I've just started working with Windows Server 2012 and I'm stuck trying to get Remote Desktop Services installed. My server is in a virtual machine and there is no Active Directory domain.

I recall that with Windows Server 2008 R2 it was possible to install RDSH in a workgroup environment. Has this changed with 2012?


Actually, one can install RDSH on Windows Server 2012 in a Workgroup environment.

This configuration is appropriate when there is only one server on the network and it will provide desktop sessions to users based on the number of Remote Desktop Services client access license (RDS CALs) installed on the server, but will not provide access to RemoteApp programs or the RDWeb site.

You should install two RDS roles:

  • Remote Desktop Licensing
  • Remote Desktop Session Host.

Then install RDS CALs (either per user or per device).

The last step would be to configure the Remote Desktop Session Host role to use the local Remote Desktop Licensing server.

See more: Guidelines for installing the Remote Desktop Session Host role service on a computer running Windows Server 2012 without the Remote Desktop Connection Broker role service:


Seems like MS have changed it in 2012, so you cannot install RDSH standalone in a workgroup :(

Similar question that was answered on MS forum

  • Start button... workgroup RDSH. Who needs those anyways! – floyd Sep 17 '12 at 1:26
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    This is not right, one can install RDSH role on WS2012, there is simply no GUI to manage this. See my full post below. – Volodymyr Molodets Aug 18 '15 at 14:30

If you are doing a scenario-based deployment, all affected servers need to be in the same domain. This will not work in a workgroup.

I must admit I have not tried installing the roles individually and configuring them manually. This may not work anymore ...


Have a look at the following Article

Deploying a RDSH Server in a Workgroup - RDS 2012 R2


  • 1
    Welcome to Server Fault! While this may technically answer the question it is preferred that more details are added to the answer here (relevant snippets from the post, things like that). Links break over time and negate the benefit of link only posts. – squillman Oct 30 '13 at 14:31

Run in powershell:

$obj = gwmi -namespace "Root/CIMV2/TerminalServices" Win32_TerminalServiceSetting
$obj.ChangeMode(4) #(2) for per-device licenses.

and restart the server.

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