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a few users have logged into a server through RDP.

I would like to monitor activity, but do not know my way round Windows Server that well.

I am hoping there are logs of some kind around that I can consult.

Any ideas? :)

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migrated from Nov 25 '10 at 17:13

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A few options..

  1. Basic windows logging using the policy setting "Audit Logon Events" should cover your needs.
  2. You can also use a Remote Desktop Gateway and configure auditing that logs which users are accessing which internal resources via RDP. Some additional information is available here.
  3. SecureRDP has detailed logging that outputs to .CSV format. SecureRDP is now offered for free.
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  1. Open Event Viewer (eventvwr.msc)
  2. Go to to Applications and Services Logs -> Microsoft -> Windows -> TerminalServices-LocalSessionManager
  3. Open Admin or Operational

You will see the sessions list. Date/Timestamped/IP/UserName etc. You can also look under Applications and Services Logs\Microsoft\Windows\TerminalServices-RemoteConnectionManager

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The client IP (Source Network Address) is blank for me on Windows Server 2012. How do you enable it? – Sacha K Feb 12 '15 at 13:09
I wrote up a tool that parses the Event viewer for you and shows you a history of logins. You can grab the tool from my blog:… – KPS Oct 21 '15 at 20:31

Other than combing through the event logs, looking for Logon Type 10 (Remote Desktop) in the Security Log, or looking at the TerminalServices channel event logs, you'll need to use third party software.

In addition to TSL mentioned above, here is one other I've used with success in the past - Remote Desktop Reporter

If you go third party, make sure you evaluate several and get price quotes from each vendor ... there is a huge discrepancy in price - some vendors price per named user, some per concurrent user, and some simply by server. Make sure also that the solution comes with its own database or a lite version of SQL - otherwise you'll get hit with database license costs as well.

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Disclaimer: I work for Acceleratio.

You can use Terminal Services Log to track user activity on the server for everybody who connected through the RDP protocol.

You can check out user activity at: SysKit User Activities

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You can have a look here. It's for Windows XP but most of it is still valid.

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You can set any user account in AD for remote control to view or interact with a user's session by going to the Users tab in Task Manager, right clicking and select 'Remote Control'. You can then view their session.

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Here's a solution in PowerShell:

Get-EventLog -LogName Security | ?{(4624,4778) -contains $_.EventID} | %{
    (new-object -Type PSObject -Property @{
        TimeGenerated = $_.TimeGenerated
        ClientIP = $_.Message -replace '(?smi).*Source Network Address:\s+([^\s]+)\s+.*','$1'
        UserName = $_.Message -replace '(?smi).*Account Name:\s+([^\s]+)\s+.*','$1'
        UserDomain = $_.Message -replace '(?smi).*Account Domain:\s+([^\s]+)\s+.*','$1'
        LogonType = $_.Message -replace '(?smi).*Logon Type:\s+([^\s]+)\s+.*','$1'
} | sort TimeGenerated -Descending | Select TimeGenerated, ClientIP `
, @{N='Username';E={'{0}\{1}' -f $_.UserDomain,$_.UserName}} `
, @{N='LogType';E={
    switch ($_.LogonType) {
        2   {'Interactive (logon at keyboard and screen of system)'}
        3   {'Network (i.e. connection to shared folder)'}
        4   {'Batch (i.e. scheduled task)'}
        5   {'Service (i.e. service start)'}
        7   {'Unlock (i.e. post screensaver)'}
        8   {'NetworkCleartext (i.e. IIS)'}
        9   {'NewCredentials (i.e. local impersonation process under existing connection)'}
        10  {'RemoteInteractive (i.e. RDP)'}
        11  {'CachedInteractive (i.e. interactive, but without network connection to validate against AD)'}   
        default {"LogType Not Recognised: $($_.LogonType)"}     

Information on the related EventIds we're filtering on can be found here:

For RDP connections you're specifically interested in LogType 10; RemoteInteractive; here I've not filtered in case the other types are of use; but it's trivial to add another filter if required.

You'll also need to ensure these logs are created; to do that:

  • Click Start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Select Administrative Tools
  • Open Local Security Policy
  • Navigate Security Settings > Advanced Audit Policy Configuration > System Audit Policies - Local Group Policy Object > Logon/Logoff
  • Amend Audit Logon to Success
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I've been through most of the free/affordable answers on this page as well as searching elsewhere (for days, including reading the Event logs mentioned by Andy Bichler) and here's an alternate free RDP monitoring and blocking tool:

I haven't tested it extensively, but downloaded and scanned it (the portable version) and although the UI is a bit on the ugly side, it's working on a 2012 R2 server without issue thus far. It's "hands on," but a no-brainer as well and beats deciphering the event logs.

There is also ts_block which allows you to automatically block IPs that are brute forcing your server's RDP (which I'm guessing would have some log of RDP attempts):

As you can see in that link, the author is a serverfault user. I have not tested it as it's basically a vbscript that I would need to dissect before using. But, it seems promising.

The problem with the event logs mentioned by Andy above is that they are not very clear or descriptive as to who's doing what... at least in a malicious sense. You can find IP Addresses, but then it's hard to tell if they are related to all the unsuccessful login attempts. So, another tool other than the inherent logs seems almost mandatory if you're server is internet facing and you have any concerns about security.

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