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I need to change the local admin password on a remote PC using a Remote Desktop Connection. I would normally do this by pressing ctrl+alt+del and selecting the change password option. But I can't send ctrl+alt+del using Remote Desktop since this "special" key series is always handled by the local client. How can I send ctrl+alt+del using Remote Desktop?

Note: This question is not about how to change the password. I am aware of other ways to change the password. I am specifically asking how to send ctrl+alt+del - not how to change the password without sending those characters.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 22 down vote accepted

CTRL-ALT-END is the prescribed way to do this.

Coding Horror has some other shortcuts.

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Basic solution valid for one layer of RDP, for the exceptional case of multiple RDP connections to reach the server you need to change your password on, use On-Screen Keyboard, see Dave's answer serverfault.com/a/149030/92008 –  Thomas Jul 21 '14 at 18:02

In newer versions of windows there is a link to "Windows Security" in the start menu that will get you to the same place.

Never tried ctl+alt+end - very sweet I'll have to stick that in the storage space with ctl+alt+ins for vmware :) I personally avoid using the mouse as much as possible - weird for a windows admin right?

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Thanks -- this is just what I needed. Ctrl+Alt+End didn't work from my laptop (the End key is only available on the numeric keypad). –  swref Mar 8 '12 at 12:05
Mouse avoidance isn't necessarily "weird" for a Windows admin? I personally got my start in computers back in the DOS days and, even I moved up to Windows 3.11, often found myself in GUI interfaces while I didn't have a mouse or the mouse was malfunctioning. You learn keyboard shortcuts real quick in those scenarios. –  Iszi Jun 20 '12 at 13:55
+1 This also works when remoting from another remote session. Ctrl+End only applies to the "outer" session. –  Anders Abel Aug 13 '12 at 14:08
This. Exactly for the same reason as @AndersAbel –  Chris Marisic Feb 6 '13 at 15:58

In the RD help it says you must use CTRL + ALT + END, so that is the correct, official way.

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+1 for R'ing TFM. –  Darth Satan Aug 21 '09 at 18:25
+1 from me for the same reason. I actually did search the help for this answer, but did not find it. –  T. Marshall Aug 21 '09 at 19:15

Just as I was posting the question, it occurred to me to try ctrl+alt+END instead. It worked in this case, but I don't know that it works in every case, so I will post the question for further enlightenment and for others to find.

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Control - Alt - Insert or End can work but for visual clients like Windows RDP there is a Send CTRL-ALT-DEL button typically within the GUI.

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The built-in RDP client (mstsc.exe) has no option to send special combos. VNC clients typically do, but that's a whole different kettle of fish. –  ThatGraemeGuy Aug 21 '09 at 18:04

One option is to use the on-screen keyboard from within the first RDP session.

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You can press Ctrl-Alt-Del virtually, holding ctrl-alt on the top-level machine and clicking the 'del' in the desired level OSK. This allows you to send the key stroke within several depths of RDP session. Also confirmed on tomshardware.com/answers/id-1629393/… –  Thomas Jul 21 '14 at 18:41

If you just want to bring up Task Manager, you can get to it by right-clicking on the taskbar and chosing "Task Manager".

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Thank you, but the question is, how to send ctrl+alt+del. It has nothing to do with task manager. –  T. Marshall Aug 21 '09 at 18:24
np. I assumed this was the case anyway. Ty for clarifying original question. –  RJFalconer Aug 25 '09 at 0:47

You can use the following key combinations in remote desktop connection.





See this http://www.morgantechspace.com/2013/08/how-to-press-ctrl-alt-del-in-remote.html

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If you're on Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro it's fn + ctrl + alt/opt + → larrydaniele.com/Blogs/tabid/55/EntryId/53/… –  elif Oct 10 '14 at 13:10

protected by Chris S Sep 29 '14 at 17:32

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