MCSA/MCSE 2003 – 70-292 TechNotes:


Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is an essential new feature in Windows 2003 that actually is not that new. It is the same thing as running Terminal Services in Administration mode on a Windows 2000 server. Remote Desktop allows administrators to manage the server remotely without having to walk to the server room. It is installed by default on Windows 2003, but not enabled by default. Remote Desktop relies upon the Terminal Services service, which will start automatically when Remote Desktop is enabled.

Remote Desktop can be enabled on the Remote tab of the System Properties depicted below:

If you click the Select Remote Users button, you can specify users that should be allowed remote access in addition to the administrators. Users you add on the Remote tab of the System Properties are actually added to a default group called Remote Desktop Users. Members of this special group are granted the user right Allow log on through Terminal Services on the local computer. Remember that although they logon remotely, they are worguide on this computer locally, as if they were sitting in front of it. If they were physically sitting in front of it, they would not be able to log on. In Windows 2000, users needed the right to log on locally to logon remotely on a terminal server.

The client component, which enables users to connect to a computer running Remote Desktop, is appropriately called Remote Desktop Connection. (It was called Terminal Services Client before Windows XP/2003.) Remote Desktop Connection requires a LAN, VPN, or dial-up connection that supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance allows a user to request help from a remote user over the Internet. The user in need for assistance sends an invitation (by Messenger, E-mail, or file) to an expert. If the expert accepts the invitation, he or she can establish a remote session to view the user’s screen and chat with the user, and optionally, control mouse and keyboard input.

Remote Assistance is disabled by default on Windows 2003 servers and can be enabled on the Remote tab of the System Properties (see image in Remote Desktop section above). The Remote Assistance Settings, accessible thru the Advanced button on the Remote tab, allow you to put limitations on the use of Remote Assistance and the expiration period of invitations.

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Remote Assistance invitations can be send in three different ways:
- Email – The recipient (helper/expert) will receive a message with an attachment called ‘RCBuddy.msrcincident’. When the recipient executes that file, a remote session will be established. The user requesting help will have to accept the session before the remote user can view the screen and/or control the computer.
- File – This option allows you to save the invitations on a floppy disk for example, or better, compress and encrypt it and then email it.
- Messenger – The process for Messenger is very similar and somewhat easier as remote assistance can be requested directly from Messenger, during a chat session with a help desk for example.

All three options are available from the Help and Support center in Windows XP (click Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance).


Although the Terminal Services service is installed by default to allow Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance connections, it allows for only two concurrent user connections. You will need to install Terminal Server to serve a larger number of users. Windows 2003 Terminal Server allows users to work on the server remotely. Remote users can run applications, store data, and access the network on the Terminal Server, while using minimal resources of their local computer.

Terminal Server can be installed through the Add/Remove Windows Components option in the Add and Remove Programs wizard. You can use it without purchasing client licenses for a period of 120 days. After this initial grace period, Terminal Server requires a separate terminal services client license for each connected client . To issue licenses to clients, you need to install a Terminal Server Licensing server (which should be installed on a different server than the Terminal Server). Before the license server can issue client licenses, you must activate it though the Microsoft Clearinghouse by using the Terminal Server License Server Activation Wizard.

When you install Terminal Server, you must choose between Full Security, which denies applications on the server access to the registry and system files, or Relaxed Security, which allows access to the registry and system files and may be required for older applications you want to share on the Windows 2003 terminal server. If you choose Full Security and an application fails to run, you can change the setting by using the Terminal Server Configuration tool. Applications that were installed previously need to be reinstalled after installing Terminal Server in order to work properly for multiple users.

The 70-290 and 70-292 exam, for which these TechNotes are written, mention “Troubleshoot Terminal Services” and “Diagnose and resolve issues related to

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