I have a virtual Windows 2012 Server instance that is a stand-alone system. I would like to make it possible for 3 people to remotely connect to the server at the same time. What is the simplest way to allow for this? (I will purchase the CALs as necessary.)

I have tried just installing the session host role but that role doesn't stick (after restarting) and it's not clear whether I need the other related services too.


It looks like update KB2821895 broke the addition and removal of the RDS role, and then several later updates including KB2849342 restored functionality. Run windows updates and all should now be well.


From what ive found Microsoft has done away with the management tools for a single standalone remote desktop host. Assuming people will be managing farms or VDI environments. Only way I've found to do this is as follows:

  1. Choose Role based or feature based installation from (add roles and features)
  2. Install Remote Desktop Licensing and Remote Desktop Session Host roles

To configure licensing (there is no mmc for this any longer aka "remote desktop session host configuration" or "remote desktop services manager") you must do it via local group policy editor.

  1. Gpedit.msc -> computer configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Licensing. (There are two settings we must enable and configure)

    • Use specified desktop license server
    • set the remote desktop licensing mode
  2. Refresh group policy gpupdate /force

  • If I try adding those two roles, the system restarts (after prompting me) but the features remain unchecked. Is that normal? Some sort of dependency issue? – DuncanMack Sep 3 '13 at 15:27
  • I havent encountered that one before. I just tested it on a VM and worked as expected. Are you doing it via the GUI or powershell? Verifying that you are choosing role-based installation with the role Remote Desktop Services, and role services remote desktop licensing and remote desktop session host. Other than that I'm not sure check event viewer, and you may also want to run Windows Update to make sure it isnt some bug that has been fixed. – floyd Sep 3 '13 at 21:25
  • 1
    Ah, apparently there was an issue with an update in June (July?) that breaks RDS installation. I can't find details about the specific update as MSDN forums are down, but here is a link to an AWS user having the exact same problem I'm having AWS forums. I've downloaded an earlier image as suggested (2013.05.15) to see if this resolves the issue. – DuncanMack Sep 4 '13 at 14:59

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