I have one Windows XP SP3 pc on the domain that I cannot rdp into. The xp pc is enabled for rdp sessions. Port 3389 is open in the firewall. There are no errors in the event logs. I have tried to rdp from from a number of different machines running different versions of rdp client (5.1 & 7). When I try to rdp from an xp machine it fails without an error message, the connect button simply becomes disabled for a second and then becomes enabled again.

How can I troubleshoot this issue to find out the root cause?

Epilogue: I never did find the root cause....the pc had other faults and was removed offsite.

  • When you say 'fails without an error message', what happens exactly? Has the machine been rebooted in awhile? I've run into numerous issues with RDP where automatic updates tries to reboot the computer, but it fails for some reason. The machine then ends up in a state where no new RDP connections are permitted, but it still works mostly correct. – devicenull Dec 11 '11 at 21:19
  • see clarification to question - button disables & reenables. The machine has been rebooted recently. – Rory Dec 11 '11 at 21:36
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    Is time sync working correctly on the box? You'll need to go and get on the terminal to find out though. – Zypher Dec 11 '11 at 21:40
  • I need to check and get back. I know that time sync hadn't been working correctly until recently. – Rory Dec 11 '11 at 21:43
  • I've seen that type of behavior when the time is off on the client by more than the 5 min tolerance. – Zypher Dec 11 '11 at 22:02

Step 1: telnet to port 3389 on the box. If you cannot connect with telnet to the port, you have a network or firewall issue. If you can connect, you have an RDP protocol issue.

Step 2: given that you have a RDP protocol issue, boot a Ubuntu Live CD (or similar) and try to connect using rdesktop. It may give you a different error message.

If you have a network-related issue, the question is wether it is a problem with the machine or some intervening equipment. If possible, direct connection with a crossed cable should isolate intervening equipment. You can also try to nmap the machine from where you try to do RDP connection. The pattern of available/blocked ports may give you a clue as to what is wrong.

  • Thanks Bittrance. This has helped rule out certain things and has made me focus on the rdp protocol. I am using wireshark now to try and pinpoint the exact cause. – Rory Dec 15 '11 at 13:35

This page has useful remote desktop troubleshooting tips for xp.

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