I have just installed Windows Server Essentials 2016 (I am be no means not a Windows expert) and I am trying to let a 'normal' user login onto the server using Remote Desktop.

I know the services and network are OK, because Administrator level users can login without any problem.

I have used the Server Manager to enable "Remote Desktop" and also added both a group and a user to access. Yet, when I try to login, I get the following message:

To sign in remotely, you need the right to sign in through Remote Desktop Services. [....] You need to grant this right manually.

I think I did that through the Server Manager, but apparently not. Where can I grant that right?

  • Is this a domain controller? Are there customized group policies being applied to the server? Nov 10 '17 at 16:31
  • @spacenomyous yes it is a domain controller (there seems to be no other way to run WS Essentials 2016). I haven't applied any group policies, it is a fresh install. Nov 13 '17 at 13:17

Add the user to the local “Remote Desktop Users” group on the server.

  • When I use the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, that group does not exist. Only groups I have made myself are available there. When using the Control Panel, I can see the user already is a member of the Remote Desktop Users group. Nov 13 '17 at 13:16

You need to add the new group to the "Allow log on through Remote Desktop Services" user right under:

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment\

on your Domain Controllers GPO. By default you should have the Default Domain Controllers Policy. I suggest adding a new GPO and linking it highest with the new change.

Edit: Re-wrote answer based on community feedback

  • 1
    I suggest not suggesting adding users to the local administrators group, on the principle of least privilege. It's not 100% clear but I interpreted the asker as saying they have already added a group and the user in question to the Remote Desktop Users group. Nov 10 '17 at 16:20

Did you try adding the user in "Allow remote access to your computer"? Search it in control panel, then open "Select Users" and add the user to it.


In the firewall you must actively allow RDP access to the machine. I had to do this in order to get a connection. Even when I added before dedicated users.


Because Windows Server Essentials is a Domain Controller, by default doesn't allow users via RDP, even if you whitelisted them. For example, regular users can't even do a local login. An easy workaround is adding users as members of the "Print operators" group.

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