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Configuring Remote Desktop PART 2

Establishing a Remote Desktop Session

After installing the appropriate client software on the client computer, you can connect to the remote computer. The following discussion includes tips for using Remote Desktop components, keyboard shortcuts you can use during a Remote Desktop session, information about security enhancement by using encryption levels, and configuring of Remote Desktop by using group policies.

You can establish a session with the Windows XP Professional–based computer that has Remote Desktop enabled by using one of the following clients:

  • Remote Desktop Connection

  • Remote Desktop Web Connection

To create a new connection by using Remote Desktop Connection
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, Accessories, Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.

  2. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, in the Computer box, type the name or IP address of a computer running Windows XP Professional for which you have Remote Desktop permissions.

  3. Click Connect.

  4. In the Log On to Windows dialog box, type your user name, password, and domain (if required), and then click OK.

In Remote Desktop Connection, you can preconfigure your Remote Desktop sessions:

  • If you want all your Remote Desktop sessions to respond exactly the same each time you establish a session, click the Options button, preconfigure the desired settings, and click Save As under Connection Settings, as seen in Figure 8-4. Enter filename and click Save. Each time you want to open that session, click Open, and then double-click filename.

  • If your video adapter does not support higher resolutions, you can set the display size of the Remote Desktop session to fit your display configuration. On the Displaytab, move the Remote desktop size slider. Select the resolution that best fits your needs, and then click Connect.

  • If you need to print information or check disk status from your Remote Desktop session, you can have the remote computer automatically connect to your computer’s disk drives or printers. On the Local Resources tab, in Local devices, click Disk drives or Printers, and then click Connect.

Figure 8-4 illustrates the client logon interface and Table 8-2 lists the features for the interface.

Figure 8-4 Remote Desktop Connection interface

Figure 8-4 Remote Desktop Connection interface

Note Configurations on the client logon interface are local policy settings; they can be overridden by Group Policy settings.

Table 8-2 Features Available on the Remote Desktop Connection Logon Interface

Tab

Settings to Configure

Notes

General

Enter or change logon and connection settings.

Enter remote computer name, network user name, network password, and network domain.

Selecting Save my password allows you to enter the password at connection time and store it for future Remote Desktop sessions.

Saving connection settings allows you to use a configuration throughout an enterprise.

Display

Change remote desktop size (resolution) and colors.

Selectable session resolution and color depth allow you to adjust for specific needs.

Local Resources

Control sound, keyboard, and local devices.

Enabling sounds at the client computer enhances the session.

Applying Windows key combinations within the Remote Desktop session enhances the session.

Allowing the session to control local devices automatically boosts productivity.

Programs

Start a program and change an icon.

Setting the session to start a specific program upon connection can improve efficiency. (This tab is available only for terminal server sessions.)

Experience

Set bitmap caching and compression.

Allowing certain features in this tab will provide a richer visual experience at higher bandwidths.

Using Remote Desktop Web Connection

To use Remote Desktop Web Connection, you need to ensure that it is installed and running on the Web server. Your client computer must also have an active network connection and Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later installed.

To connect to a remote computer by using Remote Desktop Web Connection
  1. On your client computer, open Internet Explorer.

  2. In the Address box, type the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the home directory of the Web server hosting Remote Desktop Web Connection. The URL is "http://” followed by the Windows Networking name of your server, followed by the path of the directory containing the Remote Desktop Web Connection files (default = /Tsweb/. Note the forward slash marks). For example, if your Web site is registered with the DNS server as "admin1.northwind.com”, in the Address box you type:http://admin1.northwind.com
    /tsweb/, and then press ENTER.

  3. From the Remote Desktop Web Connection page, in the Server box, type the name of the remote computer to which you want to connect.

    You can specify the screen size and logon information for your connection.

  4. Click Connect.

Keyboard Shortcuts in a Remote Desktop Session

You can apply Windows key combinations to your Remote Desktop sessions, or you can use the following Remote Desktop keyboard shortcuts (shown in Table 8-3) to perform many of the same functions.

