Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Remotely enable Remote Desktop

I've had a few instances where, for whatever reason, remote desktop has been disabled on machines I manage. This can be quite a pain when you don't have someone onsite at that location who can turn the service back on. However, if the proper services are running you can get remote desktop working from your remote location without rebooting the computer. I originally found this article, but added in the extra steps in the beginning to avoid any need to reboot.

To get started, go to Start and right-click on Computer, then choose Manage. Right-click on Computer Management at the top and select Connect to another computer... Enter in the computer name for the computer you need to enable remote desktop services for. This will connect you to the management console for that remote computer. If you cannot get into the management console, you can still try changing the registry with the steps below with the hopes that the services are already running, but by using the management console you can verify the services are running.

Once the management window opens for the remote computer, go to Services and Applications->Services. Scroll down to Remote Desktop Configuration. Now, verify that the following services show Started under the Status column: Remote Desktop Configuration, Remote Desktop Services, Remote Desktop Services UserMode Port Redirector, and Remote Registry. If any of them do not show Started, right-click on that service and choose Start

After those four services have been started, open Registry Editor (this is where this article comes in) by typing regedit into the Search bar, or into the Run box if you're using Windows XP/Server 2003. Once the Registry Editor is open, click on File->Connect Network Registry, enter the remote computer's name, and click OK. This should get you access to the registry on the remote computer. Navigate to HK_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server. Once there, double-click on fDenyTSConnection and change the value to 0 and click OK. This will allow terminal server connections on the remote machine. That should be it. Try to access the remote machine using remote desktop now and it should connect. If not, try rebooting the remote machine using the command prompt with the command: shutdown -r -m \\computername

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