Windows Server 2003 : Supporting and Troubleshooting Terminal Server (part 2) - Managing and Troubleshooting Terminal Server - Points of Administration

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2. Managing and Troubleshooting Terminal Server

Several tools exist that can configure terminal servers, terminal services user settings, connections, and sessions. These include Group Policy Object Editor, Terminal Services Configuration, Active Directory Users And Computers, and the Remote Desktop Connection client itself. This section will help you understand the use of each tool and the most important configuration settings by examining the creation, use, and deletion of a user session.

2.1 Points of Administration

Several processes occur as a user connects to a terminal server; and at each step, there are opportunities to configure the behavior of the connection.

The Remote Desktop Connection client allows 32-bit Windows platforms to connect to a Terminal Server using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The client has been greatly improved over earlier versions of the Terminal Services client, and it now includes a wider variety of data redirection types (including file system, serial port, printer, audio, and time zone) and supports connections in up to 24-bit color. The client includes numerous settings that configure the connection and the user’s experience. Some of those settings are seen in Figure 4. Settings are saved in Remote Desktop Connection (.rdp) files that can easily be opened for future connections or distributed to other users as a connection profile. Settings in the .rdp file or the Remote Desktop Connection client affect the current user’s connection to the specified terminal server.

Figure 4. The Remote Desktop Connection client

When a user connects to a terminal server, the server will examine the terminal services properties of the user’s account to determine certain settings. If terminal services user accounts are stored on the terminal server, the Local Users And Groups snap-in will expose terminal services settings in the properties of user accounts. More commonly, user accounts are in Active Directory, in which case Active Directory Users And Computers exposes terminal services settings on the Environment, Remote Control, and Terminal Services Profile tabs within the user properties dialog box, as shown in Figure 3. Settings in the user account will override settings in the Remote Desktop client.

A client connects to the terminal server by specifying the server’s name or IP address. The terminal server receives the connection request via the specified network adapter. This connection is represented by a connection object, visible in the Terminal Services Configuration console shown in Figure 5. The connection object’s properties configure settings that affect all user connections through the network adapter. Settings in the connection will override client-requested settings and settings in the user account.

Figure 5. Terminal Services Configuration


A terminal server’s RDP-Tcp connection properties, accessible through Terminal Services Configuration, will override client and user account settings for all user sessions through the connection on that individual terminal server.

Windows Server 2003 Group Policy includes numerous computer-based and user-based policies to control terminal services. Configurations specified by group policy objects (GPOs) will override settings in Remote Desktop Connection, in the user account, or on the RDP-Tcp connections of terminal servers. Of course, those settings will apply only to the users or computers within the scope of the organizational unit (OU) to which the GPO is linked. In an environment consisting only of terminal servers running one of the Windows Server 2003 family operating systems, Group Policy will enable terminal services configuration with the least administrative effort. Terminal services group policies do not apply to terminal servers running earlier versions of Windows.

Once a user session has been enabled, the Terminal Services Manager administrative tool can be used to monitor users, sessions, and applications on each terminal server. Terminal Services Manager can also be used to manage the server and to connect to, disconnect from, or reset user sessions or processes.

Before continuing the examination of Terminal Server configuration options and tools, take a moment to memorize the order of precedence for configuration settings:

Computer-level group policies. Most Terminal Services configuration can be set by group policy objects (GPOs) linked to an OU in which terminal server computer objects are created. These policies override settings made with any other tool.

User-level group policies.

Configuration of the terminal server or the RDP-Tcp connection using the Terminal Services Configuration tool. While this tool is server and connection specific, and therefore cannot specify a single configuration as Group Policy can, this tool is able to configure Windows 2000 terminal servers. In addition, there are times when a configuration should be different between terminal servers or between connections. Terminal Services Configuration is the tool to manage such a scenario.

User account properties configured with Active Directory Users And Computers.

Remote Desktop Connection client configuration.

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