BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

This content is part of the Essential Guide: Troubleshooting tips for VDI deployments
Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

How to fix 5 common remote desktop connection problems

When the connection between a desktop and its host fails, it's time to do some remote desktop troubleshooting. Check firewalls, security certificates and more if a remote desktop is not working.

Remote desktop connectivity is usually reliable, but things can -- and sometimes do -- go wrong.

There are five common remote desktop connection problems that come up: network failure, firewall problems, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate issues, authentication troubles and capacity limitations. You can prevent and solve these problems easily with a few pointers on remote desktop troubleshooting.

Network failure

A lack of a valid communications path can prevent a client from being able to connect to a remote desktop session. The easiest way to diagnose this particular problem is through the process of elimination.

First, try to establish a session from a client that could successfully connect in the past. The goal is to find out if the problem is specific to an individual client or to the network.

If you do suspect that the network might be to blame, then try to narrow down the scope of the issue to find the root cause. In doing so, you might discover that the problem affects wireless connections but not wired connections. Likewise, you may discover that the problem is unique to VPN traffic or to a particular subnet.

Firewall problems

It's easy to dismiss the notion that a firewall could contribute to a remote desktop not working, but it's actually quite common. To avoid problems with the firewall, ensure that the port your remote desktop software uses is open on any firewalls residing between the client computers and the server they connect to. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)-based tools use port 3389 by default.

You can prevent and solve these problems easily with a few pointers on remote desktop troubleshooting.

You may need to configure multiple firewalls. For example, the client and the server may both run Windows Firewall, and there will probably be one or more hardware firewalls between the two systems.

Some public networks block RDP traffic. This is especially true of the Wi-Fi networks found on cruise ships, but some hotels, airports and coffee shops have Wi-Fi networks that block RDP traffic.

SSL certificate issues

Security certificates can also cause remote desktop connection problems. Many VDI products use SSL encryption for users who access VDI sessions outside the network perimeter. But SSL encryption requires the use of certificates, which creates two problems that can cause a remote desktop to not work.

First, if the remote desktops are going to connect properly, client computers must trust the certificate authority that issued the certificate. This isn't usually a problem for organizations that purchase certificates from large, well-known authorities, but clients won't always trust certificates that an organization generates in-house. Use a reliable certificate authority to ensure that clients establish remote desktop connectivity.

The client must also be able to verify the certificate that the server is using. The verification process can break down if the certificate has expired or if the name on the certificate doesn't match the name of the server that's using it. So, make sure your certificates are up to date.

DNS problems

Many common remote desktop connectivity problems can be traced to domain name system (DNS) issues. If an admin changed a host's IP address, then clients might not be able to connect to the host until the client's DNS resolver cache expires. Enter the following command on the client computer to clear the cache and force DNS names to be freshly resolved:

IPConfig /FlushDNS

Clients may also have trouble connecting to a host if they are using an external DNS server that is unable to resolve hosts on the organization's private network. The solution to this problem is to modify the client's IP address settings to use one of the organization's DNS servers rather than an external DNS.

Capacity exceeded

Finally, you could experience remote desktop connectivity issues if you exceed the infrastructure's capacity. One thing that might cause remote desktops to not be working properly is if you've run out of virtual desktops or VDI licenses. Some VDI implementations also refuse client connections if the server is too busy or if launching another virtual desktop session would weaken the performance of existing sessions.

You can prevent most of these connection problems with just a little preplanning, and good remote desktop troubleshooting skills help when other issues come up. Make sure your SSL certificates are updated, configure firewalls correctly and keep an eye on your VDI capacity.

Next Steps

Evaluating remote desktop connection brokers

Remote Desktop Connection tool resolves Vista and XP snafu

The basics of Remote Desktop Services: The connection broker

Enterprises of all sizes experiencing challenges in remote working

Join the conversation

14 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

What other problems have you noticed cause remote desktop connections to break? Do you have any remote desktop troubleshooting tips?
Cancel
If a person is facing problem to take remote telling "no log on server to login" then how to resolve this problem. please share the tips and knowledge to solve the above problem.
Cancel
To resolve this problem:

  • Allow WINS dynamic registration.

    This ensures that Domain Controllers register their DOMAIN<1C> NetBIOS names with the WINS Server.
  • Make certain that WINS database replication is successful between WINS Servers. Missing database entries for domain names may indicate Problems with the WINS Servers and replication.
To work around this problem:

NOTE: Microsoft does not recommend using static mappings in the WINS database for WINS enabled computers.

  1. Run the WINS Administration Utility to add static mappings for the Domain<1C> registrations (of the trusted domain) that are not listed in the WINS database:

    Name: Master DOMAIN Name
    IP Address: Address of the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) of the
    domain
    Type: Domain Name

If you are logged on as an administrator at a Domain Controller, remote administration works now successfully. If you are attempting to remotely administer the domain while logged on to a Server (not a domain controller) or Windows NT Workstation, you must add DOMAIN<1C> entries for both the trusted and trusting domains.
Cancel
Could use a lot more detail than this article provides.
Cancel

my computer says "the referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to".  why does this happen


Cancel
Change your password and try! Go to credential manager and delete the generic credentials, you will be good to go!
Cancel
I've verified that none of the five problems you've brought up are an issue.  The closest one was about a week ago I started getting Certificate Not Verified notices.  But I was able to log on anyhow until last Friday, when it just shut me out.  My boss can get in so it's not 2 or 3 on the Remote Desktop Connection dialog.  So it's something on my client.  I took the registry back to the default and erased the rdp's.  But it's still locking me out.
Cancel
When I access the remote desktop from my windows 10 surface book, the desktop is so tiny I can hardly read it.  I tried changing the resolution, and that helps a little.  Are there any other solutions?
Cancel
I have laptop installed Remote desktop at home. It works fine over there but when I connect from my office to home it doesn't work from there (Just installed VPN and its working). How do I connect without VPN to my house?
Cancel
I RDP into my computer at work from home. It connects fine. I do whatever I need to do at home. I disconnect from RDP. Next day I go into the office. My Windows 7 machine is stuck (no W7 login box). Only thing I can do is cold reboot. It happens 10 out of 10 times. Help please.
Cancel
In windows server 2008r2, our company using static IP and created users for rdp, since they are working from last  two years ,  now the server is facing some problem with rdp connecting from client to server, if i connect via rdp server is freezing and client computer showing blank screen, please suggest me for resolving this problem.

Cancel
This is the showing on screen please solve the issue: An authentication error has occurred the function request is not supported. This could be due to CredSSP.
Cancel
so im using monect pc remote but its not allowing me to connect not even letting me choose it from devices and when i try to scan qr code it doesnt do anything nothing at all and i cant try to connect using ip address. i see all of these videos but im not getting any of the options that they say try. the app doesnt even present itself in the same way the website shows
Cancel
one of my user can login, but the remote desktop window suddenly disappears
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchCloudComputing

SearchVMware

Close