Sometimes (but often enough to annoy) Remote Desktop Connection cannot connect to a server (2008 R2 but maybe also 2003) and claims that

"The connection was denied because the user account is not authorized for remote login."

The user is always authorized for remote login and the connection works from other clients. (Although this is the very same message that appears when a user really isn't autorized for remote login.)

The problem always goes away after a client restart.

The client is always Windows 7 but I have no (other) reason to assume that it only affects Windows 7 clients.

Any idea what causes this?

  • I would recommend to start looking at the event viewer on the client and server side, any weird or unusual errors might help you solve this . – Noor Khaldi Oct 18 '13 at 10:50
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    I saw something similar when a DC went out of space on C: because of some excessive logging which stopped it from replicating properly. In other words check that all your DCs are replicating properly. – hyp Oct 18 '13 at 11:11
  • It only affects certain clients. I now believe it is due to a dirty cache on the client when the user changed his password. I will try to confirm this. – Andrew J. Brehm Oct 23 '13 at 14:05

Most likely you have some open file handles to the server in question, even if they aren't actually connected. The existing handles may have not had access (or are using invalid credentials) when they were set up.

Rebooting the client PC is the ultimate solution to resolving the issue, however you could use tools like Process Monitor to search for open file handles. Look for any handle with the name or IP of the server in the handle's name.

I can reproduce the issue like this:

  1. Attempt to connect to a server you don't have access to, using the "Terminals" program. It will fail. Don't close Terminals.
  2. Add yourself to the server's local admins group via membership of another group in the domain. Not directly. I don't know whether it matters that the group was already there before step 1, or not. In my case, it was already there.
  3. Attempt to RDP now. It won't work, and will give the same error you mention.
  4. Close the Terminals program.
  5. Now attempt to RDP, using Terminals or mstsc. It should work.

It is highly probable that your issue is not because if the "Terminals" program, but the idea should be the same.

You won't find anything useful in the Event Viewer on the client or server machines.

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