Enabling Remote Desktop via Group Policy

In a previous post, I provided some details on the "Jameson Datacenter" (a.k.a. my home lab). In a follow-up post, I also discussed the Active Directory domain structure and mentioned how I use the Group Policy feature of Active Directory to "effortlessly" configure new servers.

For example, I have defined a Group Policy (named Enable Terminal Services Policy) with the following settings:

  • Computer Configuration
    • Policies
      • Windows Settings
        • Security Settings
          • Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
            • Inbound Rules
              • Remote Desktop (TCP-In)
                • Enabled: Yes
                • Action: Allow
      • Administrative Templates
        • Windows Components
          • Terminal Services
            • Terminal Server
              • Connections
                • Allow users to connect remotely using Terminal Services: Enabled

By linking this Group Policy to the appropriate OUs (e.g. Development/Resources/Servers) I do not have to manually enable Remote Desktop connections on each new server (e.g. a new SharePoint development VM). Instead this is automatically configured as soon as I join a server to the domain and reboot.

I'll cover some of the other Group Policy objects in subsequent posts.