Connect and login to a remote machine using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) also known as Terminal Server Connection (TSC).

      MSTSC [connection_file] [/v:server[:port]] [/g:gateway] [/admin] [/f[ullscreen]]
         [/w:width /h:height] [/public] | [/span] [/multimon] [/edit "connection file"]
            [/restrictedAdmin] [/remoteGuard] [/prompt] [/shadow:sessionID [/control] [/noConsentPrompt]]

   "connection_file"  The name of an .RDP file to use for the connection.

   /v:server[:port]   The remote PC to which you want to connect.

   /g:gateway         The RD Gateway server to use for the connection.
                      This parameter is only read if the endpoint remote PC is specified with /v.

   /admin     Connect you to the session for administering a remote PC.

   /f         Start Remote Desktop in full-screen mode.

   /w:width   Width of the RDP screen

   /h:height  Height of the RDP screen

   /public    Run Remote Desktop in public mode. In public mode, passwords and bitmaps are not cached.

   /span      Match the remote desktop width and height with the local virtual desktop, spanning across multiple
              monitors, if necessary. To span across monitors, the monitors must be arranged to form a rectangle.

   /multimon  Configure the Remote Desktop Services session monitor layout to be identical to the current
              client-side configuration.

   /edit      Open the specified .RDP connection file for editing.

   /restrictedAdmin Connect you to the remote PC in Restricted Administration mode.
                    In this mode, credentials won’t be sent to the remote PC, which can protect you if you connect
                    to a PC that has been compromised. However, connections made from the remote PC might not be
                    authenticated by other PCs, which might impact application functionality and compatibility.
                    This parameter implies /admin.

   /remoteGuard     Connect your device to a remote device using Remote Guard.
                    Remote Guard prevents credentials from being sent to the remote PC, which can help protect your
                    credentials if you connect to a remote PC that has been compromised.
                    Unlike Restricted Administration mode, Remote Guard also supports connections made from the remote
                    PC by redirecting all requests back to your device.

   /prompt          Prompt for your credentials when you connect to the remote PC.

   /shadow:sessionID  The ID of the session to shadow.

   /control           Allow control of the session when shadowing.

   /noConsentPrompt   Allow shadowing without user consent.

To connect to a remote computer the user account must be a member of the local group 'Remote Desktop users' on the remote server (either directly or inherited via a global group) in addition the user account needs the privilege SeRemoteInteractiveLogonRight (allow logon through RDP/Terminal Services.)

The command CMDKEY can be used to setup/save the password credentials used by Remote Desktop.

Shortcut Keys

Shortcut keys that can be used when connected to a Remote Desktop:

Windows Shortcut Remote Desktop Description
Ctrl+ALT+Del Ctrl+ALT+END Bring up the Windows Security dialog box - this allows changing your password.
Alternatively run C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f2-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}
ALT+TAB ALT+Page Up Switch between programs from left to right.
ALT+Shift+TAB ALT+Page Down Switch between programs from right to left.
ALT+INSERT Switch between programs in the order they were started.
Ctrl+Esc ALT+HOME Display the Start menu.
n/a Ctrl+ALT+BREAK Switch the client between full-screen mode and window mode.
ALT+Space Bar ALT+Delete Displays the remote window's Control menu
ALT+Print Screen Ctrl+ALT+NumPad MINUS Place an image of active window onto the Terminal Services clipboard.
Print Screen Ctrl+ALT+NumPad PLUS Place an image of the entire TS client on the Terminal Services clipboard.
This is almost the same as pressing ALT+Print Screen to capute the window locally but removes the Windows chrome and so shows more of the remote window.

If the RDP shortcut keys don’t work - this is dependent on your RDP options/settings.
The window may need to be full screen to accept shortcut keys.

RDP Shortcut Keys

All the RDP connection settings can be saved to a .rdp file, which you can then run from a shortcut:

Save RDP settings

The default settings are saved in default.rdp, you can also edit the .rdp file, the settings while scarcely documented all in plain text.


MSTSC /v:MyServer /f /admin
MSTSC /v: /w:1024 /h:768
MSTSC /v:MyServer /w:800 /h:600
MSTSC /edit filename.rdp

Error: "Your credentials did not work"

This error can have several causes:

If using a domain account, prefix with the domain name: SS64dom\user64
If the account is a non-administrator, you may need to grant logon rights as described above.
If the password contains any special characters: $,/,\, Tabs etc then copy and paste of the password to an RDP session may not work.
Specific problems: copy/paste will convert TABs into spaces and double $$'s are removed (e.g. Pa$$word1)

“Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong” - Thomas Jefferson

Related commands

Q216783 - Keep-Alive Disconnected TS Connections
Q2726399 - Cannot change the DPI setting through an RDP session.
MAPISEND - Send email from the command line.
RMTSHARE - Share a folder or printer.
SHORTCUT - Create a windows shortcut.
SHADOW - Monitor/View another users running RDP session.
SHUTDOWN - Shutdown the computer/Log off a user.
TSDISCON - Disconnect a Remote Desktop Session.
VMConnect - Connect to a Hyper-V Virtual Machine.
Microsoft Quick Assist - Based on the Remote Desktop Protocol, Quick Assist allows for remote viewing and control of another device.
Remote Desktop Services Shortcut Keys - Microsoft.
Equivalent bash command (Linux): VNCconnect or screen

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