Thursday, January 18, 2018

How to Get Remote Desktop working on Windows Server 2016

Using remote desktop is an easy way to connect to servers on a network. Once connected to a server, user accounts can be created, passwords can be reset, updates can be installed and software can be managed. In other words, almost everything you can do when physically logged into a device can be done using remote desktop. The benefit of using remote desktop is the ability to accomplish the same tasks more quickly. The further away a physical server is, the more time that is saved.

Unfortunately, a recent update to Windows Servers running the 2016 operating system can cause the server to stop responding to remote desktop connections. This post covers how to get remote desktop working on Windows Server 2016 when an update causes it to fail.

How to Get Remote Desktop working on Windows Server 2016

If remote desktop fails to connect after running important Windows updates, the steps below will fix this issue. The failure caused is unique because the server will still respond and ask for credentials, but after being entered the window disappears. The connection window remains but the desktop for the server is never presented. 

Once remote desktop fails due to the update, there is only one way to fix the issue:  connect to the server directly. This can be done in different ways depending upon the type of server. 

Physical Servers

If you are running a physical server, you will need to gain access to the console and log into the server locally. Physically logging into the machine fixes the issue automatically and once finished the server can be accessed via remote desktop again. Logging in locally only needs to happen once to fix the issue and thankfully the issue will remain fixed once the process is completed.

Depending upon how far away the physical server is, this process can be accomplished within minutes or it might take hours. In some instances, calling someone who is physically closer to the server so they can log in might make sense. Either way, the actual fix, logging in and out of the server, only takes a few minutes. Be sure to test connecting with remote desktop before physically leaving the server to be sure it is fixed.

Virtual Servers

Virtualized servers are also subject to the remote desktop issue. However, virtual servers can be easier to fix. 

To fix the issue on a virtual server:
  • Log into whichever virtual machine management console you have for your servers, e.g. VSphere console / VCenter Server console or Hyper-V Manager.
  • Once logged into the management console, click on the name of the host machine with the issue. 
  • Open the console for that machine.

  • Log into the server from the console and then log out.
  • Test the remote desktop connection as it should now be working again.

Remote desktop is a tool that facilitates making changes and modifications to servers. It saves times because most functions can be accomplished without the servers being physically present. Remote desktop can be used to add or update users, reset passwords, change folder permissions and much more. The recent update causing remote desktop to fail to connect is unfortunate. Luckily, the fix is simple and can be completed in minutes whether the servers are physical or virtual.

As always, updates are important because they often address security risks. Knowing how to fix or adapt to any issues updates might cause is invaluable!

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