I remote desktop into a remote computer, and want to restart it from inside. When that remote computer comes back to life, can I still log into it? I will lose the previous session, for sure, but can I still log into it?


Short answer, given the details you have provided: Yes.

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  • Yep, I do it all the time to XP and Server 2003. The only computer I prefer not to do remotely is the one running the VPN. – Knox May 21 '09 at 11:33

You should be able to connect assuming the computer restarts and loads the operating system correctly.

If your using Windows, then here are some of the reasons you many not be able to connect.

  • You have changed the computer name.
  • You are connecting using the IP address and the computer is assigned a new IP address.
  • Remote access has been blocked in the Firewall.
  • Disabled network card or changed settings.
  • Blue screen of death.
  • Somebody entered the BIOS as the computer started up.
  • Network cable had been unplugged.
  • You selected shut down instead of restart.
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  • 2
    Or my favorite, computer has entered one of those "helpful" bios screens to let you know the battery is weak/dead, a case open was detected, it has the sniffles, etc... – Kara Marfia May 21 '09 at 12:39

Assuming it comes back up okay and gets back on the network, yes, of course you could get back into it.

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Another showstopper when rebooting remote servers is having a usb drive or other removable device plugged in. HP Servers are set to boot from these types of devices before local hard drives, by default in the BIOS.

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If it is a server, always make sure there aren't other sessions running or open programs. They might crash and prevent the server from rebooting, which might cause you to drive up there ...

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I have noticed that with Windows Server 2008 that it will not allow you to restart or shutdown the server from a Remote Desktop Connection. You need to be logged in physically to perform these tasks. Other versions of Windows seem to restart fine and allow me to RDP on again without problem once they're back up.

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  • While the start menu might prevent it, just running "shutdown /r" should still do the trick... – Oskar Duveborn May 21 '09 at 13:59

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