Terminal Server, you must perform the following steps:

  1. 1.      Click the Start | Settings. From the fly-out menu, click the Printers command.
  2. 2.      Double-click Add Printer.
  3. 3.      Click Local Printer. Clear the Automatically Detect And Install My Plug And Play Printer check box and click Next.
  4. 4.      On the Port Selections page, you’ll see a number of ports listed as TSxxx. Click the port that corresponds to your computer name and click Next.
  5. 5.      Follow the wizard’s instructions to install the printer.

Note that you will not be able to use USB printers if they are manually configured.

Disconnecting and logging off
There are two ways to leave a Terminal Services client session:

  • ·        Disconnect from the session
  • ·        Log off from the session

When you disconnect from a terminal client session, all your windows remain open and your programs continue to run. Disconnecting from a session allows you to return to a terminal client session and have everything in place and ready for you on your return. However, memory and processor resources are consumed by an active terminal client session, and you should disconnect only if you plan to return to the session soon. Many administrators will configure the Terminal Server to automatically disconnect inactive sessions after a predefined period of time.

When you are done working in the session, you can log off from it. Logging off returns the resources used by the session back to the Terminal Server so that they can be used for other terminal client sessions.

To log off or disconnect, click Start | Shut Down. From the Shut Down Windows dialog box, you can choose to log off or disconnect from the session.

In this Daily Drill Down, you learned about the Terminal Service Client and how it fits into the Terminal Client/Server solution. We went over the ways you can install the Terminal Services client software and how to make a connection after the software is installed. You saw that there are some minor differences in running applications in a client window and how to use keyboard shortcuts that are specific for the client session. Finally, we took a look at how to install a printer in the terminal client session that can print to a locally connected printer.