Enabling Remote Desktop

Updated: February 16, 2011

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

To allow remote connections for administrative purposes only, you do not have to install the RD Session Host role service. Instead, you can enable Remote Desktop on the computer that you want to remotely administer.


Remote Desktop supports only two concurrent remote connections to the computer. You do not need Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) for these connections.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

Enable Remote Desktop

To enable Remote Desktop

  1. Log on as a member of the local Administrators security group.

  2. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

  3. Click Remote settings.

  4. In the System Properties dialog box, on the Remote tab, click either of the following, depending on your environment:

    • Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)

    • Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure)

    For more information about the two options, click the Help me choose link on the Remote tab.

  5. Click Select Users to add the users and groups that need to connect to the computer by using Remote Desktop. The users and groups that you add are added to the Remote Desktop Users group.


For non-RemoteFX virtual desktops, members of the local Administrators group can connect even if they are not listed.
For RemoteFX virtual desktops, all users who will be using RemoteFX on the virtual desktop must be a member of the Remote Desktop Users Group, even user accounts that are a member of the local Administrators group.