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  • Added on: Oct 01 2011 07:38 AM
  • Date Updated: Oct 01 2011 07:40 AM
  • Views: 33828
 


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Enable Remote Desktop Connection For Vista Home Premium

If you are like me, you probably have a computer or two that runs Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium. The only problem with that, is that Remote Desktop Connection is disabled by design on those operating systems. Not only that, Windows Home Server disables the connection from the web interface also. So for those of us wanting to remote into those computers, we are pretty much out of luck. Except we aren't, there is a way to enable Remote Desktop Connection on those computers and trick the web interface to allow it! And we are going to show you how.

Posted by Drashna Jaelre (WGS) on Oct 01 2011 07:38 AM
If you are like me, you probably have a computer or two that runs Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium. The only problem with that, is that Remote Desktop Connection is disabled by design on those operating systems. Not only that, Windows Home Server disables the connection from the web interface also. So for those of us wanting to remote into those computers, we are pretty much out of luck. Except we aren't, there is a way to enable Remote Desktop Connection on those computers and trick the web interface to allow it! And we are going to show you how.
What you will need
  • Remote Desktop Connection or Advanced Admin Console - We are going to have to make a simple change on the server, a reg hack
  • Registry Editor - Or "regedit.exe"
  • Terminal Services Hack - There are two versions: the Vista RTM version and the Vista SP1. If you don't know which version to download, right click on "Computer" and select properties. If it says "Service Pack 1", download the SP1 version. Otherwise you have RTM.
  • Notepad - Seriously. Why would I lie?
What to Do

Before we really start, I'm going to explain a few things so those less technologically inclined will understand exactly why it has to be this way. Vista Home Premium doesn't support Remote Desktop, or more specifically the underlying technology called Terminal Services. So to get it to work, we have to use a run a hack that enables the service and ensures the necessary files are present. Even when that is done, and the files are present, Windows Home Server knows the computer is Home Premium and disables the ability to use the Remote Desktop Gateway in the website. Even if you manually enable it once, that doesn't solve the problem because every time Home Server pulls information from your computer, it resets the hack for the website.
However, that being said, there is still a way to enable it and keep it enabled. And we are going to show you how!

On the Client Computer

Download the Terminal Services hack to you Vista computer, and extract all the files. Find the file that matches your version of Vista and run it as Administrator. (This is done by Right click on the batch file and select "run as administrator" ). After it is done running, open up your firewall, and make sure it is a allowing port 3389 through, or else this is all in vain. Reboot the computer. Not only should remote desktop be enabled, you can log on and use the computer with another account even while somebody else is at the same computer. As long as you are using different accounts.

On the Server

RDP_Transport_Clients.jpg

Now, either use Remote Desktop Connection or Advanced Admin Console to run the registry editor on your server. Find the entry:


"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\Transport\Clients"


There should be one entry for each computer attached to the server under this section, find which one has your computer. It should have a string called "MachineName" and it should match, well the machine's name. Just let the Registry Editor sit here for now. Go open notepad, on the server and add this line

REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\Transport\Clients\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}" /v "TerminalServicesSupport" /D "Yes" /f


Change the 0's to the correct string of letters and number that matches the Vista Home computer. If you have multiple computers that need to be added, make multiple lines, each one corresponding to a different computer. Now save this files as "TermSrv.cmd" in "C:\". We are almost done. Kind of.
  • NOTE: This simple registry tweak determines if the web interface allows you to remotely connect to your computer over it.

RDP_Create_User.jpg


Find "Administrative Tasks", either in the control panel, or available via Advanced Admin Console. Open Computer Management, and under system tools, find "Local Users and Groups" and then "Users". Open the "Actions" menu and select "New User". Give it the username "WHSServices". I would give it a password, just in case, and using your server's password isn't a bad idea. That is what I've done. Uncheck "User must change password at next log-on", and check "User cannot change password" and "Password never expires". Click "Create". We are almost done with this part. Right click on "WHSServices" user and click properties. From here, open up the "Members Of" tab, and remove "Users", then click "Add..." and add it to the group "Administrators". Click okay.
  • NOTE: Disregard this section if you have already created a user account for running services. This account is to ensure that you don't ever see a dos window flash up when you are connected to the console. Also, I have said use "WHSServices", but I have "HomeServer" in the image. That is because I had already created the account and use it for various things, including testing.

RDP_Schedule_TS.jpg


On to creating a scheduled task. Open up the control panel. Open up "Scheduled Tasks", and click on "Add scheduled Task". Click "Next", and the click "browse". Now select "C:\TermSrv.cmd". You can name the service anything you want, but make sure you select to run the task daily. Set the start time to 12AM and click next. For the username, use "WHSServices" and input the password you gave the account. Click next, and check "Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish", and click "Finish". On the "Schedule" tab, click the "Advanced" button. Check "Repeat Task". Every 10 minutes is what we want anyways. But we want this task to run until 11:59PM, so that it runs all day, so set it to that. Click okay twice, and we are done.
  • NOTE: This is necessary, because every time Home Server pools your computers for info, it resets the flag that disables remote access in the website. Running the "TermSrv.cmd" every ten minutes ensures that you at worse have to wait ten minutes if the Home Server disables the connection.
Done

Now you are done. You can remotely connect to your computer! Enjoy your remote access.

Additional Info

This is useful for Vista Home, but the batch files enable you to log into multiple different accounts on the computer at the same time, instead of logging everybody out, and only allowing one person to access the computer. This is great for managing computers, especially Media Center computers that have no mouse or keyboard.

Credits

This page was original written by Drashna for We Got Served.

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