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The RDP /Console Switch 

Apr 24, 2008 01:31 PM

I was setting up an NS server today for the first time and ran into some problems.

Everything installed just fine. Across the board everything looked green, but then I tried to setup up the proxy configuration in the console.

IIS crashes. I reset it and again it crashes.

What in the world did I do wrong?

I didn't RDP into the server using the /console switch:

mstsc /console

After that, I did a complete reinstall and everything went smooth.

This is VERY important when working with servers, especially an Altiris server. In fact, you should probably just set a shortcut to always use the /console switch. Seems like something we all take for granted, until the one time you don't use it and everything gets hosed.

UPDATE - With Vista the switch is mstsc /admin. - Thanks Caleywoods!

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Jul 05, 2008 01:31 PM and are some good KBs to check out about this.
As Kinetic mentioned in the update above, /admin is the new /console.

Jul 01, 2008 04:47 PM

the new mstsc does not support the /console switch. the /admin switch does the same thing.

Jul 01, 2008 11:02 AM

I upgraded my XP to SP3 and the /console switch did not work anymore. After some looking around I found that I had to change the /console switch to /admin to get console access to work again with XP SP3.

Apr 29, 2008 07:17 AM

If you want to use more than one remote desktop a nice tool to consider is using the Administration tools of Windows 2003.
If you install the Windows 2003 Admin tools (adminpak.msi on the CD), you get a new MMC called Remote desktops.
With this tool you can add several remote desktops and use them all in one console.
Advantage is that the default connection is /console.
You can change this, but the default is /console.

Apr 28, 2008 10:01 AM

Very nice and usefull tool to manage RDP connections: visionapp Remote Desktop (vRD) is a tool for the management of RDP connections to servers. vRD is ideal for administrators who need to maintain simultaneous connections to multiple remote servers. Connection-specific settings and login credentials can be organized in folders and subfolders for quick access.
- Create and manage folders and subfolders for connection objects
- Define connection settings such as redirections, RDP port and window size in connection objects
- Organize connection objects in different folders and subfolders
- Change the order of folders, subfolders and connection objects
- Create user-specific credential objects including username, password and domain (encrypted)
- Login to remote server desktops with a single mouse click on a connection object
- Use the overview window to find open user sessions
- Option to open a separate window for a new user session
- Connect to interactive remote console for supported platforms, e.g. Windows Server 2003
- Description area above vRD work area may be opened or closed
- Different sort options for the connection object hierarchy
- Assign a user-defined credential object to folders and subfolders
- Inherit credentials from parent folder or assign a user-defined credential object to a connection object
- Export and import folders including all connection item settings via XML files
- Export and import credential objects using a password-protected and encrypted file
i found it here:
Don't forget to enable the option "connect to console".

Apr 28, 2008 05:02 AM

In our organization I use the Remote Desktops snap-in to manage connections to our servers. Considering that the main thing for us is to manage in a same tool several servers, an additional great feature is when you need to create a new session, the default setting is the Connect to console.
This allow to avoid to forget the /console switch in the terminal server connection.
From Microsoft Technet:
[quote]A connection to the console session always provides a full desktop session, just as you would see if you were logged on to the server locally.[/quote]

Apr 25, 2008 03:30 AM

It appears that many administrators not aware of this /console switch. May be other applications are not affected by it .....

Apr 24, 2008 03:19 PM

I am sure most of you know this but that forces you to login as ID0...

Apr 24, 2008 03:05 PM

You are correct, not using the /Console switch is rather useless, as it is installed in a Terminal Server Session.
Keep in mind that even with an Console session software instalation 'Could' go wrong, this is rare but hard to solve if you're not aware what could be wrong.
Kind Regards, FrankB

Apr 24, 2008 02:21 PM

Thanks for the heads up. Now we can warn everyone: "Don't be like that guy!".

Apr 24, 2008 01:51 PM

Yes it is very important you use the /console switch. It is a very odd problem and very hard to troubleshoot. If you do not know of it, or aren't thinking about it, it can be very frustrating. Alot of times I will install software on the box sitting infront of it, just to make sure everything works. And then any updates or anything else I do, I will use the /console switch.
Very good bit of information.

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