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Installing Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 7

About this guide

This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working Remote Desktop Services infrastructure in a test environment. During this process, you create an Active Directory® domain, install the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) role service, and configure the Remote Desktop Connection client computer.

After you’ve completed this process, you can use the test lab environment to learn about Remote Desktop Services technology on Windows Server® 2008 R2 and assess how it might be deployed in your organization.

This guide includes the following topics:

The goal of a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server is to host 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 resources on that server.


This guide is considered the basic Remote Desktop Services step-by-step guide. All other step-by-step guides developed for Remote Desktop Services will assume that this guide has been completed first.

What this guide does not provide

This guide does not provide the following:

  • An overview of Remote Desktop Services.

  • Guidance for setting up and configuring an RD Session Host server in a production environment.

  • Scalability or performance information concerning RD Session Host in a production environment.

  • Complete technical reference for Remote Desktop Services.

Scenario: Installing an RD Session Host server in a test environment

We recommend that you first use the steps provided in this guide in a test lab environment. Step-by-step guides are not necessarily meant to be used to deploy Windows Server features without additional deployment documentation and should be used with discretion as a stand-alone document.

Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a working Remote Desktop Services infrastructure. You can then test and verify Remote Desktop Services functionality as follows:

  • Connecting to an RD Session Host server by using Remote Desktop Connection.

The test environment described in this guide includes three computers connected to a private network using the following operating systems, applications, and services.

Computer name Operating system Applications and services


Windows Server 2008 R2

RD Session Host


Windows Server 2008 R2

Active Directory Domain Services, Domain Name System (DNS)


Windows® 7

Remote Desktop Connection

The computers form a private network and are connected through a common hub or Layer 2 switch. This configuration can be emulated in a virtual server environment if desired. This step-by-step exercise uses private addresses throughout the test lab configuration. The private network ID is used for the network. The domain controller is named CONTOSO-DC for the domain named The following figure shows the configuration of the test environment.