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It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

The MSTSC command is a shortcut way to access the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) using Command prompt on Windows. The full form of MSTSC is Microsoft Terminal Services Client. It works on all version of Windows whether it Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 or XP. For those don’t know about the RDP, it is a tool comes with Windows operating system to connect and access other computer running on Windows remotely. You can access the RDP in different ways such as by navigating through the Windows Menu, use the RUN box or Command prompt. It all depends upon you, what is easy for you. Here in the tutorial, we will let you know all common methods to access Remote Desktop Client service.

MSTSC command

The mstsc command is the command that let us access the Remote desktop service using the command line console i.e Command Prompt.

  1. To start RDP service from the command line just to the command prompt.
  2. Once the Command Prompt opened type mstsc
  3. And Press the Enter button.
  4. You will see the RDP console.
  5. Enter the IP address to whom you want to connect and access the computer remotely.It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

Further information about the mstsc command.

We can use the MSTSC command with few parameters to run the Remote Desktop service over the command line more efficiently.

The usage console command or Syntax:

]] [/admin] [/f] [/w: /h: ] [/public] [/span] mstsc.exe /edit
mstsc.exe /migrate

Note: You can use the mstsc.exe or mstsc alone both works in a same way.

mstsc.exe Connection File

Replace the connection file with .rdp file which creates when you use the Save As button from the General Tab from the Remote Desktop Console. Basically, it saves the connection settings and addresses in a file with an extension .rdp. So, in future when you want to access that particular connection again then just use the mstsc example.rdp replace the example.rdp with your file name.

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

mstsc.exe /v: computername [:port]

To specify the computer name which you want to connect along with the port number.

mstsc.exe/admin

To run Remote Desktop as Administrator you can run this command.

mstsc.exe /f

Regardless of the performance optimization, if you want to run the Remote Desktop connection in full-screen mode then you can use this command as shown above.

mstsc.exe /w: or mstsc.exe /h:

The above syntax use to point the Remote Desktop to start in some particular Width and Height defined by you. For example mstsc.exe /w:1280 /h:720

mstsc /public

To run the Remote Desktop in a public to a avoid the cache of password and bitmaps.

mstsc /span

This command syntax will match the width and height with the local virtual desktop, spanning across multiple monitors if necessary.

mstsc /edit

Opens the specified .rdp file for editing. Usage: mstsc /edit example.rdp

How to use remote desktop connection manager using RUN box

So, besides the command line to connect the Remote Desktop, you can also use the RUN box which is a shortcut to execute the MSTSC command without opening the Command prompt. Here are the steps for this:

  1. Remote desktop shortcut keys to run the command: MSTSC press Win KEY + R
  2. The RUN command box will open.
  3. Now Type mstsc in it.
  4. And press the Enter button from the Keyboard.
  5. Connect the PC remotely.

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

Easiest method to access the RDP.

If you are on the graphical user interface of the Windows operating system then just type remote in the search box and click on it when appears.

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

Other Useful Resources

Question

Answers

It is not a strict requirement to have all (other) users log off of the server before installing an application, however, it is often a good idea. For example, if another user has a file open that an install needs to replace, the install may fail or require a reboot before the program is ready to be used. For the same reason it is good to close any open programs, suspend antivirus scanning, etc. before installing.

  • Proposed as answer by Aaron.Parker Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:54 PM
  • Marked as answer by Yuan Wang Microsoft employee Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:12 AM

As the moderator “TP” has mentioned, it’s not mandatory to log off all users but it’s a good thing. Actually, i think it depends on the application you are trying to install wether you have to log off everyone or not. So there is no clear answer to that. But, there is actually something you can do. When you install software on a “Remote Desktop Services Server” you can use the following command in order to put your server into a “setup mode”.

From an elevated command prompt, enter “change user /install” command to put your server into the “setup mode” and than you can begin with your software setup. Once your program is installed. From an elevated command prompt again, enter “change user /execute” command to roll back to “Execute mode” which is the default mode.

