how can I access a GRAPHICAL login screen (like on earlier Windows versions, or like VNC) instead of the Username/Password prompt via RDP?

I'm asking because we have several servers where we have no passwords but the shutdown/reboot option is given via group policy on the login screen. Thus, instead of having to go the hardware console I'd like to be able to perform reboot/shutdown actions via terminal services.

  • 2
    I might be wrong, but it seems like a huge security hole to allow unauthenticated users to remotely shut down servers. As far as I know (and I just checked on my windows 2003 server), RDP doesn't let you do this without authenticating. If you just need a remote reboot/shutdown, you might want to consider the "shutdown" command issued to a remote machine instead.
    – MikeAWood
    Mar 22 '14 at 2:13
  • On second thought, you are absolutely right... I was looking at the problem from the view that those machines are firewalled and noone except the whitelist is allowed to access, but your remark seems valid.
    – Marki
    Mar 23 '14 at 18:51
  • @MikeAWood I'd gladly accept your answer if you posted it as such :)
    – Marki
    Oct 29 '14 at 9:03

I posted the same thing for a different reason here: Windows Security Dialog not showing when logging on to my server through remote desktop

What you are seeing is a setting in Server 2008 that handles what type of encryption is used when the session is started.

To change it, go to Start -> Run -> tsconfig.msc, and double click on the RDP-Tcp connection. Select the Security layer that you want.

RDP Security Layer is the option in your second screenshot. This is required is you have users logging in and are required to change their passwords before logon.

Negotiate is the option in your first screen shot. As far as I'm aware, this is a default option for 2008 and 2008 R2 RDP servers.

Select the option you'd like, then log off and back on to see the change.

  • Isn't this something I can influence from the /client/ side?
    – Marki
    Feb 18 '11 at 19:22

I would recommend using Royal TS for this.


This will not only give you just the login screen but has a lot more options.

Also I would recommend putting passwords on servers that do not have them. If it needs to be easy, just add the u/p in the Royal TS configuration.

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