Remote Desktop Not Connecting 2021

Blog Date 7 July 2021


For years and years and years and years and years and years and years and years and years and years I've been connected to a variety of servers and PCs via Remote Desktop. Once you've sussed it out it's a simple and effective way of controlling someone else's machine. I've set it up on Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 and 8 and 10. I've set it up to connect Mac and Linux machines to remote into Windows machines. I'm kinda used to setting it up, I know how it works, know what I mean.

Then last week (end of May 2021) I found I could no longer remote into a Server 2012 machine. 

I had to go visit the customer's place. Is the server's firewall in the way? Turn off the firewall, no connection. Has the port been changed? Checked that, still the same. Is it the router? I'm on the local network so it's not that. Has the RDP been turned off? Nope. Service on the server stopped? Nope. 

I spend an age googling answers. Is the remote desktop client on the PC dead? Nope, I can remote onto other Windows 10 PCs. I can remote out from the server too. I plough through various settings and registry hacks and updates etc, all to no avail.

Back home I install a remote desktop client into my Raspberry Pi. No, really. I'm 99% sure the problem is not the server but the client RDC. I suspect there's been a Windows 10 update that's killed the ability of new Remote Desktop to connect to the "old" RDP service on the 2012 server. Sure enough Remmina RDP client on an ancient Raspberry Pi *CAN* connect to the server. Admittedly the screen is tiny and operation is painful but it proves my point. 

Microsoft (or something) has killed the connection betwixt the latest Windows 10 and older Windows machines. Grrrrr.

The fix? 
On the local machine, the client, the machine you are trying to remote "out" from...
Remote Desktop Configuration
Errrr...turn on the service. For good measure set it to start Automatically.

For reasons far beyond my pay grade it's been turned off on my PC and the various other Windows 10 PCs I've tried. Maybe the latest version doesn't need this service any more to connect to modern machines? Maybe it was just a hiccup. God (and Microsoft) only knows.

Gotta IT problem? I probably don't know how to fix it but I can usually work it out... ren@techsolus.co.uk

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