TechSpot: Enable Concurrent Desktop Sessions in Windows

Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows come with a built in Remote Desktop (RDP) feature that allows you to access your machine remotely while away from home or the office. Unfortunately, it is limited by default to one concurrent user per session, this is not a technical limitation but rather a licensing one.

Case in point, Remote Desktop in server editions of Windows by default supports two concurrent connections to remotely troubleshoot or administer a computer. However, there are a few reasons why concurrent sessions would come in handy for power users not necessarily running a server. For example, if you have a dedicated Media Center PC running in the living room, you'll be able to remotely access all files on the machine without interrupting the person watching TV.

Or if you are sharing a computer with other users, concurrent Remote Desktop sessions will allow more than one person use that system under a different or even the same user account, without kicking each other off. By patching a file called termsrv.dll, located in %SystemRoot%\System32\, this is possible in all editions of Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Read: Tech Tip: Enable Concurrent Desktop Sessions in Windows

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This can cause issues with certain software.
For instance on my HP EliteBook the HP Power Management software. When two accounts are simultaneously logged in, it freaks out and pegs a CPU core at 100%. On my desktop with an ASUS motherboard and ASUS AI Suite, it also starts acting funny.

mrp04 said,
This can cause issues with certain software.
For instance on my HP EliteBook the HP Power Management software. When two accounts are simultaneously logged in, it freaks out and pegs a CPU core at 100%. On my desktop with an ASUS motherboard and ASUS AI Suite, it also starts acting funny.

Stop using the HP Power Managment software, it is providing NO functionality that is not already built into Windows 7.

As for it causing hardware problems with your ASUS Mainboard, etc... Do you realize that Windows has been doing this since 2000? The desktop and server versions of Windows are the same, and there are many ASUS mainboard servers out there with 10-20-even 50 users logged into one machine remotely.

Just to futher explain this out... If you right now at your desktop do 'Switch User' and log in with another user, do you not realize the other account is 'still' running, and its Applications are still running, and IS NO DIFFERENT than remoting into a computer with someone sitting at it.

Understand yet why your assertions that this causes problems may be a bit flawed?

IF the ASUS software has problems with concurrent users, don't use it or only run it on your main account. I have never seen an issue with the software, but if you are overclocking with it, you might want to just do the overclockng by hand in the BIOS.

So, If you think this makes Windows Erratic, then you have found a bug that Millions of servers using Terminal Services hasn't been noticed by the worlds leading IT people in 12 years.

This is like screaming my neighbor has bigfoot in his basement crazy when you are dealing with IT people that have been usign Terminal Services technology since NT 4.0, and also worked with concurrent user features that have been built into the core of Windows NT since 1992.

thenetavenger said,
Just to futher explain this out... If you right now at your desktop do 'Switch User' and log in with another user, do you not realize the other account is 'still' running, and its Applications are still running, and IS NO DIFFERENT than remoting into a computer with someone sitting at it.

Understand yet why your assertions that this causes problems may be a bit flawed?

Reeelllaaaaxxxx.....you're going to mess yourself. Geesh. The guy was just making a point that there are programs that act funky and for all you know the problem's he describing about programs pegging the CPU at 100% may have been experienced using the "Switch User" functionality. He said "When two accounts are simultaneously logged in" which to me sounds like "Switch Users" or multiple TS users.

I can agree with what you're both saying. I too have experienced funky behaviors when using poorly written programs on terminal / Citrix servers that I work with every day. I suppose it's more likely to be seen on desktop programs since the developers never envisioned multiple concurrent users. Point is that you may have some quirky behaviors to work out but it's no big deal.

thenetavenger said,

BLA BLA BLA

DUDE! Calm the **** down!
I didn't say there was a problem with the ASUS motherboard, but with the ASUS A.I. Suite software the motherboard comes with that lets you monitor the hardware and control the fans.

Do you realize YOUR argument is flawed? I'm the one that used these computers first hand and experienced these problems. This is NOT the same thing as switch users. Those programs could be poorly coded and use user switching events to go to sleep. For instance they could see that a session is no longer active and stop operating until the session is once again active. This would not have any problems on Windows 7 since the license doesn't allow more than one active session.

I'm not saying this is a problem with Windows. When did I EVER say that? I did NOT. I said there is a problem with some software, and gave TWO examples. Both these pieces of software have related functions. They're just not designed for two simultaneous ACTIVE sessions. You never run ASUS A.I. suite or HP Power Manager on a terminal server, do you? No, you do not.

Why don't I disable them for other user accounts? I would, but I didn't feel like taking the time to find out all of the processes I need to disable. That would probably work. The other problem is I like to log in with my own user account in the remote session along with the present session. I can't set the programs to only start if it is a console session, and if I can, I don't know how and didn't take the time to figure it out.

Ive only used to allow more than the 2 default connections, so I dont know if it allows you to actually remote desktop the pc whilst sustaining the original desktop...

I have a couple of PCs, the main one I'm using now runs Windows 7 Ultimate, and downstairs
a PC running Windows XP Media Centre Edition ... so I expected there to be no problems.

<=> I ran the patch as Administrator on the WXP MCE machine, and rebooted as prompted.
<=> After waiting for reboot cycle to be completed I logged on to that machine as normal.
<=> Came upstairs to this W7Ult machine, and RDC'd into the WXP MCE machine.
<=> Went back downstairs to find it had dropped back to the WXP logon screen.
<=> Logged back on to the WXP MCE PC and returned upstairs to this PC.
<=> W7Ult says "Remote Desktop session has ended." . . .

So basically ... the patch doesn't work.

DJGM said,
I have a couple of PCs, the main one I'm using now runs Windows 7 Ultimate, and downstairs
a PC running Windows XP Media Centre Edition ... so I expected there to be no problems.

<=> I ran the patch as Administrator on the WXP MCE machine, and rebooted as prompted.
<=> After waiting for reboot cycle to be completed I logged on to that machine as normal.
<=> Came upstairs to this W7Ult machine, and RDC'd into the WXP MCE machine.
<=> Went back downstairs to find it had dropped back to the WXP logon screen.
<=> Logged back on to the WXP MCE PC and returned upstairs to this PC.
<=> W7Ult says "Remote Desktop session has ended." . . .

So basically ... the patch doesn't work.

You have to use a different user account even if you patch it for concurrent connections or else you are always going to be logged out on the other machine.

xpclient said,

You have to use a different user account even if you patch it for concurrent connections or else you are always going to be logged out on the other machine.

You can enable a setting in group policy (and registry I guess) where it will allow two concurrent sessions from the same user.

This is a very old hack.. been doing this for a few years now... very useful!

Sure we'll get some one piping up how it breaks your license T&C's or something!

DrScouse said,
This is a very old hack.. been doing this for a few years now... very useful!

Sure we'll get some one piping up how it breaks your license T&C's or something!

I'm surprised you have never had problems when service packs or updates come out? I've never done this myself always thinking I'd be fighting it every time I had to do a major round of updates.