How to Enable Remote Desktop from a Remote Machine

Monday, November 19, 2007

[Note: Also see my other article that explains how to enable Remote Desktop for Windows XP computers]
Have you ever tried to connect to a server or workstation via RDP, but can’t because Remote Desktop isn’t enabled? Here’s how you can enable Remote Desktop remotely.

The following procedures assume that you have administrator rights on the target machine.
  1. Run Regedit
  2. Select File Connect Network Registry
  3. Enter the name of the remote computer and click OK
  4. At the bottom of the registry tree you will see two hives appear for the remote machine: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_USERS
  5. Navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server
  6. Double-click fDenyTSConnections in the right-hand pane and change the value from 1 to 0
Another way to accomplish the same task is by using WMIC, the WMI command line utility in Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 2003 Server. Here’s the one line command:

wmic /node:TargetComputer PATH Win32_TerminalServiceSetting WHERE AllowTSConnections=0 CALL SetAllowTSConnections 1
The command above is not case sensitive, by the way.

Note that neither of these methods require a restart of the remote machine, however I have seen it sometimes take a minute to take affect. Remember, patience is a virtue. :)

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