Windows XP Multiuser Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop ConnectionAn interesting feature, on Windows XP, is the ability to be remote controlled from a second PC: the so called “Remote Desktop Connection” can be used from a dial-up connection or in a local ethernet network. Remote desktop mode will help you work on projects so you can focus on the fun of games online later in the day.

XP (and Media Center Edition), differently than the Server versions of Windows, has a limit: a single PC can be controlled by a single “local” user (the “real” person on place), OR a single “remote” user. If someone logs into the computer security from remote, the local user is disconnected. The following procedure deactivates this block and allows multiple persons to connect and to use a single computer from remote.
Very useful, for example, if you’ve a very strong PC and you want your wife/friend/brother to use an old computer like a “terminal” to use applications on the new one, at the same time of you. Other application of the same technique: you’re at work and you want to connect to your home PC, without blocking your wife that is using the same computer to check email ;)

UPDATE: it seems that XP is limited, also after this modification, to 3 concurrent users. So don’t waste time trying to raise the maximum number of connections over three (see step 5) because, at this time, I don’t think there’s a way to use the same XP PC with more than 3 persons at the same time (e.g. a local user and 2 remote users).

This procedure is an “hack”: do it at your own risk:

STEP 1
Start your Windows in Safe Mode (tap on F8 first of the Windows Loading Splash Screen);
click on “My Computer” with right mouse button and choose “Properties”;
go to “Remote” tab and uncheck “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” (if it’s already unchecked, just do nothing);
click OK.

STEP 2
Go to Start -> Control Panel;
open “Administrative Tools” and then “Services”;
double click “Terminal Services”, in the list;
choose “Disabled” for “Startup Type” option;
click OK.

STEP 3
Go to C:\windows\system32\dllcache;
rename the termsrv.dll file to termsrv.original or another name you like;
copy into the folder this unrestricted old version of termsrv.dll;
go to C:\windows\system32 (the upper folder of the current one);
do the same operation: rename termserv.dll also here, and put another copy of the file I linked above.

STEP 4
Click Start, then “Run…”, type “regedit” (without quotes) and press ENTER;
navigate in the Windows Registry Tree to reach this path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Licensing Core;
click with right mouse button on blank space in the right part of the registry window, choose “New” > DWORD, name the new key “EnableConcurrentSessions” (without quotes), then edit it and set its value to 1;
close the editor.

STEP 5
Click Start, then “Run…”, type “gpedit.msc” (without quotes) and press ENTER;
open Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Terminal Services;
double click “Limit number of connections”, choose “Enabled” and set the maximum number of concurrent connections you want to allow (2 or more), then Restart Windows in normal mode.

STEP 6
Go back to Remote tab of My Computer’s properties (see step 1) and activate “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”;
Go back to “Terminal services” in “Services” (see step 2) and set its “Startup type” to “Manual”

Now restart Windows. Your operating system should be ready to accept multiple remote desktop connections ;)
Remember that you’ve to prepare different Windows Users for every “phisical” user that want to connect to your desktop, to autenticate with separate logins/passwords. User accounts configuration is reachable in the control panel, and the list of users that can connect to the PC is editable in the remote tab of My computer.

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299 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Greatings,
    this is very useful to us.

    Thank you
    Tania

  2. Ali
    Posted January 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear friend,
    Many thanks in advanced for your all explaination and advising. I have the following problem which about 2 month I could’nt find any solution for that.
    1- I have done your instruction in a computer with Win XP-SP2 already
    2- Everything is OK
    3- When a client with any Windows connects to the server, its connection will disconnect after some times(1,2,3 or 4 hours) and after disconnecting its not possible to connect again untill we restart the server.

    Please advise me a solution.
    Thanks and regards,
    Ali

  3. MC (Athens, GA)
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Riccardo: This is a great blog, the best I’ve ever read. Thanks for getting the ball rolling.

    sweetsinse: Thanks for consolidating the latest information.

    For those who are having trouble following sweetsinse’s instructions on a domain, you may want to try limiting your directory name (i.e. termsrv) to 8 characters with no spaces, and your registry file (i.e. multiTS.reg) to 8.3 with no spaces. I originally called the directory “Terminal Services” and the regedit command was not running after a reboot. When I changed the directory name to “TermServ”, it worked.

  4. ana
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much

    I have found everything very helpfull

  5. Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Hi, guys! What about termsrv.dll version 5.1.2600.5733 (preSP4)?

