Prepare your virtual machines for Remote Desktop

Applies to: Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016

You can install Remote Desktop Services components on physical servers or on virtual machines.

The first step is to create Windows Server virtual machines in Azure. You'll want to create three VMs: one for the RD Session Host, one for the Connection Broker, and one for the RD Web and RD Gateway. To ensure the availability of your RDS deployment, create an availability set (under High availablility in the VM creation process) and group multiple VMs in that availability set.

After you create your VMs, use the following steps to prepare them for RDS.

  1. Connect to the virtual machine using the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client:
    1. In the Azure portal open the Resource groups view, and then click the resource group to use for the deployment.
    2. Select the new RDSH virtual machine (for example, Contoso-Sh1).
    3. Click Connect > Open to open the Remote Desktop client.
    4. In the client, click Connect, and then click Use another user account. Enter the user name and password for the local administrator account.
    5. Click Yes when warned about the certificate.
  2. Enable remote management:
    1. In Server Manager, click Local Server > Remote management current setting (disabled).
    2. Select Enable remote management for this server.
    3. Click OK.
  3. Optional: You can temporarily set Windows Update to not automatically download and install updates. This helps prevent changes and system restarts while you deploy the RDSH server.
    1. In Server Manager, click Local Server > Windows Update current setting.
    2. Select Advanced options > Defer upgrades.
  4. Add the server to the domain:
    1. In Server Manager, click Local Server > Workgroup current setting.
    2. Click Change > Domain, and then enter the domain name (for example,
    3. Enter the domain administrator credentials.
    4. Restart the virtual machine.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the RD Web and GW virtual machine.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the RD Connection Broker virtual machine.
  7. Initialize and format the attached disk on the RD Connection Broker virtual machine:
    1. Connect to the RD Connection Broker virtual machine (step 1 above).
    2. In Server Manager, click Tools > Computer Management.
    3. Click Disk Management.
    4. Select the attached disk, then MBR (Master Boot Record), and then click OK.
    5. Right-click the new disk (marked as Unallocated) and click New Simple Volume.
    6. In the New Simple Volume wizard, accept the default values but provide a applicable name for the Volume label (like Shares).
  8. On the RD Connection Broker virtual machine create file shares for the user profile disks and certificates:
    1. Open File Explorer, click This PC, and open the disk that you added for file shares.
    2. Click Home and New Folder.
    3. