Remote Desktop with Custom Port from Surface RT

Mark Berry September 29, 2015

Today I was helping a customer connect from an original Microsoft Surface tablet running Surface RT to a remote Windows 7 desktop computer. The desktop uses a custom RDP listening port (e.g. 34111).

We encountered a problem with the standard Remote Desktop Connection application. According to the customer, when she typed “” as the Computer Name, she got a message that the colon was not allowed. But that is required to specify the custom port, so she couldn’t connect.

Remote Desktop app iconThe workaround was to install the Remote Desktop application from the Windows Store, then run the Remote Desktop app (look for the orange icon) rather than the standard app. The UI is a bit different but it does accept the colon for specifying a port number.


Prevent Administrator from Remote Logon to Workgroup Server

Mark Berry September 13, 2010

When I set up a server for management via Remote Desktop, I prefer to change the RDP listening port to a non-default value (MSKB 306759) and to use a custom admin account for the logon. These simple obfuscations may not defeat a determined hacker, but they do reduce attacks from automated bots.

Of course, it’s not enough to just create an alternative admin account; you have to prevent the default Administrator account from logging on via Remote Desktop. Some go so far as to disable the Administrator account. I just block its remote access.


Windows Remote Desktop Printing

Mark Berry January 25, 2010

Often home users connecting to a remote computer would like to print to their local printer. It is possible, at least sometimes, depending on the printer. The basic idea is that the host computer needs a driver for the guest computer’s printer, then it needs to be able to map that driver to the printer when the terminal services session is established.

When the remote user’s printer is an HP-Postscript enabled LaserJet HP2605dn, I have had some success installing the HP Universal Print Driver – Postscript and using the printer mapping described in MSKB 239088 and near the end of this article:  Windows Terminal Services Printing. And yes, this applies not only to servers running Terminal Services (aka Remote Desktop Services), but also to individual desktop computers that allow remote users to connect via Remote Desktop.


Computing Interrupted: The Windows 7 Remote Desktop Experience

Mark Berry January 6, 2010

The Remote Desktop experience in Window 7 computer has changed significantly since the Windows XP days. Here's a brief overview.


Thin Client vs. Desktop in the Small Business

Mark Berry December 12, 2009

A non-profit customer has an underutilized server and a desktop due and budgeted for replacement. Would it make sense to replace the desktop with a thin client, and run the needed programs in a virtual instance on the server?

I blogged earlier about Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Licensing for the SMB. Mostly for licensing reasons, it doesn’t make sense to do full virtual desktops. So that leaves the option of running a terminal server to host the customer’s apps.


Remote Desktop /console Switch Removed by XP SP3 Upgrade

Mark Berry July 12, 2008

I recently upgraded my XP desktop to Service Pack 3, which includes an update to Remote Desktop Client 6.1.

Today I locked a Windows Server 2003 console session at a client site, then tried later to access the console session by typing “mstsc.exe /console” from the command line. Instead of connecting to the console, I found myself dropped into a new session on the server. When I started Terminal Services Manager on the remote machine, I saw two sessions, including the console session. When I tried to remote control the console session, I got the message, “”Can't remote control session (ID 0).”

I finally found this Terminal Services Team Blog post with the explanation:

Changes to Remote Administration in Windows Server 2008

There are reasons why /console is no longer needed in Windows Server 2008. Apparently that justifies removing this functionalitiy from RDC 6.1, even when connecting to Windows Server 2003. Worse, the connection succeeds but “silently ignores” the /console switch.

Fortunately, there is a workaround:  use the new /admin switch instead.

Both the application-specific Help file and the Windows XP Help and
Support Center still list the missing /console switch and do not mention the
/admin switch. Note to Microsoft:  if you're going to “silently” remove functionality, at least update the documentation!



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