Share via

Terminal Services in Windows Server 2003 Technical Reference

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

The Terminal Services component of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system delivers the Windows Server 2003 desktop and the latest Windows-based applications to a wide variety of desktops, including those that normally would not be able to run Windows. Through terminal emulation, Terminal Services allows the same set of applications to run on diverse types of desktop hardware. For organizations wanting to more flexibly deploy applications and control desktop management costs, a Terminal Services architecture offers an important enhancement to the traditional two or three tier client-server architecture based on servers and full-scale personal computers.

Terminal Services extends the model of distributed computing by allowing PCs to operate in a server-based computing environment. With Terminal Services running on a Windows Server 2003-based computer, all client application execution, data processing, and data storage occur on the server. Applications and user desktops are transmitted over the network and displayed via terminal emulation software. Similarly, print streams, keyboard input, and mouse clicks are also transmitted over the network between the server and the terminal emulation software. Each user logs on and sees only their individual session, which is managed transparently by the server operating system and is independent of any other client session.


In Windows Server 2008 R2, Terminal Services was renamed Remote Desktop Services. To find out what's new in this version and to find the most up-to-date resources, visit the Remote Desktop Services page on the Windows Server TechCenter.

In this section

Remote administration