Forgetting what you know

by Terry 10/10/2008 10:53:00 AM

Yesterday I was working on a support issue at work. I was trying to debug some of the server management tools developed by my project team. Our tools, for a variety of reasons, are designed to work when logged on to the console session on a Window 2003 or Windows 2008 server. Naturally, I was rather frustrated when I used Windows’ Remote Desktops client to connect to the console of the server in question, but failed to actually gain a true console session. The console option was being ignored.

After a bit of running around, and with a little assistance from my teammates, the problem server was fixed and I could start investigating why Remote Desktop failed or disabled the console connection when I explicitly specified it. My co-worker, Keith, reminded me that Terminal Services options changed with Windows Server 2008 (and maybe Vista, but I work mostly with Server Operating Systems these days), and that Remote Desktop client support changed to match. I had known this. I needed to know this while updating my tools to work with Window Serer 2008. I had forgotten what I knew and missed the connection. After a bit of research I found this article on MSDN, which is helpful to solve the issue: Changes to remote administration in Windows Server 2008, (KB947723).

Honestly, it does a poor job of explaining why the changes is made, but at least it gives you a workaround – use the /admin switch instead of the /console switch.

I installed Windows Server Service Pack 2 Administrative Tools, as I had the Server Pack 1 version installed. Unfortunately, this does not help. Maybe there is a version that supports the actual options needed. I don’t have the time to look for it at the moment.

In the meantime, my solution is a little less glamorous. I have a custom toolbar on my Start Menu with a folder of links to most of the servers I connect to on any given day. Each shortcut uses a command line like the following example.

%windir%\system32\MSTSC.exe /V:MY-SERVER-01 /admin

Where MY-SERVER-01 is name of the server I want to connect to.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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