We are using remote desktop to log in to a Windows 2012 server with a limit for two simultaneously users only. Sometimes, however, we need to be more.

We've discussed that with our server guys who claimed that this is only possible if the server will be reinstalled. Somehow I find this hard to believe, but being a novice I have no arguments to come with.

So - is it true or false? Is there any configuration in the server I could to check to confirm that this is the case? Please help a noob mixed up in a bureaucracy.

  • If either of our answers were useful to you could you please select it as the correct answer :) – Alex Berry Aug 7 '14 at 14:30
  • I will but currently I'm trying to establish a strategy and collect some courage to face the admins... – uzilan Aug 7 '14 at 18:16

To allow more remote users on your MS Windows server you need to install the terminal services role. Microsoft calls those Remote Desktop Services since MS Windows Server 2008. This does not require reinstallation but probably one or more restarts.

You need client access licenses and a license manager to use this feature. The following links will give you more insight:

Feature Overview

Deployment Guide

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It doesn't require reinstallation, it requires the installation of a the remote desktop services role and the purchase of licenses to enable additional RDP connections. Why do you need so many RDP connections, is this just to manage Microsoft services on the server? Management tools can be installed on client computers to manage many of Microsoft's products remotely, without having to RDP in. It's called RSAT: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=28972

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Windows Key + R >> Type MMC.exe >> then Control + M >> Select Group Policy Object >> then Add >> then finish >> then OK

Double click on Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections. Limit Number of Connections = 999999. Restrict Remote Desktop Services users to a single Remote Desktop Services session = DISABLED.

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  • This solution works perfectly. But is it not breaking our licenses? Or are there any other drawbacks to this method? – uzilan Aug 21 '14 at 12:30
  • That I am not sure of everywhere I have worked or contracted to has had their rdp in this way. – Anthony Starling Sep 25 '14 at 17:25
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    There is a grace period of 120 days before the license is required. – user372838 Mar 28 '17 at 9:03

An alternative I haven't seen covered here so far: on your local desktop (assuming it's Windows) open Start then Run and type mstsc /admin

This will launch the remote desktop client in admin mode. You may need to enter elevated credentials to use it, but it will override the two user limit. It makes sense to do this instead of making configuration changes if you only occasionally need to have more than two people logged in.

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  • Good idea but we sometimes need to be even more than 3 :( – uzilan Aug 14 '14 at 10:39

"It is recommended that you install Remote Desktop Session Host before you install any applications that you want to make available to users. If you install RD Session Host on a computer that already has applications installed, som of the existing applications may not work correctly in a multiple user environment."

This is the text you get presented with when adding the RD Session host role on a server. So Microsoft is clearly advising against doing it after applications have been installed.

I have also tried this on servers in the past and have run into all sorts of strange issues. Specially finance applications seems to break if added before RD Session Host.

The GPO hack suggested is a clear violation of Microsofts TS licensing and should never be used!

I would say, ALWAYS use MS best practice. Then you know you get their support if needed in the future, especially in a production environment!

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Strictly from a server perspective and enabling more than two users, no it does not require reinstalling the server operating system.

If there are applications installed that would function differently on an application terminal server/change user install, then the applications may need to be uninstalled/reinstalled.

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