Optionally, you can use the “change user /query” command to learn on what mode are you in. This will just tell you if you are in the “Execute mode” or the “setup mode”.

The best practice is always to check with the software vendors. You can call the support for your software or you can try to find information about installing specific softwares on a “RDP Server”. Sometimes, it might be a little tricky.

Kubilay Elmas MCITP (Enterprise Desktop Administrator Windows 7)

Installing Applications on a Remote Desktop Server

When installing an application on a Terminal Server, because multiple people will be using the application at once, there is actually a special method that you should use to install the applications. Here’s two methods to do it the right way.

Command Line Method

The first method we can use involves the command line. Please make sure that you run command prompt as administrator. You will need to change your user mode to installation mode by using the following command:

Change User /InstallIt how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

At this point you could go ahead and safely install the application, but once the application is installed don’t forget to change back to execution mode, you can do so by running the following command:

Change User /Execute

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

The GUI Method

If you think you are going to forget to switch back to execution mode, or maybe you just don’t like the command line you can always do the same thing using the GUI. To get started open control panel

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

Switch to the small icon view, and look for Install Application on Remote Desktop Server, double-click on it

It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server

Now you can simply go through the next, next, finish style wizard which will help you get the application installed.

Why Must I Do This? When you use “change user /install” before installing an application, you actually create .ini files for the application in the system directory. These files are used as master copies for user-specific .ini files. After installing the application, when you type “change user /execute” you are reverting to standard .ini file mapping. The first time you run the application, it searches the home directory for its .ini files. If the .ini files are not found in the home directory, but are found in the system directory, Terminal Services copies the .ini files to the home directory, ensuring that each user has a unique copy of the application .ini files. Each user should have a unique copy of the .ini files for an application. This prevents instances where different users might have incompatible application configurations.

  • ROM
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • GPU

I’m working with a new RDS server, trying to get the bugs worked out, and it seems (as I described in a previous post) I need to install Office. I’m aware of change user /install before installing anything on a terminal server, but is it OK to do this while I have users connected? Or should I wait till end of day when everyone is logged off?

You can do this, but as we all know, many users will try something stupid and only realize that after they’ve been told (by us or the system) it’s a no-go. I would wait myself. You may also want a reboot and to patch that application to current after the install as well, which will result in grumpy users if you do that while they’re connected 🙂

7 Replies

You can do this, but as we all know, many users will try something stupid and only realize that after they’ve been told (by us or the system) it’s a no-go. I would wait myself. You may also want a reboot and to patch that application to current after the install as well, which will result in grumpy users if you do that while they’re connected 🙂

I’d seriously wait till end of day, just in case a botched install happens.

In my opinion wait till everyone is logged off. this will eliminate the possibility of having a process called for before it is installed completely (yes this has happened to me before). This will ensure any errors you may or may not get will be true errors and not caused by an active application calling for a resource that has only been partially installed. As a general rule any major change / install should be carried out during non peak times to eliminate the “everything just got realy slow” calls you may receive during the install. Again this is all an opinion.

Technically it’s possible, but as others have said, you should wait until after-hours to do this, for numerous reasons.

If something does go wrong, you’ll need to down the server. The install might take up a lot of resources and slow users down. The install might require a reboot.

All of this makes users angry, and angry users are not fun users to work with.

But, from a technical standpoint it’s possible.

We had lots of issues when updating something when people are logged in.

Log everyone off or wait to EOD and install from Console. Don’t install from RDP, Console is much preferred.

You will spend more time fixing the install than you would if you can wait until everyone is off. It is not worth the time. We no longer install anything unless all users are logged off of the terminal servers.

Question

Answers

It is not a strict requirement to have all (other) users log off of the server before installing an application, however, it is often a good idea. For example, if another user has a file open that an install needs to replace, the install may fail or require a reboot before the program is ready to be used. For the same reason it is good to close any open programs, suspend antivirus scanning, etc. before installing.

