01-10-10 Major Post Update! – Gentle readers…it has come to my attention via the comments that the post title and content might be a bit misleading. That was not my intention, but after careful and objective reading of the post now, I clearly find that was the case.
To that end I want to make some important clarifications and additions up front. Then please go on and read the rest of the post.
1) My original desire here was twofold: a) run Windows RDC from my Windows 7 Home Premium laptop to control my desktop “faux-server” Windows 7 system (currently running Win7 Ultimate RC1), and b) be able to use the final Win7 RDC binaries at work on my XP Pro system to RD some XP Pro systems. If that is what the post title and/or Google led you here for…then read these bits and then drop down to the main post. If not, check out item #5 below before deciding to stay or leave the page…you might be rewarded for doing so.
2) The original nomenclature I used to refer to “host” and “client” in RDC was incorrect. Here is the “official” definitions per Microsoft; “Remote Desktop Connection is a technology that allows you to sit at a computer (sometimes called the client computer) and connect to a remote computer (sometimes called the host computer) in a different location.” So the PC you are working at that you are initiating the RDC session from is the client end and the one you are actually remote-controlling is the host end. M’kay?
3) As the table below in this post shows (but is a bit misleading without the above information) ALL versions of Windows 7 allow you to run the Windows 7 RDC client natively. That’s why (as some commenters pointed out) the binaries I noted are actually present on all the Win7 systems. So following the post instructions really are not necessary UNLESS you want to run the Windows 7 RDC client binaries from a non-Win7 system (XP/Vista/Server) and do so from a USB stick (unless you then offload them to that system locally).
4) Which now gets back to my misleading post title “Run Windows Remote Desktop Connection on Win7 “Home” editions.” Yep. Based on #3 above, you just don’t need to do this, UNLESS you mean to say you want to run Windows Remote Desktop on Windows 7 Home Premium as the HOST. Then this post would be completely useless per the official Microsoft product description for Win 7 RDC: “You can connect to computers running Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows 7 Enterprise. You can't use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, or Windows 7 Home Premium.” Only you actually “can” with Windows 7 Home Premium (x32 or x64)…but in a different manner than contained in the original post. If that is what you came here looking for…see item 5 below.
5) To REALLY run Windows RDC in “host-mode” on a Windows 7 Home Premium system.
- Note: ONLY do this if you understand what you are doing, what the consequences are, and any security issues that might arise if you decide to do this! Pet hamsters might escape their cages. You might Black or Blue Screen of Death your Windows 7 Home Premium system that works just fine right now. Seriously. This really shouldn’t even be considered by anyone except advanced or professional Windows users and administrators. Seriously. I mean it. M’kay? Still want to do it? Fine. Keep reading then.
- Probably want to start by manually making a System Restore Point.
- On the Windows 7 Home Premium system, go to Start --> Control Panel –> System.
- From that window, check the sidebar and find and select “Remote settings” on the left-hand side sidebar.
- In the “System Properties” window select the “Remote” tab.
- Check (enable) the “Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer.”
- Select “Apply” and “OK”. Then close all the windows out.
- Go to this page: How to enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7 Home Premium over at the Tenniswood Blog and follow the link to download the zip file.
- unpack the zip file “Concurrent_RDP_Win7_RTM_patcher.zip”.
- Open up the unpacked folder and find the install.cmd file and run it as “administrator” (note: On my Windows 7 HP x32 bit laptop it worked fine out of the box. On my Win7 HP x64 AMD system…it errored out as it said the termsrv.dll file didn’t exist. A CLI search for the file did find it present (but cloaked by the OS) in C:\Windows\System32. So I had to then disable UAC, reboot, re-run the install.cmd file as “administrator”. It worked. I then reset UAC and rebooted….)
- You will need to decide if you wish to allow “concurrent” sessions (let a logged-on user work while you also work on it without force logging out the current user…I select “Y” myself, and if you want to enable “blank” password for account login (not have to provide the password)…I select “N” for this.
- Once done (and the process may take a while, particularly when it waits to listen to the service on port 3389) you will be directed to close the window out. Then you are done!
- Your Windows 7 Home Premium system should now be “patched” to run RCD as a HOST for incoming RDC sessions.
Observations: This is a hack/patch/mod of a Windows OS file along with some other automagical system configurations that changes the code of the termsrv.dll file, adds the rdpclip.exe file to the system, starts the service, and adds Windows Firewall Rules. It is completely unsupported by Microsoft. Future Service Pack release and/or monthly OS security/updates might overwrite and/or break this whole house of cards. I am a bit smart, but I am not a programmer and cannot certify that the documentation on file patching is all that goes on. It might allow Martians to mind-control RDC your system. I just don’t know. As far as I can tell everything seems legit and quite effective, but your mileage may vary.
