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Complete guide to RDS management and RDSH

RDS is the backbone of Windows desktop virtualization from Microsoft. Learn about features -- such as RemoteFX -- problems and more.


With Windows Server 2008 R2, RDS replaced Terminal Services as Microsoft's thin-client technology, enabling users to access desktops virtually.

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is built into Windows operating systems and allows data to exist in a central location, simplifying management for systems administrators. It consists of six main components, including the Remote Desktop Connection Broker, Remote Desktop Gateway and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH). RDSH allows a server to host session-based desktops or RemoteApp programs.

We have all of your RDSH and RDS management questions answered with this comprehensive guide covering features and upgrades, RemoteFX, issues, including printer redirection problems and auto reboot concerns, and more.

1Features and how-tos-

Upgrades for RDS and RDSH

RDS is a valuable technology on its own, but you should know how to use the features within it so you can maximize its potential. Online data deduplication, seamless Windows enhancements and RemoteFX are just a few of the aspects that make RDS worthwhile. Perhaps most important, however, is shadowing, which gives admins the ability to control a remote desktop from anywhere. First and foremost, make sure RDS is the right fit for your company's desktop virtualization objectives.


Five steps to preserve RDS functions during an upgrade

RDS is important for technicians who need to administer and troubleshoot remote systems that are located too far away to physically service. It is key to ensure RDS continues to function when you upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2. Continue Reading


RDSH vs. VDI comes down to use case

In the debate over RDSH and VDI you have to ask who, what and why: Which users and what software will you support and why do you want to do it virtually? If you have complex needs, such as running multiple apps per session, or need advanced performance, choose VDI. If you have a simpler model, then RDSH is for you. Continue Reading


RDS upgrades on Windows Server 2012 found in the back end

Windows Server 2008 R2 users should feel comfortable stepping into RDS on Windows Server 2012 because it features the same deployment processes, components and basic roles. The upgrades come on the back end in the form of simpler desktop collection creation and the preservation of pooled desktop states. Continue Reading


Shadowing returns in Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS

Windows Server 2012 R2 improves upon RDS management in the original server release with upgrades to online data deduplication, seamless Windows enhancements and RemoteFX. But the crown jewel is the return of shadowing. Absent from the original Windows Server 2012 release, shadowing allows admins to remotely control an RDS session for help desk purposes or any other need. Continue Reading


RemoteFX rises to prominence in Windows Server 2012

In Windows Server 2008, RemoteFX was a niche option that could run on top of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), but needed a separate GPU to handle encoding for VDI. With Windows Server 2012, RemoteFX has essentially replaced RDP by running its own coding for VDI. Server 2012 also simplifies the built-in VDI offering. Continue Reading


What does RemoteFX add?

RemoteFX has gone through some serious evolution. When it was a part of Windows Server 2008, it was a side product that ran as an option on top of RDP. When Windows Server 2012 hit the market, all that changed. RemoteFX can now run its own coding for VDI, essentially replacing RDP in some cases. Now that it's so prominent, it's important to know what else this feature can do.


Windows 7 with RemoteFX comes with fine print

RemoteFX enhancements for RDP promise to deliver the perfect Windows 7 environment when running on VDI, but it comes with some very specific caveats. For example, it only works if you are connecting to a Windows 7 Service Pack 1 remote virtual desktop. In addition, that desktop has to be running on Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1. Continue Reading


Top three upgrades for RemoteFX in Windows Server 2012

There were lots of updates in Windows Server 2012 and some RDS and RemoteFX news might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Some of the highlights for administrators include a multi-touch feature, RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics and RemoteFX for WAN. Continue Reading


Solve RemoteFX configuration challenges

RemoteFX is a dynamic technology that comes with some configuration challenges. In Windows Server 2012, the challenge includes meeting new hardware requirements, including adding a DirectX 11-capable video card for Microsoft RemoteFX's vGPU to function. In terms of settings, you will have to turn off network detection on the server, turn off UDP on the server and more. Continue Reading


RemoteFX helps complete Microsoft VDI suite

Microsoft has put together the parts necessary for a complete VDI suite and RemoteFX is an important piece of the puzzle because it provides a way to deliver an HD experience without third-party display protocols or connection brokers. It can also help facilitate the creation of virtual desktop templates from a single golden image from a disk. Continue Reading

3For View shops-

RDS management and VMware View

For a long time, VMware View users have been hamstrung by multi-protocols and the need for third-party intervention when it comes to RDSH and RDS management. But VMware is using its PCoIP technology to improve its RDS support.


RDSH PCoIP offering can bypass Cirtix XenApp

Teradici's RDSH PCoIP offering provides a protocol that can be used across the Windows RDS and VMware View desktop pools. For the first time, View shops can now bypass Citrix XenApp and use PCoIP for both VDI and Microsoft RDS. Horizon 6 is the first step in this long-awaited process. Continue Reading


Arch gives View customers options

With Arch, a session-hosted remote desktop offering, Teradici has taken advantage of PCoIP technology so any VMware View-compatible or Teradici thin client can access sessions delivered via PCoIP. This has freed View customers from the hassle of having to use a different platform for protocol or non-VDI remote desktops. Continue Reading


View Persona does not support RDSH

IT needs profile management software to deliver personalized settings to users. View Persona Management is supposed to fit that bill, but it does not support the RDSH application publishing feature in Horizon 6. As a result, many companies will be forced to continue using third-party profile management. Continue Reading


VMware poised to end multi-protocols

For years, using VMware View meant supporting two protocols, which hurts WAN optimization and security, among creating other problems. The company finally has the foundation in place to turn its PCoIP protocol into an RDSH-based offering, eliminating the need for multiple protocols and simplifying support. Continue Reading


Horizon 6 bulks up support for RDSH

VMware has supported RDSH desktops since the first release of View. Unfortunately, that support has never been great. The goal is to change that with Horizon 6 by adding app publishing and giving shops more options for supporting task workers. Continue Reading


VMware enters the app publishing game

With Horizon 6 RDSH, VMware is trying to catch up to Citrix XenApp in allowing users to remotely access applications running and receiving updates in the data center. But VMware has not provided a way to manage the software installation on the RDSH hosts. Continue Reading


Nobody's perfect: RDS issues

RDS and RDSH are far from perfect. From printer redirection problems to the possibility of losing data during unwanted reboots, there are challenges to overcome. But if your environment is set up right, RDS might just be the simpler VDI alternative that you are looking for. Take a look at some common problems to keep an eye out for.


Auto-reboot for Server 2012 causes concern

Windows Server 2012 comes with an alarming feature: sudden, unplanned reboots. This means any organization running RDS could experience serious downtime or lost work when using Server 2012. There is no way to turn these reboots off, but there is a temporary fix. You can turn off Windows Update Service. This will also prevent automatic updating, however. Continue Reading


Top five RDS printer redirection problems

Printers are supposed to print. If they don't print, that's a problem. With Microsoft RDS, printer redirection problems are one of the most common issues for the end user. Common glitches include incorrectly configured printer redirection, a missing print driver and lack of printing permission. Continue Reading


Is VDI really necessary? Consider RDSH

Many users today really only need apps to get their work done. As a result, full-fledged VDI might be a little more than your organization actually needs. Instead, you can turn to RDSH to deliver desktops to your employees. One complication: RDSH is tougher to manage, particularly when it comes to configuration. Continue Reading


Key terms

A little bit lost in some of the jargon surrounding RDS and RDSH? Don't be. Use this quick glossary of key terms to clear up any confusion.


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