  • Proposed as answer by Aaron.Parker Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:54 PM
  • Marked as answer by Yuan Wang Microsoft employee Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:12 AM

As the moderator “TP” has mentioned, it’s not mandatory to log off all users but it’s a good thing. Actually, i think it depends on the application you are trying to install wether you have to log off everyone or not. So there is no clear answer to that. But, there is actually something you can do. When you install software on a “Remote Desktop Services Server” you can use the following command in order to put your server into a “setup mode”.

From an elevated command prompt, enter “change user /install” command to put your server into the “setup mode” and than you can begin with your software setup. Once your program is installed. From an elevated command prompt again, enter “change user /execute” command to roll back to “Execute mode” which is the default mode.

Optionally, you can use the “change user /query” command to learn on what mode are you in. This will just tell you if you are in the “Execute mode” or the “setup mode”.

The best practice is always to check with the software vendors. You can call the support for your software or you can try to find information about installing specific softwares on a “RDP Server”. Sometimes, it might be a little tricky.

Kubilay Elmas MCITP (Enterprise Desktop Administrator Windows 7)

Table of contents

  1. HTTP repository
  2. Network share repository

You can deploy software application packages to remote offices using:

  • HTTP (recommended)
  • Network share

The network share mentioned above is created in the respective remote offices. It is not the same network share that is available in the Desktop Central server.

HTTP repository

The HTTP upload option allows you to upload files required to install a software application directly. It is recommended that you use this option. To deploy a software application to a remote office using the HTTP upload option, follow the steps given below:

  1. Navigate to Software Deployment -> Add Package.
  2. Select the package type and provide a name for the application.
  3. Select HTTP Path (URL) – From Local Computer option.
  4. Click Add More
  5. Click Choose File
  6. Choose the required file
  7. Click Open
  8. Enter the required information depending on the package type. For example, installation commands if you are creating an MSIEXEC/EXE/ISS/Command package and the file name if you are creating an MSI package.
  9. Select the required advanced options, if any
  10. Click Add Package
  11. On the Packages page, click the Install Software icon against the package you want to install
  12. Create a configuration
  13. Click Deploy

The configuration settings, executable files and dependency files are stored in the Desktop Central server. The software application is deployed in the following ways depending on the type of remote office:

Remote office with a distribution server

In a remote office with a distribution server, the distribution server contacts the Desktop Central server, during the communication interval that takes place every 2 minutes, to get information about configuration settings, executable files and other files required to install a software application. Once it has replicated the information from the Desktop Central server, the WAN agents will contact the distribution server and collect this information. This takes place during the agent’s 90-minute refresh cycle, during startup or during logon whichever takes place earlier.

Remote office with WAN agents

In a remote office with WAN agents only, the WAN agents contact the Desktop Central server and collect information about the configuration settings, executable files and other files required to install a software application. This takes place during the agent’s 90-minute refresh cycle, during startup or during logon whichever takes place earlier.

Network share repository

The network share allows you to store files required to install a software application in a common shared folder that is available in a remote office. Each remote office will have a different network share. Therefore, if you want to deploy a software application in two remote offices, you have to create two separate packages for each remote office. To deploy a software application to a remote office using the network share option, follow the steps given below:

  1. Click the Software Deployment tab
  2. Click Add Package
  3. Select the package type
  4. Enter a name for the application
  5. Select Network Path
  6. Click Add More
  7. Enter the required information depending on the package type. For example, installation commands if you are creating an MSIEXEC/EXE/ISS/Command package and the file name with the network path, if you are creating an MSI package.

The file name with the network path should be entered manually.

  1. Select the required advanced options, if any
  2. Click Add Package
  3. On the Packages page, click the Install Software icon against the package you want to install
  4. Create a configuration
  5. Click Deploy

You have deployed a software package to specific computers in your network. The configuration settings are now stored in the network share folder in each remote office. The software application is deployed in the following ways depending on the type of remote office:

When you are deploying a software package to a network share that is not in the Desktop Central server, you must enter the path manually.

