Connect To a Console RDP / Terminal Server Session

1) Regardless of connection limits or licensing issues, you will always be able to connect to a server using a console session and an administrator account

2) The console session will often allow you to see errors and popups that won’t appear in other sessions

3) As documented in this MSKB article, you will also be able to have the local user see what you are doing in this session, and vice-versa. This is called a shadowed console session, and is very handy.

There are a few ways to get a console session in Windows 2000, XP, and Vista:

  1. Open your default.rdp file (typically in My Documents) and add the following line to the bottom: connect to console:i:1
  2. In the RDC window, after the address, use the switch /console
  3. From start, run, type: mstsc /console
  4. Make a shortcut to RDC, edit it, and add the /console switch to it
  5. If you are using visionapp Remote Desktop, there is a console session checkbox that you can use per connection

Connect to a Mac Remote Desktop using VNC

This will be a quick howto as it’s mostly a settings issue, but here goes:

Macs have come with a Remote Desktop server for quite some time now, and it’s great for using macs to manage macs remotely, though maybe not as nice as an NX or XMing solution.

When trying to manage an Apple computer using a Windows or Linux computer it’s a different story. When you attempt to open the connection the authorization works, but the window will close very quickly, with no apparent error.

The problem lies in the actual implementation of VNC in Apple’s Remote Desktop server (not to be confused with RDP – it’s MUCH slower). Apple has decided to only support one type of tiling, whereas most VNC clients will attempt to find the best solution in order to connect. Specifically, Apple uses HexTile, and if you specify this in the options or properties of your connection, it will work with no problems whatsoever.

If you’d like to make a .VNC configuration file in order to connect to your Mac server using a Windows VNC client (RealVNC used here), just take the following code and save it as a *.VNC configuration file, being careful to change the host from (null) to the remote Apple Remote Desktop server’s IP address (for example: 10.10.10.10).

[Connection]
Host=(null)
[Options]
UseLocalCursor=1
UseDesktopResize=1
FullScreen=0
FullColour=1
LowColourLevel=1
PreferredEncoding=hextile
AutoSelect=0
Shared=0
SendPtrEvents=1
SendKeyEvents=1
SendCutText=1
AcceptCutText=1
DisableWinKeys=1
Emulate3=0
PointerEventInterval=0
Monitor=
MenuKey=F8
AutoReconnect=1

I have tested this method on many Windows and Linux machines, using RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC and even Chicken of the VNC for Mac OS X. It works fine, though I’d like to pound home again that I would really like to have the option to either tunnel application over SSH, or have some type of locally-accelerated RDP-compliant protocol (heck why not use LTSP 5.0?)
One can only dream…