How to tell if your Remote Desktop Connection is from the Console

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I do a lot of work using Remote Desktop Connections. Sure beats the old "sneaker net" days where you had to physically log into each server you needed to manage.

I'm sure you know that you can
connect to the console session using MSTSC /CONSOLE from the command line. This is helpful when you need to establish a third RDP session because the other two are in use, or when you need to install software that can only be done from the console.

One of the questions I'm asked is how to tell if you're connected via RDP to the console from the RDP session. To do this, simply open a command prompt and enter QWINSTA. You will see output similar to the screen above.

Take a look at the session ID in the example above. When you're in an RDP session to the console, the session ID will always be 0 (zero). That's all there is to it!


  1. It helped me quite a bit... however I'm not sure what to do next. I need to connect to the console session to see the status of an agent properly, but I am not even with the /admin switch (WS2008 with RDP 6.1). Is there another way to force logon to session 0?

  2. This article was written for Windows 2003. Windows 2008 hadn't even come out yet. :)

    Anyway, take a look at this article for information about the /console and /admin switches for MSTSC:


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