Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fixing a broken Windows XP Remote Desktop Connection install

This was so much harder than it should have been.

My home copy of XP Pro no longer had a Program shortcut to Remote Desktop Connection. It wasn't in Programs\Accessories\Communications or anywhere else I could find.

On the other hand RDC was installed. I tried reinstalling from the XP CD (see help for XP) but it said a newer version was already in place.

I tried looking for a way to uninstall RDC thinking I could then reinstall and retrieve my shortcut - I couldn't find any way to do that.

I tried searching my hard drive for the file and navigating windows folders, but I couldn't find it.

Eventually I found Remote Desktop Connection (Terminal Services Client 6.0) for Windows XP (KB925876) and installed that. It went well, but it didn't create a favorite/shorcut!

Well, it turns out that c:\windows\system32\mstsc.exe is the remote desktop client (tsc probably stands for terminal server client).

Isn't that pretty bloody obscure.

So I created a shortcut to that and now everything is fine. Presumably I accidentally deleted the original when cleaning up my start folders (specifically, I moved a lot of stuff out of the "all users" folder to protect it from the children).

How did I figure this one out? I had to find another XP machine and identify where the shortcut went on that machine. There was no other way.

Incidentally, mstc.exe has some very obscure command line options:
Parameters

ConnectionFile : Specifies the name of an .rdp file for the connection.

/v:server : Specifies the remote computer to which you want to connect.

/console : Connects to the console session of the specified Windows 2000 Server.

/f : Starts Remote Desktop connection in full-screen mode.

/w:width /h:height : Specifies the dimensions of the Remote Desktop screen.

/edit : Opens the specified .rdp file for editing.

Remarks ...

.rdp files are stored for each user as hidden files in My Documents.
When I use RDC on a dual monitor setup, full screen mode is limited to the size of my primary monitor. I wonder if I could use the /w and /h options to set it to the size of my larger secondary monitor ...

4 comments:

Mortician10101 said...

You are a god... thank you sooo much for your unintentional help... im crying with joy at not having to go to work to.....well... work.. lol... again thanks.

Mike~~

Anonymous said...

If you'd like to use the Remote Desktop Client with a dual monitor setup, the latest version (RDC6.0) supports another command line switch "/span" which will span your dual monitor setup. Simply execute the client from the Run dialogue box (Start --> Run) and type "mstsc.exe /span" (or "mstsc /span") without "s of course. This will allow the client to span both of your monitors. Personally I find this to be a little annoying, I prefer to use the client on the 2nd monitor only so I can retain my desktop on monitor 1 and use the programs bar to navigate between multiple RDC windows and other things like web pages etc.
--ENJOY!!

John Gordon said...

Great comment on the "span" option. I'll give it a try!

Eunice said...

Thank you so much! u save me! I desperately need REmote desktop to do my project. U are wonderful!