Monday, October 01, 2007

Remote Desktop direct to console

Let's pretend you have access to a Windows server via Remote Desktop (RDP)
Now let's pretend that you use Remote Desktop sessions to manage your servers.

Now let's pretend that while RDP is great, you still need to do certain things while sitting in front of the machine, actually logged on to the 'console'.

Why would you need to do that? Perhaps you recently upgraded your 64bit windows 2003 server to service pack 2, and now your retrospect software will not run in an RDP session, even though you applied the 'fix' suggested by their crappy support site. Just for instance...

Well, the good news is that it is possible to connect to the console session on a windows 2003 server over RDP. AND (here is the good part) it works from pretty much any RDP client, including the linux one I use in ubuntu.

To have the linux client do this, when connecting, just go to the performance tab, and click the check for "attach to console" - and if you save the session as an rdp file, it will remember this setting.

For windows, you have several options, you can call the RDP client from the command line:
"mstsc /console"

(if you want to know more about the command line switches available, just run "mstsc / ?")

OR, when you launch your rdp client, you can put "/console" following the name.

The bonus of doing this is that connecting to the console does NOT count as 1 of the 2 allowed terminal server connections (you only get 2 when running terminal services in admin mode). So if some thoughtless person (possibly you) has filled the connections up, you still get on with this method. Good times!

UPDATE RDC 6.1 has changed this behavior. now an /admin switch will connect to the console of a 2003 server.

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