Table 8-3 Keyboard Shortcuts in a Remote Desktop Session

Windows Key Combinations for Client Computer

Equivalent Keys for Remote Desktop Session

Description

ALT+TAB

ALT+PAGE UP

Switches between programs from left to right.

ALT+SHIFT+TAB

ALT+PAGE DOWN

Switches between programs from right to left.

ALT+ESC

ALT+INSERT

Cycles through the programs in the order they were started.

 

CTRL+ESC

Switches the client between a window and full screen.

CTRL+ESC

ALT+HOME

Displays the Start menu.

 

ALT+DELETE

Displays the Windows menu.

PRINT SCREEN

CTRL+ALT+MINUS (–) symbol on the numeric keypad

Places a snapshot of the active window in the Remote Desktop session on the clipboard.

CTRL+ALT+DEL

CTRL+ALT+END

Displays the Task Manager or Windows Security dialog box. (Only use CTRL+ALT+END to issue this command. CTRL+ALT+DEL is always interpreted by the client computer.)

ALT+PRINT SCREEN

CTRL+ALT+PLUS (+) symbol on the numeric keypad

Places a snapshot of the entire Remote Desktop session window on the clipboard.

Security and Encryption in Remote Desktop

You can enhance the security of a Remote Desktop session by using any or all of these methods:

  • Setting encryption levels to secure data communications between client and remote computer host

  • Enabling password authentication of users at logon time

  • Disabling clipboard sharing for Web-based clients

  • Disabling printer redirection for Web-based clients

  • Disabling file redirection for Web-based clients

These five security-enhancing methods, discussed in the following sections, use Group Policy settings. For more information about using Group Policy with Remote Desktop, see "Using Group Policy with Remote Desktop” later in this chapter.

Setting Encryption Levels

Data encryption can protect your data by encrypting it on the communications link between the client and the Windows XP Professional–based computer. Encryption protects against the risk of unauthorized interception of transmitted data. By default, Remote Desktop sessions are encrypted at the highest level of security available (128-bit). However, some older versions of Terminal Services client software do not support this high level of encryption. If your network contains such "legacy” clients, you can set the encryption level of the connection to send and receive data at the highest encryption level supported by the client.

There are two levels of encryption available:

  • High

    This level encrypts data sent from the client to the remote computer and from the remote computer to the client by using strong 128-bit encryption. Use this level only if you are sure that your client computer supports 128-bit encryption (for example, if it is running Windows XP Professional). Clients that do not support this level of encryption will not be able to connect.

  • Client Compatible

    This level encrypts data sent between the client and the remote computer at the maximum key strength supported by the client. Use this level if your client computer does not support 128-bit encryption.

You can set the encryption level of the connection between the client and the remote computer by enabling the Set client connection encryption level Terminal Services Group Policy setting.

Enabling Password Authentication at Logon Time

To enhance security of a Remote Desktop session over the Internet, you might want to prevent automatic password passing. To do this, you can enable the Always prompt client for password Terminal Services Group Policy setting. When this setting is enabled, you must supply your password in the Windows Logon dialog box whenever you start a Remote Desktop session.

Disabling Clipboard Redirection

For enhanced security, you might choose to disable Remote Desktop clipboard redirection for clients that connect via the Remote Desktop Web Connection client. You can disable clipboard redirection by using the Do not allow clipboard redirection Terminal Services Group Policy.

Disabling Printer Redirection

For enhanced security, you might choose to disable the printer redirection feature for clients that connect via the Remote Desktop Web Connection client. You can disable printer redirection by using the Do not allow printer redirection Terminal Services Group Policy.

Disabling File Redirection

For enhanced security, you might choose to disable the file redirection feature for clients that connect via the Remote Desktop Web Connection client. You can disable file redirection using the Do not allow drive redirection Terminal Services Group Policy.

Using Group Policy with Remote Desktop

In Windows XP Professional, you can use Group Policy to configure Remote Desktop Connection settings, set user policy, and manage Remote Desktop sessions. You can enable Group Policy for users of a computer, for individual computers, or for groups of computers belonging to an organizational unit of a domain. To set policy for users of a particular computer, you must be an Administrator for that computer or have equivalent rights. To set policies for an organizational unit in a domain, you must be an Administrator for that domain or have equivalent rights.