  6. Eugene
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    anyone can answer me?

  7. Posted March 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    If nobody wants ;-) I answer the question:

    Windows XP SP3 with latest updates (Pre-SP4) no user limit
    termsrv.dll version 5.1.2600.5733
    E:\WINDOWS\system32>fc/b termsrv.bak termsrv.dll
    Comparing files termsrv.bak and TERMSRV.DLL
    00022D47: 74 75
    00022DC2: 7F 90
    00022DC3: 16 90

  8. Posted April 7, 2009 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    This situation with remote access for multiple concurrent users has troubled many people. So many, that they have decided to create a lot of thired party software. There are big, expansive, but very functional programs from Citrix, for example. But there are other programs, less complicated, but still very efficient, like ThinPoint.It all depends on how you are planing to use concurrent connection to your machine really.

  9. tonmi
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I need

  10. NetGeek
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    There are also software like ThinServer which is cheaper and easier to work with and can work on XP Professional as well as Windows Server 2003

  11. Ashish
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much

  12. Posted May 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  13. REggie
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Was wondering if anybody has run into a problem with Vista Business like mine. I downloaded and ran the batch file (below) and now I can’t RDP to my machine. In services.msc, I see the following error for the service TermService: . Also, I had previously changed RDP to listen on port 918 and it was working (before I ran the batch file)

    I downloaded the hacked .dll from remotedesktoprdp.com and ran the batch file for Vista Business. I’m a linux guy and feel pretty helpless here.

    Here are the contents of the batch file I ran. How can I reverse these changes? I’d be fine with getting it back to allowing only 1 concurrent session.

    Thanks much for any thoughts.

    :START
    @echo off
    cls

    :DETECTARGUMENTS
    SET SINGLESESSION=1
    SET BLANK=1
    IF /I *%1 == *MULTI SET SINGLESESSION=0
    IF /I *%2 == *MULTI SET SINGLESESSION=0
    IF /I *%1 == *BLANK SET BLANK=0
    IF /I *%2 == *BLANK SET BLANK=0

    :SETSOURCEFOLDER
    REM This will get the folder the batch file was launched from since the current
    REM directory will change if launched from a network share
    SET SOURCEFOLDER=%~dp0
    ECHO Source Folder is %SOURCEFOLDER%

    :TAKEOWNERSHIP
    echo Taking ownership of %SystemRoot%\System32\termsrv.dll
    takeown /a /f %SystemRoot%\System32\termsrv.dll
    echo Granting Administrators rights
    icacls %SystemRoot%\System32\termsrv.dll /Grant Administrators:F

    :STOPTERMINALSERVICES
    echo Stopping Terminal Services
    net stop “Terminal Services”

    :BACKUPTERMSRVDLL
    copy %SystemRoot%\System32\termsrv.dll %SystemRoot%\System32\*.*.bak

    :COPYTERMSRVDLL
    echo Copying %SOURCEFOLDER%termsrv.dll to %SystemRoot%\System32\
    copy /y “%SOURCEFOLDER%termsrv.dll” %SystemRoot%\System32\

    :IMPORTREGKEYS
    echo Enabling RDP
    REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server” /v fDenyTSConnections /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

    :SETSINGLESESSIONSETTING
    ECHO Setting fSingleSessionPerUser to %SINGLESESSION%
    REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server” /v fSingleSessionPerUser /t REG_DWORD /d %SINGLESESSION% /f

    :SETBLANKPASSWORDPOLICY
    ECHO Setting LimitBlankPasswordUser to %BLANK%
    REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa” /v LimitBlankPasswordUse /t REG_DWORD /d %BLANK% /f

    :CONFIGUREFIREWALL
    ECHO Configuring Remote Desktop in Windows Firewall
    netsh firewall set service remotedesktop enable

    :STARTTERMINALSERVICES
    echo Starting Terminal Services
    net start “Terminal Services”

    :PAUSE5SECONDS
    ECHO Pausing 5 seconds to give service time to start listening
    choice /n /c y /d y /t 5 > nul

    :CHECKIFSERVICELISTENING
    echo Checking if Service is listening on port 3389
    SUBST
    netstat -a | find /i “3389″
    if ERRORLEVEL 1 goto SERVICENOTLISTENING

    :SERVICEISLISTENING
    echo Service is listening
    goto CONTINUE

    :SERVICENOTLISTENING
    echo Service is not listening

    :CONTINUE
    echo Done
    Pause

  14. REggie
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the forum pulled out the error. The error said – Failed to Read Description error code 2

    Thanks.

