This article describes the differences between Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 when you use the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client to remotely connect to the server for administrative purposes.
In Windows Server 2003, you can start the RDC client (mstsc.exe) with the /console switch to remotely connect to the physical console session on the server (also known as session 0). In Windows Server 2008, the /console switch has been deprecated. (For more information, see the “Why the /console switch is no longer needed” section of this article.) In Windows Server 2008, session 0 is a non-interactive session that is reserved for services.
You can use the new /admin switch to remotely connect to a Windows Server 2008-based server for administrative purposes. The /admin switch is introduced with RDC 6.1. RDC 6.1 is included with the following operating systems:
• Windows Server 2008
• Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta and RC
• Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Beta and RC
Note RDC 6.1 (6.0.6001) supports Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 6.1.
RDC 6.1 does not support the /console switch. However, for backward compatibility, you can use the /admin switch to connect to the physical console session on a Windows Server 2003-based server. For example, to connect from a Windows Vista SP1 RC-based client to the physical console session of a Windows Server 2003-based server, you can run the command mstsc.exe /admin.
If you try to use the /console switch with the RDC 6.1 client, the behavior is as follows.
You type mstsc.exe /console at the command prompt, and then connect to a remote server that does not have Terminal Server installed.
The /console switch is silently ignored. You will be connected to a session to remotely administer the server.
(For more information about the Windows Server 2008 behavior, see the “Behavior when you connect to a server that does not have Terminal Server installed” section of this article.)
You type mstsc.exe /console at the command prompt, and then connect to a remote server that has Terminal Server installed.
The /console switch is silently ignored. You will be connected to a standard Remote Desktop session that requires a Terminal Services client access license (TS CAL).
In the RDC client UI, you specify Computer_name /console in the Computer box (where Computer_name represents the name of the remote computer to which you want to connect), and then click Connect.
You receive the following error message:
“An unknown parameter was specified in computer name field.”
In the .rdp file, you specify /console in the “full address” property, and then try to start the Remote Desktop connection.
In the .rdp file, you specify the “connect to console” property, and then start the Remote Desktop connection.
The property is silently ignored. You will be connected to a session that requires a TS CAL.
As a developer, you programmatically call the put_ConnectToServerConsole function or the get_ConnectToServerConsole function of the IMsRdpClientAdvancedSettings interface.
The function fails, and returns S_FALSE.
Why the /console switch is no longer needed
In Windows Server 2003, starting a Remote Desktop session by running mstsc.exe with the /console switch is used for the following reasons:
• To connect to session 0. Some applications install and run only in session 0 because they need to communicate with services that run in session 0, or display UI that is displayed in session 0.
• To connect back to an existing session on the physical console. Because the physical console session in Windows Server 2003 is always session 0, the only way that you can reconnect to this session is by using the /console switch.
In Windows Server 2008, the /console switch functionality is no longer needed for the following reasons:
• Improved application compatibility ensures that legacy applications that need to communicate with services in session 0 will install and run in sessions other than session 0. Additionally, if the service that is associated with an application tries to display UI in session 0, a built-in capability in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Vista enables the user to view and to interact with the session 0 UI from the user’s session. Windows Server 2008 session 0 is a non-interactive session that is reserved for services. Therefore, there is no need for a user to have to explicitly connect to this session.
Note For more information about session 0 isolation in Windows Vista, see “Impact of Session 0 Isolation on Services and Drivers in Windows Vista” (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=106201).
• Because the physical console session is never session 0, you can always reconnect to your existing session on the physical console. Reconnecting to your existing physical console session is controlled by the "Restrict Terminal Services users to a single remote session" Group Policy setting, available in the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Terminal Services\Terminal Server\Connections node of the Local Group Policy Editor. You can also configure this setting in the UI by using Terminal Services Configuration. (The Restrict each user to a single session setting appears under Edit settings, in the General section.)
Behavior of the /admin switch
You can start the RDC 6.1 client (mstsc.exe) with the /admin switch to remotely administer a Windows Server 2008-based server (with or without Terminal Server installed). However, if you are connecting to remotely administer a Windows Server 2008-based server that does not have the Terminal Server role service installed, you do not have to specify the /admin switch. (In this case, the same connection behavior occurs with or without the /admin switch.) At any point in time, there can be two active remote administration sessions. To start a remote administration session, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the server to which you are connecting.
Behavior when you connect to a server that does not have Terminal Server installed
If you (as a member of the Administrators group on the destination server) start a Remote Desktop session to a Windows Server 2008-based server that does not have the Terminal Server role service installed, the following behavior is true for the remote administration session:
• Time zone redirection is disabled.
• Terminal Services Session Broker (TS Session Broker) redirection is disabled.
• Plug and Play device redirection is disabled.
• The remote session theme is changed to Windows Classic.
• Terminal Services Easy Print is disabled.
Behavior when you connect to a server that has Terminal Server installed
If you (as a member of the Administrators group on the destination server) start a Remote Desktop session to a Windows Server 2008-based server that has the Terminal Server role service installed, you must specify the /admin switch to connect to a session to remotely administer the server. The following behavior is true for the session:
• You do not need a TS CAL to connect remotely to administer a terminal server.
Developer resources – Changes to APIs
If you are using RDC 6.1, you can no longer use the ConnectToServerConsole property of the IMsRdpClientAdvancedSettings interface to specify whether the Remote Desktop ActiveX control should attempt to connect to the server for administrative purposes. Instead, you must use the ConnectToAdministerServer property of the IMsRdpClientAdvancedSettings6 interface to connect to the physical console session on a Windows Server 2003-based server, or to the session that is used for administrative purposes on a Windows Server 2008-based server.
For more information about the ConnectToServerConsole property, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=106203.
For more information about the ConnectToAdministerServer property, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=106204.
We have a program (video camera software) that runs while the console is open. I need to log into the console without disturbing the recording software. If I use the /admin command it causes the video not to be displayed any more. This worked fine shadowing Windows 2003. WHY DID YOU REMOVE THIS FEATURE!! VNC or other third party software is not an option because of the security of these applications. We will probably have to remove Windows 2008 and switch to some open source OS. Great way to lose a customer Microsoft.
Consider this to be another flog in the long list above!
Have you figured out yet that change for the sake of change is not appreciated yet?
Change for the sake of making some wet behind the ears comp sci grad look productive is also a bad thing.
Don't make changes ... FIX some bugs!!!
BTW, who was the brilliant fool who deleted cascading menus and the quick launch in Win 7?
That alone is causing Win 7 to be removed from this very machine.
This is a frustrating change. I just want KVM over TCP IP for most of my servers. The problem with the inability to connect to/take the physical console is that 3rd party software which tries to limit user access to their applications detects that I'm not on the console session and rejects me, despite the fact that I am still abiding by their licensing agreement. This may sound like the 3rd party's problem, but it there a way for them to insure I'm using their software only from the "admin" session and not from the console? Regardless, now I have to walk over to the server room and phyically administer, because the "admin" setting doesn't get me anything. Time to install VNC.
If you try to connect from one windows XP (mstsc version 6.0.6) to Windows 2008 server. I´ve to try with /admin , but the version 6.06 of XP recognize this¿?¿?
Am having a query in 2008 functional level , i hope u will be in a position to answer my query .
And having a code which sets the value idle time of user using -> WTSSetUserConfig which is sets value as never always wrongly (BUG) . Its working only in 2008 functional level from client machine alone (works fine server).. it work great in both 2003 functional level and 2008 r2 functional level ..
i tryd to set the Same value for the user using administrative tool from my XP machine .. Even that did not work.
Am hoping u will find a solution for me ..