Share via

Overview of Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host)

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

The Remote Desktop Services server role in Windows Server 2008 R2 consists of several role services, one of which is Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host).

An RD Session Host server is the server that hosts Windows-based programs or the full Windows desktop for Remote Desktop Services clients. Users can connect to an RD Session Host server to run programs, to save files, and to use network resources on that server. Users can access an RD Session Host server from within a corporate network or from the Internet by using Remote Desktop Connection or by using RemoteApp.

For more information about RemoteApp, see the Remote Desktop Services page on the Windows Server 2008 R2 TechCenter (

When a user accesses a program on an RD Session Host server, the program execution occurs on the server. Each user sees only their individual session. The session is managed transparently by the server operating system and is independent of any other client session.

If you deploy a program on an RD Session Host server instead of on each device, there are many benefits. These include the following:

  • You can quickly deploy Windows-based programs to computing devices across an enterprise. This is especially useful when you have programs that are frequently updated, infrequently used, or difficult to manage.

  • Users can access programs that are running on an RD Session Host server from devices such as home computers, kiosks, hardware that might not meet the requirements of the operating system or application, and operating systems other than Windows.

  • Branch office workers who need access to centralized data stores can receive better program performance by accessing a program remotely on an RD Session Host server. Data-intensive programs sometimes do not have client/server protocols that are optimized for low-speed connections. Programs of this kind frequently perform better over a Remote Desktop Services connection than over a typical wide area network.

For more information about RD Session Host, see the Remote Desktop Services page on the Windows Server 2008 R2 TechCenter (