Terminal Services Configuration Overview

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Terminal Services Configuration overview

Several tools exist for configuring terminal servers, Terminal Services user settings, Terminal Services connections, and Terminal Services sessions. These tools include Terminal Services Group Policies, the Terminal Services WMI provider, the Terminal Services Configuration Tool, the Terminal Services extension to Local Users and Groups and Active Directory Users and Computers. Additionally, connection settings that are not configured at the group, computer or user level can be set in the client software itself on a per-session basis.

Which tool should I use?

Typically, you use the tool that gives you the most control with the least administrative overhead, given the constraints of your usage profile. For an environment containing only terminal servers running one of the Windows Server 2003 family operating systems, using Terminal Services Group Policies will allow you to configure all settings that will apply across an organizational unit or group of Terminal Services users. The Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) further extend the Terminal Services extensions to Local Users and Groups and Active Directory Users and Computers by allowing you to create scripts tailored to your Terminal Services configuration requirements. You can also configure individual Windows Server 2003 family operating systems by using Group Policies on the local Group Policy object.

However, there are situations where Group Policy is not the preferred tool. In mixed environments where several different Windows platforms are present, it might be necessary to use a combination of tools--for example, configuring Windows Server 2003 family operating systems with Group Policies, while using the Terminal Services Configuration tool to configure servers that are running previous versions of Windows.

If two or more connections are present on the same computer, and you want to configure each connection differently, Group Policies cannot be used. Instead, use the Terminal Services Configuration tool, which allows you to configure Terminal Services settings on a per-connection basis.

Configuration order of precedence

Configuration settings take precedence in the following order. Settings higher on the list take precedence over those below:

  • Computer level Group Policies (if set)

  • User level Group Policies (if set)

  • Local computer configuration set with Terminal Services Configuration tool

  • User level policies set with Local Users and Groups

  • Local client settings


  • Configuration settings applied with Terminal Services WMI operate at the same order of precedence as the same settings when set with the corresponding configuration tool. In general, Group Policy settings always override settings applied with WMI.

For more information about configuring Terminal Services with Group Policy, see Configuring Terminal Services with Group Policy.

For more information about configuring Terminal Services with Terminal Services Configuration, see Terminal Services Configuration.

For more information about configuring Terminal Services user policies with Local Users and Groups, see Managing Users with the Terminal Services Extension to Local Users and Groups.

For more information about using ADSI, see Programming interfaces and the Active Directory Programmer's Guide at the Microsoft Web site .Web addresses can change, so you might be unable to connect to the Web site or sites mentioned here.