Remote Desktop Session Host Role Service Migration

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

This guide describes how to migrate the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) role service. Steps for migrating both RD Session Host servers and terminal servers are included.

Following the steps to migrate the RD Session Host role service will result in an RD Session Host server with the same server name and registry key settings. To complete the deployment, create a custom deployment plan that includes settings and applications that you plan to migrate to the destination server. For more information about deploying RD Session Host, see the Remote Desktop Services Deployment Guide (


In Windows Server 2008 R2, terminal servers are now called RD Session Host servers. The Terminal Server role service is now called the RD Session Host role service. In this migration guide, this new terminology is used even when referring to previous versions of Windows Server unless there is a difference that makes it necessary to mention terminal servers separately. Note that security group names have not changed in Windows Server 2008 R2.

Overview of the migration process for the RD Session Host role service

The RD Session Host role service migration process includes the following topics:

What is migrated by using this guide

This guide shows how to migrate the RD Session Host configuration settings including licensing mode, authentication method, and registry key settings for such things as licensing settings, system process keys, and utilities. In the case of the RD Session Host server, it also shows how to migrate the client experience settings to support Windows Aero.


During the migration process, the name of the source server is given to the destination server. This permits migration of a role service without changing the connection strings for any of the other role services in the deployment. After you remove a source server from the domain, you will not have access to any role services on that computer.

What is not migrated

This document references the topic Remote Desktop Services Migration: Overview, which contains information that applies to the migration of all role services such as server preparation, order of migration, expected downtime, impact of migration on other role services, and permissions required for migration. Steps documented in the overview are not repeated in the RD Session Host Migration Guide.

Settings for applications on the RD Session Host server will not be gathered or recorded during this migration. You should create a customized migration plan for any applications that you plan to migrate.

See also