Vista Remote Desktop Connection Troubleshooting

Vista Remote Desktop Connection ProblemsConfigure Remote Desktop Connection

 Troubleshooting remote desktop connection involves examining both the local client, and the distant network host computer.

Topics for Windows Remote Desktop Connection Problems


Configure the Host Computer – Allow Connections

The situation is that you leave your desk with a Vista computer running and wander to another Vista machine on the same network.  You want to check your email, but it’s a long trek back to the other machine so you decide to make a Remote Desktop connection.  This where you check that connection is allowed:

Click on ‘Start’, Control Panel, System and Security, System, Allow Remote Access.

Configure Remote Desktop

You can fine-tune the configuration by specifying users, or restricting the type of remote computer.  Evaluate Solarwinds Dameware MRC

Configuring Remote Desktop Connection on the Client ComputerConfigure Remote Desktop Connection

The situation is that you have configured the host (remote / network) computer to allow connections.  Now you want to launch the Remote Desktop Connection on the local client.  To access mstsc.exe, click on the Windows Start Orb and in the Search dialog box, type Remote Desktop.

Double Click on Remote Desktop Connection – See screenshot.

Type the name of the computer that you wish to access.  I also advise you to examine the Option before you click ‘Connect’.

Tips Remote Desktop

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Encouraging computers to sleep when they’re not in use is a great idea – until you are away from your desk and need a file on that remote sleeping machine!

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Problems with Remote Desktop Connection in Vista

Installing the program mstsc.exe rarely gives problems.  Thus troubleshooting focuses on network connectivity and permissions.  Once you get a basic remote desktop connection, there is potential for a whole set of new problems, for example, features such as printing or Aero Graphics don’t work.

Basic Troubleshooting Techniques to Get a Connection

Editions of Vista
The host computer, the distant one that you connect to, must be Vista Professional, Business or Ultimate.  However, the client can be running the home premium edition.  The host could also be Vista, XP or even a Windows Server.

Hostname Problems – Remote Desktop cannot find computer…
Try connecting to an IP address rather than a computer name.  Use ping to test the network connection, if there is a problem check the Host records at the DNS server.

If you have selected Network Level Authentication then you must type the full computer name at the client.  For example mycomputer.local and not plain mycomputer.  If in doubt, try ping mycomputer.  The surest alternative is to check in the Control Panel, System and Security, System:  Full computer name.

Disable the firewalls on both the local and remote computer.  All other experts castigate me for this technique, but I do it to remove one variable and to free my mind; turning off the firewalls forces me to focus on other sources of configuration mistakes.

Enter Your Credentials
Make the connection to the host with a username that has previously logged on at that computer.  Check in the Control Panel of the host machine to see that the user has permission to use remote desktop.

Problems Once You Make a Remote Desktop ConnectionTroubleshooting Remote Desktop Connection Windows 7

For problems relating to local resources, or Flip 3D, then check the Options button (see above), then examine the six tabs that you see in the screenshot to the right.

Aero Graphics
For a reason that I cannot fathom the ‘Experience’ defaults to the slowest connection ‘Modem’, thus if you have a high speed connection you miss out on Aero Graphics effects unless you select ‘LAN’.

As usual, printers give their fair share of problems.  My advice is to go to the ‘Local Resources’ tab and experiment with, and without, the tick in the Printers box.

Save Credentials
I like to reduce hassle by saving credentials in the General tab.  While it’s not a problem in a HomeGroup, if the computers belong to a domain then you can need to change this group policy.  

  1. Logon as an administrator.
  2. Click the Start orb, in the ‘Search’ box type: gpedit.msc.
  3. Navigate to the Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, System, and then Credentials Delegation.
  4. In the right pane, double-click Allow Saved Credentials with NTLM-only Server Authentication, click Enabled, and then click Show.
  5. In the Show Contents dialog box, click Add, type the name of the remote computer (server) in this format: TERMSRV\<computername>
  6. It maybe worth reading the help notes; for example, make sure you capitalize TERMSRV.  Also, you could try using the asterisk * as a wildcard as in:  TERMSRV\*

See more about Remote Desktop in Windows Server 2012 »

Summary of Troubleshooting Vista Remote Desktop Connection

The first step in troubleshooting is to check that the distant network computer is setup to allow remote desktop connections.  On the client computer test with ping that you can contact the target machine.  Once you can make a basic connection examine each tab in the Options.

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