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How to Remote Desktop to the Actual Server Console on Windows 2003

Using the Remote Desktop client usually lands you in a seperate session on the windows server. There are times, however, when you might want to be able to connect to the console directly instead of being in a seperate session. This is how.

Start the remote desktop client from the command line or the Start/Run dialog with this command:

mstsc /console

You can now select the server you wish to connect to, and you will connect to the server console session instead of a seperate session.

If you want to see the usage dialog, type mstsc /?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/27/06

Comments (12)

  1. apd

    i use the fullscreen option

  2. Derek

    If you remote into a console, do not log off if there are programs or services running that need to interact with the desktop. You should disconnect instead. A good example is Icverify, the credit authorization gateway. If you log off the remote console session the app will terminate.

  3. Carlos

    In the OS X version of RDC you hold down the “Command” key while connecting.

  4. Rock

    Very Useful Thx

  5. ZeroCool

    When I do this it still shows up as a TCP-RDP session, why does it now show under the console as being logged in?

  6. Ben

    Since VISTA SP1 /console does no longer work, use /admin instead

  7. Alex

    If you have installed SP-3, you’ll need to use /admin.

  8. Aaron

    The note about SP3 saved me from unnecessarily purchasing several licenses of a third party program.

  9. Edwin

    @Alex: Very helpful information!!

    Thanks!

  10. Soulman

    Trying to remote into another PC and I get a message saying that I am already connected to the console of this computer and that a new console session cannot be established. How do I reset this?

  11. Tony

    Good info. I use your site a lot and am so glad you provide these basic commands for those of us that don’t use them often enough to remember. Thanks!

  12. Jesse

    The full screen mode is so helpful. I will also utilize the Admin to administer the servers that I connect to. Thanks!

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