The terminal server has exceeded the maximum number of allowed connections – in other words, the keys are locked in the safe!

February 15, 2010

Ever had this problem trying to remote desktop (RDP) to a Windows Server 2003? I got very frustrated by this today. All the Administrator group sessions had been used up, the selfish remoters had gone home and left themselves logged in, so I wasn’t able to admin the server. Arrrrggg!

Yes, all I needed to do was to be able to get to the Terminal Services Manager and forcably terminate their sessions, but I couldn’t get in – the keys were effectively locked in the safe. The server I was trying to admin had a limit of 2 admin RDP sessions – the default limit for Server 2003 I think.

It turns out there is a simple answer to get around this (aren’t they all simple when you know them). The number of sessions on the server is calculated on the RDP client admin sessions, but console connections aren’t included. So the work around is;

Run a cmd session on your client machine and start a console based terminal service to the machine you want to connect to.

mstsc /v:xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx /f -console

where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IP or resolvable server name

You can then use Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Terminal Services Manager to disconnect the selfish remoters and connect with the RDP client as normal.

Don’t forget to logoff yourself when you’ve finished though.

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