Network Administrator Knowledgebase

Oct 18 2007   10:28PM GMT

Managing Windows 2008 Server Core through RDP

Michael Khanin Michael Khanin Profile: Michael Khanin


As described in previous articles, Windows Server 2008 has an interesting option to install it with a minimal graphical user interface (or GUI for short). This method of installation is called “Server Core“, and it allows an administrator to only install the minimum binaries required to run a specific server role (currently, there are 9 possible Server Core roles). You can read more about it on my “Understanding Windows Server 2008 Server Core” article.

To manage a server running a Server Core installation by using a terminal server client

  1. On the server running a Server Core installation, type the following command at a command prompt:

    This enables the Remote Desktop for Administration mode to accept connections.

    In order to view your current settings you can type:

    If you see “1” in the script output, that means that RDP connections are denied. If you see a “0”, they will be allowed.

    Note: If you are running the Terminal Services client on a previous version of Windows, you must turn off the higher security level that is set by default in Windows Server 2008. To do this, type the following command at the command prompt:

To enable remote management from an RDP connection through the firewall

  1. To enable remote management from any MMC snap-in, type the following:

To open an RDP session with the Server Core machine

  1. On the remote management computer, click Start > Run, type mstsc, and then click OK.
  2. In Computer, enter the name of the server running a Server Core installation, and click Connect.

  3. Log on using an administrator account.

  4. When the command prompt appears, you can manage the computer using the Windows command-line tools.

    Note that while you’re logged on to the server, the original server console session is locked out.

  5. When you have finished remotely managing the computer, type logoff in the command prompt to end your Terminal Server session.


Windows Server 2008 Server Core installations, like any other servers, require remote management. In order to allow for that, the server’s Firewall and registry settings need to be changed. This article showed you how to do that.

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