Thursday, July 18, 2013

Configuring custom .rdp shortcuts for Server 2012 Remote Desktop

The Changes

Windows Server 2012 has changed much in the Remote Desktop (RDS) area; most of which is great, some areas require re-learning.  I'd like to briefly outline two changes that aren't as well documented regarding connecting to the new environment: connecting to an RDS server farm using a connection broker and collection name, and creating a custom .rdp file that can be deployed if the web access server isn't desired.


No More NLB for Connecting

Server 2012 changes the connection process from 2008R2. In 2008R2, I'd commonly create a Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster and direct users at this NLB address for connecting to the RDS environment.  NLB was configured to span all RDSH servers (or pre-chosen) to provide maximum redundancy on initial connection and NLB was used to provide fault tolerance based in its awareness of server outages.  Dedicated redirects could be used if desired.

The new method: NLB is no longer required for Remote Desktop connections.  Uses connect to the Remote Desktop Connection Broker (or Connection Broker Farm) and then get redirected to the appropriate host.  The preferred method, use Remote Desktop Web Access (RDWA).  Alternatively, you can connect directly using .rdp saved settings files.

Remote Desktop Shortcuts

I've seen multiple environments where system administrators deploy .rdp files or shortcuts.  This is no longer the preferred method for connecting to a 2012 RDS Collection.  The recommended method is to use the built-in RDWebAccess; however, you can still configure custom .rdp connection files and customize them to direct users RDP sessions to a specific Remote Desktop session or RemoteApp collection.

Here's how to configure a remote desktop .rdp file to connect to a specific collection through a broker:

  1. Determine your Remote Desktop Connection Broker name or Farm Name for the Connection Broker servers (if > 1).
  2. Determine the collection name of the Remote Desktop collection you want to connect to by RDP.
  3. Open up mstsc (Remote Desktop Connection) program on your computer.
  4. Type in the server name, gateway info, redirection info, resolution info as you normally would. For the server name, use the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of your connection broker server (or farm name), i.e. SERVER.TESTLAB4.ME.
  5. On the general tab, click Save As and save the .rdp file to your desktop.
  6. Open notepad
  7. Open the newly saved .rdp file in notepad and add/update the following information, substituting your RDS collection name for <RDS COLLECTION NAME>:
    1. use redirection server name:i:1
    2. loadbalanceinfo:s:tsv://MS Terminal Services Plugin.1.<RDS COLLECTION NAME>
  8. Save the .rdp file and test.

5 comments:

Ray W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray W said...

Hi there. Wondering if you could help..

Windows Server 2012 RDS Farm.
I have 4 servers. 1 server (Broker and WebAccess) and 3 RDSH Servers.
If I want to connect to the RDSH servers directly through mstsc, I would create the following .RDP file. It returned error :(

full address:s:RDSMGMT.ABC.COM
workspace id:s:RDSMGMT.ABC.COM
use redirection server name:i:1
loadbalanceinfo:s:tsv://MS Terminal Services Plugin.1.RemoteApp_Collection

K. Friberg said...

You sir have saved me from this undocumented mess that is the new 2012 RDS.
As an additional point I was able to point to the collection using just "loadbalanceinfo:s:RDS".

There was a time that MS documented all the RDP file attributes. Has anyone seen an updated version for 2012 or for the new version 10?

Thanks again,
-Ken

cun said...

Thank you!
now it works.
I was searching for 3 Days!!! Why M$? Why?

historypak said...

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