Finally, I owe early commenter to this post “Kevin” an apology. I because my nomenclature was mixed up, I didn’t quite “get” the tipoff he was trying to pass to me on this very technique. Kevin’s tip and information turned out to be MUCH more valuable (granted to a really small set of Windows Home Premium users) than I realized at the time…including myself!. Great tip Kevin and a full hat tip to you, mate!
- How to enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7 Home Premium -Tenniswood Blog – clean post to the zip file.
- Windows 7 RTM concurrent remote desktop patch - The Green Button – the Uber-team that seems to craft this out for each version of Windows Home OS time after time. As far as I can tell, it all starts here.
- Windows 7 Home Premium - Remote Desktop – another RDC forum that pointed to the Tenniswood Blog post.
- Install and Enable Remote Desktop in Windows XP Home Edition » My Digital Life. For XP Home Premium users seeking RDC Host enablement.
- Enable Remote Desktop Connection on Vista Home Premium – Frans goes Blog – For Vista Home Premium users seeking RDC Host enablement.
- Turn on Remote Desktop in Windows 7 or Vista - the How-To Geek – for lucky folks who do have a version of Windows 7 or Vista that does support the Microsoft OEM enabled RDC Host feature…it isn’t enabled by default out of the box…
--I’m sincerely sorry for any confusion the original post below caused…that said, it still stands solid for carrying a working set of the Windows 7 RDC binaries on your USB stick.
Original Post below….
I’ve got four Windows systems humming along in our home. Three are laptops running Windows 7 Home Premium edition (via one of the last remaining Family Pack sets), and the fourth is my old home-brew Shuttle SFF system that was running XP Home, and now is sporting Windows 7 Ultimate Edition (RC1 build). Two are x64 bit loads of Win7 and the other two are x32 bit loads.
I’m amazed at the performance I’m getting out of the Shuttle. It is a single core system and much, much older than the dual-core laptops. Yet is still gets a higher score on the performance index rating than any of them. Might be because of the drive or the dedicated AGP video card.
Anyway…the Shuttle is now repartitioned with two volumes. The first is a bit smaller and carries the OS and user files. The second is much bigger and I’m using it for file storage and serving. No, it’s not a true “server” in the sense of Microsoft’s Home Server, but since Windows 7 allows Homegroups and file/volume sharing, I’ve been able to set it up as such to some degree.
…in which the need arises
Now, what I really wanted to be able to do is to remote-desktop control the Shuttle and work/maintain it from my laptop when I am multi-tasking and file syncing.
As I’ve said before, at work we use a Novell remote desktop product and Windows Remote Desktop is not used. So when the Make Microsoft Remote Desktop A Portable App over at MakeUseOf came out, I posted it which the back room tech Julie picked up and stated she found great value in this trick. Turns out there seem to be many folks who continue to look for a portable solution for Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).
Since Windows 7 Home Premium edition doesn’t support the Connection (Host) manager I was out of luck with running it from laptop to control the desktop. Sure, I could use it on the supported Windows 7 Ultimate desktop to control the laptops (because the Home editions contain the “client” end and can support inbound requests for RDC control). But that didn’t help me.
(edit on 01-10-10. OK I must have been drinking too much green tea when I wrote the above. I could in fact use RDC on my “out-of-the-box” Win7 Home Premium systems to control the Windows 7 Ultimate desktop. The “client” side is included in all versions of Win7 as seen in the chart below. What I was unable to do (and still couldn’t do until applying the “patch” to the Win7 Home Premium systems) was RDC into any of my three Windows 7 Home Premium systems. Period. I didn’t catch that error as I was only RDC’ing from my Win7 HP system into my Win7 Ultimate to begin with, which did support the RDC Host natively. It wasn’t the trick I did in this post that made that possible….it was the fact I was connecting into a Win7 Ultimate OS version. Doh! My bad. I think we are all cleared up now.)
See the chart below I found.
creator unknown original image here. Comment please and I will give credit
What to do?
Maybe it was time to take a second look at those posts and see if I could get a Windows 7 RDC Host session ported over onto the Home Premium edition?
Worth a try.
As Julie found before, there seemed to be four key files that needed to be copied over from a build of Windows 7 that supports the full Windows Remote Desktop.
- mstsc.exe.mui, and
Hopefully nothing had changed.
Before I got started, however, I fired up both Process Explorer and Process Monitor, set the second to start a capture session, and then launched the Windows 7 Remote Desktop Connection application on my Win 7 Ultimate RC1 build. I figured this info might help me tease out if any new file dependencies were added since XP/Vista. Once I had established a remote connection to one of my laptops, I saved a Process Explorer open-file report for the mstsc.exe process. Then I disconnected and saved the Process Monitor data set.
Next I copied the mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll files where they had been quickly located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. However, like Julie before, I had greater difficulty finding the “MUI” files on Windows 7.