Remote office with a distribution server

In a remote office with a distribution server, the distribution server cannot access a network share folder to replicate information. Therefore, the WAN agents access the network-share folder and collect information about the configuration settings, executable files and other files required to install software applications. This takes place during the agent’s 90-minute refresh cycle, during startup or during logon whichever takes place earlier.

Remote office with WAN agents

In a remote office with only WAN agents, the WAN agents access the network-share folder and collect information about the configuration settings. This takes place during the agent’s 90-minute refresh cycle, during startup or during logon whichever takes place earlier.

You have deployed software applications to remote offices in your network.

Since Microsoft introduced Terminal Services with Windows Server 2008, it is possible to host multiuser Microsoft Access applications (and other programs) without installing anything on the user’s machines. Your users can run the programs from within your corporate network, or even across the Internet when hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. As a result, PC and Mac users can run your Access solution.

We can help you evaluate the options and tradeoffs, and implement a migration path to ensure a smooth transition to a remote hosted platform.

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It how to correctly install applications on a remote desktop server FMS President Luke Chung is one of the world leading experts on hosting Microsoft Access solutions on remote servers. Leveraging his extensive knowledge of Access application development, he has extensively researched how to configure, license, secure, deploy and maintain such solutions over time.

He has given talks on this subject at several conferences in the US and Europe, and ensures our team delivers such solutions on your internal network and Azure cloud. During the 2020 Virtual Access DevCon, he gave a presentation on RemoteApp and Microsoft Access Database Applications, which is available for everyone to watch!

Let us help you increase the value of your investment in Access applications.

Remote Desktop or Remote App?

You can provide your users a Remote Desktop or Remote App experience.

  • Remote Desktop lets your users connect to the server and launch a Windows desktop environment. They can run File Explorer, and any other programs they have permission to run as if they had their own PC.
  • Remote App lets you only run your Access application without the rest of Windows. It appears as if Access is running on their local desktop. Your database appears in a Window but it’s actually running on the remote server.

Either configuration makes it easy to support and deploy Microsoft Access solutions to your users since you can install and control the Access version they run, dependencies and your Access application all in one place.

Hosting On-Premise or Internet Cloud with Microsoft Azure

Your Microsoft Access application can be hosted on a server on your internal network or on a virtual machine on the Microsoft Access cloud.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both platforms that need to be considered based on the locations, and security requirements of your users and organization.

Making Sure Your Access Application is Ready to Run Remotely

We can help you design and prepare your application to support a multi-user environment on a remote server. This includes making sure your Access application is a multi-user compatible, split-database architecture that is configured to deploy the front-end to each user’s profile folder with the proper permissions.

With our Total Access Analyzer product, internal tools and knowledge of Access application Best Practices, we can asses your application and address any issues that may block a successful deployment.

We can also implement enhancements that make your Access application look and run more professionally.

Configuring Your Server

We can help you configure your server or create a new virtual machine on the Microsoft Azure cloud to host your Access application(s). Issues to consider:

  • Windows Server licenses
  • Remote Desktop user licenses (CALs)
  • Installation of the free Access runtime or Office 365 subscriptions
  • Options for handling users running multiple Access applications and launching them at the same time
  • Security settings for authorized connections based on users and IP addresses

Once the server is properly configured, we can create a remote desktop or remote app link for your users to launch your Access application.

Maintainable Over Time

Once you are hosting your MS Access application in a remote environment, you become responsible for system administration to maintain it over time.

  • We can help you implement in your Access application, comprehensive error handling with logging so problems can be tracked and addressed based on priority.
  • Migrate your backend database from an Access database to SQL Server, including SQL Azure.
  • Monitoring performance and security.
  • With our Total Access Startup product, we make it easy to deploy new updates to each user every time they log in.
  • With our Total Visual Agent product, we can ensure your backend Access database is properly backed up and compacted on a regular schedule.

We can help you on a project basis, so that our engagement ends upon deployment, or we can host, monitor, and enhance your applications over time through a service level agreement.

Contact us to schedule our services or ask any questions.

Technologies and Services

Why Choose FMS?

