How to Enable Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2008 Server Core

Windows Server 2008 (WS08) Server Core can be used in lots of useful scenarios. However, because WS08 does not have a GUI, you need to use the command prompt to accomplish the administrative tasks. You may find it convenient to manage the Server Core from another computer.

By default Remote Desktop is not enabled on the Server Core. There are two steps you need to take to get Remote Desktop working: Enable Remote Desktop & open default RDP port, which is TCP port 3889.

STEP 1 – Enable Remote Desktop

You can look at your settings by using the following command:

cscript c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /AR /v

The scregedit.wsf script will either return a 1 or a 0. If you see a 1 then the Terminal Services (i.e. Remote Desktop) is disabled, a 0 means it is enabled.

To enable Terminal Services use the following command:

c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /AR 0

To disable Terminal Services use the following command:

c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /AR 1

NOTE: The /AR switch is used for Vista and WS08 computers. For Windows XP computers replace /AR with /CS.

STEP 2 – Open RDP Port

To open Remote Desktop, you need to make sure that your firewall is not blocking the default Terminal Services/RDP port 3389. On a WS08 Server Core, run the following command to open TCP port 3389.

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”remote desktop” new enable=Yes

You should expect the following response when you execute the above command.

C:\Windows\system32>netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”remote desktop” new enable=Yes

Updated 2 rule(s).
Ok.

You might want to check out Microsoft KB article 947709 for additional information on opening ports at the firewall or how to enable ICMP requests.


Copyright ©2009 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

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