Since Remote Control (aka Session Shadowing) is gone for good in Server 2012 Remote Desktop Session hosts, I am looking for a replacement to support users in a cross-domain environment.

Since Remote Assistance is supposed to work for Remote Desktop Sessions as well, I tried leveraging that for support purposes by enabling unsolicited remote assistance for all Remote Desktop Session Hosts via Group Policy.

All seems to be working well except that the "expert" seems to be unable to actually excercise any mouse or keyboard control when the remote assistance session has been initiated from a Remote Desktop session itself. Mouse clicks and keyboard strokes from the "expert" session (Server 2012) seem to simply be ignored even after the assisted user has acknowledged the request for control.

I would like to see this working through RD sessions for the support staff due to a number of reasons:

  • not every support agent would have the appropriate client system version to support users on a specific terminal server (e.g. an agent might have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 station and thus be unable to offer assistance to users on Server 2012 RDSHs)
  • a support agent would not necessarily have a station which is a member of the specific destination domain (mainly due to the reason that more than a single domain's users are supported)

what am I missing?

  • Have you asked Microsoft? This sound be the kind of thing I would want to ask them. – longneck May 15 '13 at 20:25
  • @longneck no, there is no support case with Microsoft as of yet. I have asked this question to check if I was missing something obvious and to see whether someone already has come up with a solution I just was not aware of. – the-wabbit May 19 '13 at 10:00
  • This is a major showstopper for us - big enough to halt the deployment of 2012 in our RDS environment. I hope you find a solution. – pauska May 21 '13 at 13:48

Good news - this is officially back in Windows 2012 R2.

From http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn283323.aspx:

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, Session Shadowing enables you to remotely monitor or control an active session of another user on a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server. The current version includes integration with Server Manager and Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe).

EDIT: Just noticed TheCleaner's answer, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to have a officiall source from Microsoft.

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I've only heard speculation that it will be coming back (literally everyone is mad about this being gone from 2012 after all), but it is not available as a supported function from Microsoft at this time.

However, this blog post is about the best workaround that I've come across. Perhaps it can be a suitable workaround in the interim.

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  • That's not bad actually. I will have to look into the licensing itself...but +1 for the concept and added functionality. – TheCleaner May 22 '13 at 17:43
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    Glad to help, thanks for the bump over the 50 mark--now I can comment all over stuff. Very exciting! – Iron Savior May 22 '13 at 18:00

Look what's back syneticon-dj:

Enhanced Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in Windows Server 2012 R2 with improvements in management, value, and user experience. Session Shadowing allows administrators to view and remotely control active user sessions in an RDSH server.


Let’s start with the big feedback item Microsoft got after the release of Windows Server 2012 and that is bring shadowing (Remote Control) back!

And also, it’s now fully supported to Shadow RemoteApps!!

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VNC and the derivative works with that might be your solution. I have used this for Windows support, even though I am not on a Windows computer.

There are some options, to get started, it is not that difficult to setup, allows for encrypted, and "permission based" options, as well as file transport, and even remote sound.

http://www.realvnc.com/ http://www.realvnc.com/ http://www.tightvnc.com/

Low or no-cost solutions.

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  • I know about VNC, however it is dog-slow compared to RDP. Also, it would require additional installation whereas remote assistance just works out of the box in nearly every Windows environment - if I could get it to work that is. – the-wabbit May 19 '13 at 22:51

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