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To summarize the rambling below: How do I connect (using Remote Desktop Connection) from Windows XP SP3 to Windows Server 2008 R2 (or Windows 7) without clicking the checkbox on the server that says Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)?

So, I've discovered that newer versions of Windows have "more secure" versions of remote desktop on them, that requires network level authentication to work securely. Unfortunately, Windows XP RDC doesn't support NLA, and the the intertubes have surprisingly little to say about actually making it work without clicking the checkbox that says Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure). Now I don't really consider "use the less secure version" to be an acceptable answer ("What's that, can't make ssh work? Yea, I solved that by just using telnet instead."). Upgrading to Windows 7 is not an acceptable answer either, cause while I agree that Windows 7 is "pretty darn cool", it isn't all that practical to tell other people in my organization "just go upgrade" when they want to connect securely via RDC to a particular system.

Even Server Fault seems to come up with very little to say on the topic, which really surprised me (the closest I could find was this question, which was almost there, but not really). It amazes me how many admins are perfectly willing to click the "less secure means it will work" button, so I went on a hard target search of every hen house, dog house, and out house on the intarwebs to find the answer. After days of searching I came up blank (ok, maybe it was more like 20 minutes, but it felt like days). So I started drafting this question on SF, got distracted, and never posted it.

Today I came to finish the question, applied a little more google-fu before doing so, and stumbled upon the answer, which I'm recording here for posterity (although I'll wait like 20 minutes before posting the answer in case one of you out there already knows it, so you can have the credit and gain the rep for a correct answer).

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

RDP Client v7. Do that. Install CredSSP. Also do that.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951608/ -- KB for CredSSP http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=72158b4e-b527-45e4-af24-d02938a95683&displaylang=en -- Download link for RDP Client v7.

Should be all you need.

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Excellent. Now the answers are in one place, and next time someone googles it, they be led right here. Thanks! –  Jed Daniels Jan 20 '11 at 18:27
    
Anytime, Jed! :D –  JohnThePro Jan 20 '11 at 18:30

So you are asking if anyone knows how to do this without turning on CredSSP in XP SP3 and leaving NLA on in the Vista/7 remote host you wish to RDP to? I am trying to understand the question.

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No, enabling CredSSP is part of the solution. The other half is installing RDC version 7. –  Jed Daniels Jan 20 '11 at 18:12
    
Also, this kind of clarification question should go as a comment to my question, not as an answer. –  Jed Daniels Jan 20 '11 at 18:12
    
@Jed I understand your point, man, but you posted at the same time as me. As I clicked add comment, SO informed me of the answer. It was a little too late then, haha. –  ajstein Jan 20 '11 at 18:14

You need the Remote Desktop Connection v7 client from MS:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=72158b4e-b527-45e4-af24-d02938a95683&displaylang=en

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This only gets you half way there. After installing it, it still complains about NLA. –  Jed Daniels Jan 20 '11 at 18:11
    
I guess we know what the answer is then. –  ajstein Jan 20 '11 at 18:15

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