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I use rdp all the time - both for work and personal stuff. For my personal stuff I want to be able to rdp into a machine and have the session continue to be accessible from the host machine. For example: In my home office I have my laptop (development machine) and my HomeServer which doubles as fileserver and workstation. I rdp into the homeserver from the laptop, open to play some music. I want the music to play through the speakers of the HomeServer machine. Basically I want the same behavior you get with LogMeIn or VNC. Is this possible?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

...But the screen is stolen from the desktop when you RDP in, and then you have to unlock the screen on the desktop again without logging off. Which doesn't always work smoothly. Screen mirroring (allowing the screen to display in both locations) is available in terminal server (and Citrix) - but not in RDP. However if you are running a server O/S there are two TS licences out of the box and you can mirror the screen, with some minor pain.

Simple answer: either fool around with "disconnect" and unlocking the screen, or try UltraVNC.

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Yes! This is what exactly I want to do - mirroring. Played around with locking/unlocking but every time so far it just kicks off the other session. I'll look into setting up a terminal server. – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 16:59

Options > Play on remote computer

Don't log off, just disconnect the session (click on the X that appears when you hover your mouse at the top of the screen). Disconnecting keeps all the info about your session in memory and is waiting for you the next time you log back in.


EDIT: try mstsc /admin

the switch /console is ignored in RDC version 6.1

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Ok this should work, but for some reason the sound icon is muted (unavailable) in the rdp session. It works fine when logged in normally to the HomeServer. I looked in the Windows Server 2008 settings but didn't see an "enable sound for rdp session" setting. Any idea? – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 12:41
Are you sure the HomeServer has an audio card? I believe you would need one to be able to forward the audio through RDP. – Dave Drager Jun 8 '09 at 13:05
yes it has an audio card. It works fine when i log directly into the machine. Since it is a server OS I had to start the windows audio service. I verified it's started, but still doesn't come through rdp. How do i forward it through as you are suggesting? – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 13:30
@Tone: You might want to try logging in as console user (Start -> Run -> mstsc /console) on the server. – Huppie Jun 8 '09 at 14:16
tone: no luck with the switch /admin ? – Jindrich Jun 8 '09 at 23:42

Yes, that's exactly how RDP works. It's like VNC, but works smoother (better display updating). To paraphrase something entirely unrelated, "If you like VNC, you'll love RDP"! :-)

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ah but it doesn't out of the box. I like RDP much better which is why i am trying not to use VNC or LogMeIn. – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 12:42

you might try the /console switch? (might be /admin on later versions of windows) I know this is the case for server but not sure about workstations. To be honest, you might be better off just installing VNC; RDP is trying to solve a slightly different problem after all and it isn't like VNC is going to cost you anything.

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tried /console, but it still shows the login screen from the machine i'm rdp'ing into. – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 12:32

Do you mean you want the applications you started when you RDP'ed into a box to continue once you leave that session? if so then that does work with Windows Server products - in fact I'm forever leaving code running for days without logging in, I'm not a desktop Windows user sorry but I suspect that this functionality will have been removed/hidden for desktop versions.

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no not really. I realize I can disconnect (and not log off) and my apps will still run. Basically I want to use it as a remote control. My other use case is to rdp into my MediaServer while sitting on the couch and start up a movie or whatever. – Tone Jun 8 '09 at 12:29

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