I'm trying to connect to a Windows XP pro through Remote Desktop (my local machine is on Windows 7).

I know that I have to type mstsc.exe /admin (I'm not using the deprecated option /console) to open the console session.

However, it really seems that I'm not connected to the console session. For example:

  • When I type echo %SESSIONNAME%, I get something like RDP-Tcp#14 instead of console.
  • When I type shadow 0 to observe console session, I get Error [7050]:The requested session cannot be controlled remotely. This may be because the session is disconnected or does not currently have a use r logged on.

By showing process tree with Process Explorer, it looks like the console session is at login screen.

What am I missing?


I've not read yet everyting on this resource, but seems to be explaining the problem: it seems that you cannot interact with (logon to) session 0 on a Windows XP SP3 (or Vista SP1, or Server 2008)

  • 1
    Why not use VNC to connect?
    – Robin Gill
    Apr 27, 2012 at 16:19
  • Good idea, I will try that. Apr 28, 2012 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


Windows client OS's only allows one interactive user at a time. When you connect remotely, it locks the console session - hence you finding the console session at the login screen.

If you're not picking up session 0 when logged in remotely then there must be something going on in the background that transfers the console session to your remote desktop when you connect.

  • Thanks for your answer. What could be "going in the background" which could prevent me from picking session 0? Apr 27, 2012 at 15:29
  • I had a quick Google and found the same page as you. Looks like a security feature. Apr 27, 2012 at 20:44

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