So I got myself in a complicated situation. I have my Windows server 2008 box, currently with no monitor, keyboard or mouse attached to it (I set it up once, enabled remote connection and detached all the hardware). Few days ago, I noticed that the system was logging Security logs to the Event Viewer every 3 seconds, with the message "Login failed for user [user]..." which I though was some sort of flooding attack (I enabled RDP over internet so I could connect to it from anywhere). So without thinking twice about it, I disabled remote connection, but it was too late by the time I realized what a mistake I made. My remote connection timed out, and I couldn't remote into it anymore.

So is there a way to enable remote desktop back? The computer is not on a domain so I can't use the registry. I also haven't enabled remote access to PowerShell, so I'm out of luck on that as well. Any help would be appreciated.

  • As an aside, you should never allow RDP to be accessible to Internet at large. Historically the protocol has never been that robust. You should connect to your server or its subnet via a VPN connection and go from there. – user62491 Aug 5 '13 at 16:10


Without a domain to push out settings and without any remote access enabled you need to turn it back on from the console.

Real server hardware often comes with a management system for just this scenario - it lets you connect through a browser as though you had a real monitor mouse and keyboard detected. But it needs to be configured and should not be made internet accessible.

You may want to look into setting up a VPN instead of opening remote desktop to the internet. A bit more work to setup but much more secure.

  • Alright then. It's just a matter of finding a keyboard and a mouse :) thanks. – PoweredByOrange Aug 3 '13 at 6:08

You should always make sure to have a fallback solution like teamviewer. Without domain membership and enabled Powershell Remoting there's not much you can do. If the Windows Remote Management service (winrm) is running with the corresponding firewall exception and a listener is configured you can still use winrs.exe to access the machine. You could give psexec a try too.

  • Yeah I ended up physically accessing it and re-enable RD. – PoweredByOrange Aug 4 '13 at 1:48

You could create a local account with the same credentials as a local administrator account on the remote server and edit the registry that way, if such an account exists. I also agree with megamorf's psexec suggestion.

I also second Grant's and megamorf's fallback suggestion. There are built-in solutions on a lot of hardware (which should not be internet accessible).

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