Enabling Group Policy on an Individual Computer

To set Terminal Services policies settings for a particular computer or for users of that computer, open the Group Policy snap-in to edit the Local Group Policy Object (LGPO).

The Terminal Services group policies are not configured by default. You can configure each Group Policy to be either disabled or enabled.

To access Terminal Services Group Policy
  1. From the Start menu, click Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

  2. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

  3. In the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box, click Add.

  4. In the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, click Group Policy, click Add, and then click Finish.

  5. In the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, click Close.

  6. In the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box, click OK.

  7. In the console pane, double-click Computer Configuration, click Administrative Templates, click Windows Components, and then click Terminal Services.

Terminal Services Group Policies are organized individually and in folders. Table 8-4 lists some of the Terminal Services Group Policy folders, policies, and functions that affect Remote Desktop.

Table 8-4 Group Policy Settings That Affect Remote Desktop

Folder

Group Policy

Function

Terminal 
Services

Allow users to connect remotely using Terminal Services

Enables Remote Desktop on computers targeted by this policy.

 

Automatic reconnection

Allows Remote Desktop Connection clients to automatically reconnect if the network link is temporarily lost.

 

Limit maximum color depth

Sets a limit on the color depth of any connection to a terminal server or Remote Desktop.

Client/Server Data Redirection

Allow audio redirection

Allows users to play the remote computer audio at the local computer during a Remote Desktop session.

 

Do not allow clipboard redirection

Disables sharing of clipboard contents.

 

Do not allow drive redirection

Disables mapping of client drives in Remote Desktop sessions.

 

Do not allow COM port redirection

Disables redirection of data from the remote computer to client COM ports during the Remote Desktop session.

 

Do not allow client printer redirection

Disables mapping of client printers in Remote Desktop sessions.

 

Do not allow LPT port redirection

Disables redirection of data from the remote computer to client LPT ports during the Remote Desktop session.

 

Do not set default client printer to be default printer in a session

Directs Terminal Services to automatically not specify the client printer as the default printer in the Remote Desktop session.

Encryption and Security

Always prompt client for password upon connection

Directs Terminal Services to always prompt users for passwords at logon.

 

Set client connection encryption level

Directs Terminal Services to enforce the specified encryption level for all data sent between the client and the remote computer during Terminal Services connections.

Client

Do not allow passwords to be saved

Controls whether passwords can be saved on this computer from Terminal Services clients. This setting is available only for Window XP Service Pack 2.

Troubleshooting Remote Desktop

This section contains troubleshooting information for Windows XP Professional Remote Desktop.

Server Name Not Found Error Message

If the remote computer cannot be found, the following message appears:

"The specified remote computer could not be found. Verify that you have typed the correct computer name or IP address, and then try connecting again.”

The problem might be in the computer name or IP address that you are using to connect. To solve this problem, verify that you have the correct computer name for the remote computer and that you have typed it in correctly. The correct computer name can be obtained from your administrator. If you have the correct computer name and are still unable to connect, try to connect using the actual IP address of the computer. This information can be obtained from your administrator.

A Specified Program Will Not Open

If you are having problems opening a specified program on the host computer (on the Programs tab of the Remote Desktop Connection), you might be connecting to a computer running Windows XP Professional. Specified programs will open only when connecting to a terminal server, not when starting a Remote Desktop session. Remote Desktop provides access to the actual console session of the remote computer. You cannot specify programs that open in a Remote Desktop session.

Cannot Log On to the Remote Computer

If you do not have the correct permissions to access a remote computer running Windows XP Professional, the following message appears:

"The local policy of this system does not permit you to log on interactively.”

You must add yourself to the Remote Desktop Users group (or to a group with administrative rights) so that you can use Remote Desktop.

Session Ends with a Data-Encryption Error Message

If a data encryption error prevents your client computer from communicating properly with the remote computer, the following message appears:

"Because of error in data encryption, this session will end. Please try connecting to the remote computer again.”

Try again to connect to the remote computer.

Additional Resources

These resources contain additional information and tools related to this chapter

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