Founded in 1986, FMS is a privately held, small business. Our clients include businesses of all sizes, non-profits, and local and federal government agencies. Our developers serve many local clients in the Mid-Atlantic, Washington DC metropolitan area. We also have clients across the country from California to Massachusetts, and Alaska to Florida, in addition to our international clients. Many of our custom solutions are deployed around the world with language localization support.

With our experience, extensive code library, and tested processes, FMS offers great solutions at very competitive prices. Email or call us at 703-356-4700 to learn more about our consulting services and how our staff of full-time professionals can help you. FMS is located in Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC.

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We’ve built a variety of custom applications with Microsoft technologies for a wide range of clients:

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I am setting up a new server with RDS. I want to control the access to applications I install for RDS host using Groups or Users. Is this possible? How?

Let’s say I have a set of 5 applications that will be used by a group of users. Some users have access to App A, others to App B, others to App C. All of this may overlap.

I thought I would create 5 groups:

  • App A Group
  • App B Group
  • Etc.

Then assign each user to the group of the application he has access to. Is this doable? Is this the proper way to do it, or is there some other best practice for this type of configuration?

2 Answers 2

Use AppLocker. It lets you define who can run which executable (by name, folder, hash, or digital signature), and all others will be denied. Make sure that you allow the default executables, which the wizard will walk you through.

There are a few ways you can do this:

If your RDS host is W2K8R2 and you want to use RD Web Access then you can restrict which applications each group can see, access, and run through RD Web Access by configuring and securing the applications in RemoteApp Manager.

If your RDS host is W2K8R2 you can deploy RDP files for each application via RemoteApp manager and restrict which applications each group can run by configuring and securing the applications in RemoteApp Manager.

If your RDS host is W2K8 or W2K8R2 You can use Software Restriction Policies in Group Policy by creating a GPO for each group and configuring the appropriate Software Restriction Policies for each group and use Security Filtering to apply the GPO to the appropriate group.

Note that in W2K8 you can use RD Web Access and RemoteApp Manager to make applications available to your users but you can’t restrict the applications. The ability to assign (secure) the applications in RemoteApp Manager is available only in W2K8R2.

Symptoms

Consider the following scenario:

You install the “Remote Desktop Session Host” role service on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2.

You publish some RemoteApp applications on the server. Then, you create .rdp files for these applications.

You use an .rdp file to start a RemoteApp application through Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 over a slow network, such as a wireless area network (WAN) on a client computer.

On the client computer, you close the RemoteApp application. Then, you double-cick the .rdp file to restart the application.

In this scenario, these applications are displayed as black windows intermittently.

Cause

This issue is caused by the display driver of the Remote Desktop Session host service on the server computer. During the connection stage, the monitor layout packets for the client computer are dropped because the outgoing buffers are full. These buffers usually become full when the client computer uses a slow network or a WAN.

Resolution

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a “Hotfix download available” section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=supportNote The “Hotfix download available” form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

Prerequisites

To apply this hotfix, your computer must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1). Additionally, your computer must have the “Remote Desktop Session Host” role service installed.

For more information about how to obtain a Windows 7 or a Windows Server 2008 R2 service pack, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

976932 Information about Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2

Restart requirement

You must restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace a previously released hotfix.

File information

The English (United States) version of this hotfix installs files that have the attributes that are listed in the following tables. The dates and the times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The dates and the times for these files on your local computer are displayed in your local time together with your current daylight saving time (DST) bias. Additionally, the dates and the times may change when you perform certain operations on the files.

Windows Server 2008 R2 file information notes

Important Windows 7 hotfixes and Windows Server 2008 R2 hotfixes are included in the same packages. However, hotfixes on the Hotfix Request page are listed under both operating systems. To request the hotfix package that applies to one or both operating systems, select the hotfix that is listed under “Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2” on the page. Always refer to the “Applies To” section in articles to determine the actual operating system that each hotfix applies to.

The files that apply to a specific product, SR_Level (RTM, SP n), and service branch (LDR, GDR) can be identified by examining the file version numbers as shown in the following table.