Remote Desktop Access - Windows Home Server


Ok, as I've mentioned previously, Windows Home Server allows Remote Access to the PC's on your home LAN, that support being a Remote Desktop Host.  You can also access the Server after you log into the web interface and go to the Computers tab, but...... you only get the Windows Home Server Console, not the full Home Server Desktop.  There are two work-arounds for this.

1) If you're behind a hardware router, forward TCP/IP Port 3389 to the Windows Home Server machine's LAN IP Address.  This way you can use the Remote Desktop client to access your Windows Home Server's desktop directly. 

2) On the Windows Home Server (either from the console or via Remote Desktop), open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Inetpub\Remote and locate the rdpload.aspx file.  Open this file in Notepad.  Locate the following two lines:

MsRdpClient.SecuredSettings.StartProgram = "HomeServerConsole.exe -r";
MsRdpClient.SecuredSettings.WorkDir = "c:\\Program Files\\Windows Home Server";

These tell the browser based RDP session to use HomeServerConsole.exe as the "shell", with a command line parameter to tell it not to show the Minimize and Exit buttons.

Replace the two lines, above, with the following two lines:

MsRdpClient.SecuredSettings.StartProgram = "Explorer.exe";
MsRdpClient.SecuredSettings.WorkDir = "c:\\Windows";

Which tells the RDP session to use explorer.exe as the "Shell", which it normally is anyway. You can make other changes to the RDP settings, such as setting a timeout for idle sessions and others.  Be careful though, if you don't know what you're changing.

Now, when you access your Windows Home Server from outside your LAN using the web interface, when you select Connect to my home server, from the Computers tab, you'll see the standard Desktop inside your browser window.



  • Shawn Oster said:

    This to me is the most annoying/disturbing part of WHS:

    "...Windows Home Server allows Remote Access to the PC's on your home LAN, that support being a Remote Desktop Host..."

    What bothers me about this is that RDP is only available in Business or Ultimate, yet in most households Home Premium will rein supreme.  I know in mine I'm the only one with Ultimate, I've put everyone else on Home Premium.  Even the special "Family Pack" of Vista is only one copy of Ultimate.

    While I fully support the idea of WHS and think it's a much needed product I'm still greatly disappointed that a feature I previously was excited about is now pretty much worthless.  In a top 10 list of "Worst Vista Mistakes" I'd put removing RDP from Home Premium right up there.

    March 31, 2007 12:49 PM
  • dougknox said:

    I don't disagree, Shawn, but there has to be some method of differentiating the value, hence price, of the various SKU's. But for WHS, I believe the Remote Access feature is a "nice to have thing" that was added on to the backup appliance functionality.  They know that not everyone is running XP Pro or the Vista SKU's that support RDP as a host.

    March 31, 2007 1:27 PM
  • Cd-MaN said:

    For added security you should change the listening RDP port since RDP is not all that secure and changing the default port will chase away at least some script kiddies. Here is the documentation on how to do it:

    Also consider limiting access to the RDP port from the firewall to a limited set of IPs if the box is also your router - see my blog post for instructions - (it doesn't work if it's behind a NAT because it will see all the connections as coming from the router - in this case use the firewall settings in the router to limit access to the port)

    When you are connecting to a host which listens on a non-standard port, use the syntax <host>:<port> (for example

    April 19, 2007 1:39 AM
  • dougknox said:

    If you're referring to the Server, I personally would not even forward it in the router.  You have access to the Windows Home Server Console via the Remote Access page.  That is all the typical home user will need.  If you're referring to the RDP port on the client PC's, again, not necessary.  Simply don't foward it in your router.  The PC's are accessed via the Remote Access page.  This requires a username, and in build 1371, a complex password for access.  Then you would have to have a valid username and password for the LAN PC you're trying to access.

    April 19, 2007 9:39 AM
  • Jeffrey Flory said:

    Doug, even with the changes to the rdpload.aspx file I get the message that for security reasons I cannot log in as administrator and need to use a "user" logon. Well that just puts me back in the console instaed of the desktop. Please help.


    April 18, 2009 9:10 AM
  • Majki said:

    Hi Doug

    I have a question. How to use other web browser eg. Firefox or Opera?



    January 9, 2010 3:04 AM
  • Will Deasy said:

    The latest Windows Update for Home Server has just broken this, I've posted the info on my blog

    January 25, 2011 9:53 PM