So I pulled out SearchMyFiles and ran a query on the entire system for them. I found them located in a number of places on the Windows 7 Ultimate RC1 (…x32 bit by the way…) build I am using:
note that the folder paths actually have no spaces in them, despite the way the table wrapping makes them look.
I copied one of each kind of file needed from the locations and dumped them into a fresh folder on my USB stick.
I then took that USB stick over and plugged it into my Windows 7 Home Premium laptop (...x64 bit version by the way…) and then launched the mstsc.exe file.
Houston, you’ve got a problem
…and was promptly greeted by the following.
Bummer! Maybe it couldn’t be pulled off under Win7 anymore. Or maybe the x32 to x64 platform transfer was fuzzing the ability of it to work.
A quick look at the error suggested that the mstsc.exe file was looking for the mstsc.exe.MUI file to be located in a specific location. It wanted the file to be located in a sub-folder under whatever the correct <LANG_NAME> folder it should be.
So I just made a folder in the same one that contained my mstsc.exe file. But what to name it? What language format should I use?
I ended up referring to the Process Explorer log I captured earlier, but if you want a trick, just look at the folder-path for the file listed in the table above.
Yep. I named my subfolder “en-US” and moved the single mstsc.exe.mui file I had copied into it instead.
Relaunched mstsc.exe and….
Houston, we have lift-off!
I connected just fine and have successfully made connections from my Windows 7 Home Premium x64 laptop, wirelessly, to all my systems including extended ones to the Windows 7 Ultimate RC1 x32 desktop system. I’ve also been able to use this folder set of the Windows 7 Remote Desktop Connection file version set on my XP Professional SP3 system to control other XP Pro systems in a pinch. I don’t see why it shouldn’t work for Windows Servers or other RDC supported systems/builds as well.
But Wait, Claus, One Problem!
…I don’t have access to a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate or any of the other versions that contain the “full” RDC file-set. But I do have Windows 7 Home Premium. Am I out in the cold?
Nah. But you’ve got some work to do to get it. Here are some options as I see them.
- Find a friend/co-worker/significant other who does have Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional/Enterprise and treat them to a free dinner or pizzas and beg them to let you snag the files off their system. (Just don’t make any compromises in your character that old Claus wouldn’t do either.) or
- Download a ISO file of any said versions of Windows 7. Risky but potentially useful. PenTestIT has list that might get you started. Windows 7 Direct ISO download links — PenTestIT
- Download the free 90-day trial VHD package of Windows 7 Enterprise directly from Microsoft. (Claus’s recommended trick if option #1 fails.)
Door #3 Examined.
OK, Ready? Let’s make this quick.
- Pop over and download the Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 90-Day Eval VHD. Yes, I know, it has all kinds of overwhelmingly threatening talk such as “…Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V is required to use this virtual machine. In addition to the system requirements for Windows Server 2008 as described in the release notes, a 64-bit system with hardware-assisted virtualization enabled and data execution prevention (DEP) is required. It is also recommended to ensure that you have a clean install of x64 edition of Windows Server 2008 to be able to use the Hyper-V technology.” Whatever. We just want the VHD file itself.
- Download the three parts, the primary exe file and the two other rar files.
- When they are all downloaded, run the exe file and it will unpack the collection in a location specified. Make note.
- The actual VHD is located in:
- <wherever you unpacked it>\Windows7Fullx86Ent90Days\Windows7Fullx86Ent90Days\Virtual Hard Disks
- It is named: Win7ENT90DAYS.VHD
- Mount (..actually “attach”) the VHD in Windows 7 (I’m assuming you are using Windows 7). There are TONS of ways/tools to do this. I’m assuming if you even need a “portable” version of the latest Windows Remote Desktop Connection tool, you are well versed in VHD mounting (attaching) techniques. However, if you don’t, here are two different methods (free) you might want to review: The Lazy Admin : Mount a VHD Within Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 or How to Mount VHD Files Without Virtual PC | Gil’s Method.
- With the VHD mounted (attached), just follow the steps at the top of this post to get the files you need. On this particular Windows 7 Enterprise edition, they would be located in the following spots:
- Copy one file of each of the above into a folder, make your en-US folder in that folder and move the mstsc.exe.mui file into it.
- Unmount (actually “detach”) your VHD file and be on your merry way.
- Delete the entire 90-day trial folder/contents if you are tight on space, otherwise you might want to keep the VHD handy in case you need to go on any future raiding parties.
Using Windows 7 RDC
Again, if you’ve stuck with me this far, I’m assuming you know what to do with RDC now; both how to enable and configure access at the “client” end you want to remote attach to, as well as the “host” RDC application as well.
First read up on all things Remote Desktop Services in that Wikipedia article.
Now move onto these guides.