  15. champions online resources
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    i couldn’t tick where it says: “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”. Do you have any idea how i can hack through without anyone noticing so that i would be able to tick that box?

  16. abovocipher
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    for all of you guys looking for concurrent users for xp 64bit SP2, this does work:
    http://popcopy.blogspot.com/2008/12/enable-multi-user-concurrent-logon-for.html

    its alittle extra work, but i dont mind doing it as long as it works and it does.

  17. azam patel
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Very helpfull article. Solution works great for me:)

  18. azam patel
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    It is possible in Win7 and Win Vista

  19. Remote desktop
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I have had every version of Windows since XP releases..yes, even Millennium Edition, and despite putting in many hours of effort, I have never been able to make these connections work using just Windows. What is odd is that within five minutes I was able to establish a connection with third party software. I wonder why the Windows offering is so very hard for the layman to operate?

  20. gonewild
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks you, the post of Anarchist is functioning on a domain computer.

  21. Blywodd
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    azam patel,

    Yes it”s possible. Solution at :-

    http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm

  22. Posted October 29, 2010 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    i can’t find “Limit number of connections” (in step 5) on win xp sp3.
    there is only “start a program on connection” and “sets rules for remote control of terminal services sessions”

    where i can find it?

    thanks

  23. Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    More Then 3 user can not work in xp

  24. Blywodd
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    chinna,

    It can be u use the right software for example like the ThinServer software

    Anyway they are having Xmas Sales now so it’s cheap to pick up the software now

    http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm

  25. Posted December 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    windows xp limit the number of users account up to 3 users account.

  26. Posted December 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    i’am using windows 7 now. it is possible in win 7?

  27. Posted January 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    finally I could make more than one account on my windows xp. thanks for the tutorial, really help us.

  28. Posted January 10, 2011 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    try in windows 7. but won’t work.

  29. Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I downloaded the hacked .dll from remotedesktoprdp.com and ran the batch file for Vista Business. I’m a linux guy and feel pretty helpless here

  30. Posted January 13, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve tried it but didn’t work, dude… fail!

  31. Robert
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    It seems this will no longer work under Win XP w/ SP3 and latest updates. Any workaround to this?

  32. Netter
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Robert,

    ThinServer works with SP3

    http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm

  33. Posted July 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Windows XP is the best OS yet. But I I use Windows 7! :)

  34. Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    thank you, this trick is very interesting!

  35. Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    thank you, this trick is very interesting!!!

  36. Netter
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Mike,

    There’s a version of ThinServer which works with Windows 7 !

    Check out the link below :-

    http://www.aikotech.com/purchase7.htm

  37. Ravinndra
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Its working but when we are restarting pc its go to previous state

  38. Posted January 17, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Many of us think over this issue, but few of us have the courage to express opinion on it. Your work is amazing. buy cialis online

  39. Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know if this works or not anymore?

  40. Posted November 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    nice article but you tell me how to connect 5 pc without hard disk…!!

  41. Satish
    Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Friends, I want to export users details for RDP access remotely, is any own knows how it will work.

  42. Aliasgar Babat
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Great article regarding use of default Microsoft inbuilt RDC Connection tool in XP, in order to remotely access computers over same network. For different networks, one can deploy on premise remote support appliance such as RHUB or Bomgar appliances in order to remotely access computers from anywhere.

  43. ezrail
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    wooooooooooooooooooooooow — u can make more than 10 RDP yess 10 remote desktop connection at the same time
    look >>UPDATE: it seems that XP is limited, also after this modification, to 3 concurrent users. So don’t waste time trying to raise the maximum number of connections over three (see step 5) because, at this time, I don’t think there’s a way to use the same XP PC with more than 3 persons at the same time (e.g. a local user and 2 remote users).<<<
    u can do more than 3 connection just download this patch for for uxtheme
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  44. ezrail
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    sorry and u have to change the terminal service files by the new one

    from this site
    http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/technology/Enabling%20Concurrent%20Remote%20Desktop%20Sessions%20on%20Windows%20XP%20SP3/

  45. Pradyut
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    GR8……….!!!

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  47. Posted August 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    i want to run both multiple user via remote desktop and thinclient station it is possible on same server pc???
    when i do setting for multiple user via remote desktop then my thin client station will not work. any idea ?
    i am using NCT devices. http://www.ncomputing.com

  48. Anonymous
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Nefunguje !

  49. P.VETRISELVAN
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks u, and i have this same problem(multiuser desktop connection) in windows7 and server2008 r2. please send instruction to my email id:vetripkv5@gmail.com
    my advance thank you…

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