Windows Server Troubleshooting - Terminal Services

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Terminal Services lets you run applications and perform administrative on a remote server. This important troubleshooting tool gives access to the server without the need to physically go to the server. It is a light, secure, thin-client which is excellent for remote administration.

Terminal services comes in two parts; the Terminal Server and the Terminal Service Client. Windows XP professional has similar capabilities with Remote Desktop and Remote Desktop Connection. The Terminal Services Client establishes a session with the server.  The client keyboard and mouse activity is sent via the network to control the server session.  Applications launched in the session use the resources (processor, memory, etc. ) on the server. Displayed output is sent back to the client display screen as shown in the diagram. Multiple clients can connect to the server at the same time.  The following diagram shows 3 sessions running on the server.

Terminal Service Client


Keystrokes & mouse movements to server
Terminal Server supports multiple client sessions

Screen image to client

Clients can connect to the server using the Communications Accessory, Remote Desktop Connection.


Two Modes of Operation

Sharing applications on a server requires additional client licensing which is an additional cost. No additional licensing is required to use Terminal Services for remote administration and troubleshooting.


Application Sharing Mode


Remote Administration Mode


Application Sharing Mode is a great overhead on a server, because all of the applications will be running on the server rather than the clients. Monitor the server to ensure that it has sufficient resources to handle all of the client tasks.

Note: Although Terminal Services and the Remote Desktop Connection are important troubleshooting tools, most MMC tools support access to remote computers. For example, in the Computer Management Console, right-click on the computer icon labeled Computer Management (local) and select the Connect to another computer option.

An alternative to Terminal Services is NetMeeting. The Terminal Service Client controls an session that is not visible to the interactive user on the server. In NetMeeting, both the client and server have a view and input to the same user interface. NetMeeting is good for help desk support where the technician can do demonstrations for the user.

Keyboard Exercise

Try the Remote Desktop Connection on Windows XP. Install and test Terminal Services on Windows Server.