- Windows 7: RDP changes improve remote desktop performance – NeoWin.net..
- Windows 7 Remote Tools: Remote Desktop Connection - Windows 7 News.
- Secure remote backup using remote desktop. – Network Steve blog
- Copying Files with Remote Desktop - Jake Ludington's Digital Lifestyle
- Copy and paste files across Remote Desktop - Windows Live.
In most cases, you don’t want the ability to remotely turn-off/power-down the remote system as you then wouldn’t be able to re-connect to it. That’s why Microsoft removes the shut-down option from the remote system’s start-menu when you are connected to it.
I know this is getting to be a long post but that first post above by NeoWin sports info on some neat changes in the Windows 7 release of RDC. It’s laden with screenshots but these features might be enough to try adopting it on your XP Pro systems at work as well (if allowed), rather than the XP Pro version:
Below are the features introduced in Windows 7 Remote Desktop Client
- Windows 7 Aero support
- Direct 2D & Direct 3D 10.1 application support
- True multi-monitor support
- RDP Core Performance Improvements
- Multimedia enhancements
- Media Foundation support
- DirectShow support
- Low Latency audio playback support
- Bi-directional audio support
So how do you initiate a remote shutdown, if, say, you are in bed with your laptop and don’t want to pad across the cold floor to the room where your “server” is? Easy enough.
- Ways to shutdown/restart your computer via Remote Desktop. – Wes’s Puzzling Blog.
- Reboot from remote desktop – Calvin Hsia’s WebLog.
- Reboot or Shutdown from Remote Desktop Connection – Lance Hoff blog.
- Is there a way to shutdown my headless Windows XP Pro machine remotely? – Ask Leo.
- "Logoff" and "Shutdown" Are Missing from the Start Menu When You Use Remote Desktop - Microsoft.
- PsShutdown – Sysinternal’s tool.
- Process Explorer and Process Explorer: Command line options for P.E. – Sysinternals. This is my method as I always install Process Explorer on all my systems, set it to be the default Task Manager replacement, and the configure it to launch as a scheduled task after startup with the /t argument parameter. This not only launches it, but minimized to the system tray. Then I just have to access it in my RDC connection and choose the “shutdown” option. Done.
Alternative Remote Control Tools
Maybe Windows Remote Desktop Connection (Host) isn’t your thing.
Lucky for you there are a lot more freeware apps to pick from. However in my mind, this particular scenario that I found need for just seemed to make RDC a perfect fit whereas many of these listed below just didn’t quite offer the ease or flexibility I needed in an Microsoft/Windows network integrated manner.
Anyway, here’s a list of lists. Your mileage may vary. Listed in a particular order (to me).
- ShowMyPC – Still simply the easiest way to remote connect to a remote desktop to perform ad-hock connections and desktop control support. Particularly for non-techie (re: family/friends) end-points.
- TeamViewer Portable – Lots of reasons I’m thinking of moving to this application from ShowMyPC. That will have to wait for a later post. Offered by PortableApps.com so its perfectly portable software for your USB drive.
- LogMeIn - Virtual Networking with LogMeIn Hamachi² along with Free Remote Access from LogMeIn and see also REMOTE DESKTOP WITH HAMACHI ** PLEASE READ ** link.
- Mikogo – provide free online meeting and desktop sharing that could be used for remote PC control support in a pinch. Love the giraffe logo.
- Comodo Easy VPN and the related page Secure Remote Access
- Zolved Free Remote Control – not tried it yet personally but seems to get high marks in the blog-o-sphere for family friendly remote control connection building.
- Shrew Soft Inc : Software. Yes it’s really a VPN specific solution, but it looks really, really cool.
- Chris’ Realm’s “Chris Control” – Looks like Chris has some older (circa ‘07) WinPE 1.0 plugins for remote control building. Not played with them yet but wanted to reference anyway.
- Remote Control :: IntelliAdmin - Remote Administration For Windows -- ($) – I amost didn’t list this one, but it is a good administrative level RC tool. IntelliAdmin also provides some great freeware sysadmin utilities so check it out. See also News and Tips :: Remote Control 4.3 Released
Finally all recent Windows builds come with something most folks don’t know called “Remote Assistance” or “Easy Connect”. It’s also pretty cool, free, and installed on all XP/Vista/Windows7 builds.
- Windows 7: Easy Connect overview – NeoWin.net
- Windows 7 Tips – Easy Connect – by Ankit Srivastava at iYogi (…iKnow, but it’s a good post).
- Remote Assistance in Windows 7: Lending a helping Hand is even easier - Windows Live.
- Step-by-Step Guide to Remote Assistance – Microsoft TechNet.
- File transfer over network - Windows 7 Forums and this Homegroup problem to share files on another partition – Microsoft forum post.
More? I’m tired!
OK. Last link: Comparison of remote desktop software - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia