Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Let's imagine that one has a Windows computer with expensive hardware attached. Example of such hardware: a hardware test-bed / prototype.

Each worker needs this PC only several times a week, say for 2h each time. We use Remote Desktop to access this computer. It works OK with these limitations:

1) When a user connects via Remote Desktop, he/she does not know if the PC is in use. If it is, the existing user gets kicked-out.

2) There is no way to reserve the PC in advance or to notify the current user that somebody else is eager to use the PC.

So it would be nice to have a tool which would show who is using the computer and for how long. One could easily come up with a completely manual solution perhaps using a webpage on the Intranet. However I am hoping that one can relatively easily do better. I am hoping that the event "user just connected via Remote Desktop" can be used in automating of the management of sharing of the PC.

share|improve this question
    
I RDP into a PC in a similar situation. It tells me before I login if I want to kick the logged in user out and who they are. Does yours not do that? –  prestomation Feb 24 '10 at 3:07
    
No, ours did not ask us. All our PCs were WinXp (SP2 I believe). –  radim Feb 26 '10 at 18:24
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

When a user connects via Remote Desktop, he/she does not know if the PC is in use. If it is, the existing user gets kicked-out.

It should be telling the user that some else is using the system and who- if not it seems like something might be wrong with the system.

There is no way to reserve the PC in advance or to notify the current user that somebody else is eager to use the PC

Yes you are probably a candidate for using terminal server instead. Remote desktop is intended for 1 user to connect to his desktop remotely, not as a multiuser platform. I can think of no way to enforce any "reservation" scheme you might come up with.

So it would be nice to have a tool which would show who is using the computer and for how long. One could easily come up with a completely manual solution perhaps using a webpage on the Intranet. However I am hoping that one can relatively easily do better. I am hoping that the event "user just connected via Remote Desktop" can be used in automating of the management of sharing of the PC.

It shouldn't be hard to turn on audting and write a script to post to a webpage on logon and logoff. It's also possible force a logoff after 2 hours of logon, but it seems like it would be far cheaper to buy a Terminal server CAL 5 pack and not worry about it. I guess it would depend on how valuable your time is to your company.

share|improve this answer
add comment

VNC instead of remote desktop if it's not used for anything personal in nature? That way they'd just get the console session and could see that it's in use.

Otherwise I could only think of some clumsy way to kick off a script in the startup folder that puts a status update on a central web page, then maybe another script that runs at logoff so the text on the web page changes again.

Either way I think the situation is going to be clunky and a bigger pain than just telling users they have to walk over to the system and use it as part of a company fitness initiative. Gives them an excuse to get up from their own workstations and stretch a little.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I often use VNC for the above reason. But Remote Desktop is faster, more robust (it rarely forgets to update the screen) and more network-bandwidth friendly. –  radim Dec 18 '09 at 19:34
    
Unfortunately it's the only way to really get a useful snapshot of the desktop console's status without affecting other users logged into the machine, unless you purchase terminal server licensing to allow more users to connect (and install full terminal services on the machine). Remote desktop just wasn't meant to support a UNIX-like sense of multiuser systems as much as it was for allowing one person to work on their personal system remotely...your described needs are kind of an edge case compared to the design of RD. –  Bart Silverstrim Dec 18 '09 at 19:36
add comment

just have them use VNC to check if anyone is on, and maybe open a notepad window to chat a bit about who gets the computer next, and then remote desktop in at the agreed time.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Ever think of setting up a public calendar in Outlook to reserve a time slot? I'm assuming this system can't handle multiple users simultaneously on remote desktop.

share|improve this answer
1  
I would make it a resource in AD and allow people to schedule it like a conference room, or similar. –  prestomation Feb 24 '10 at 3:06
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.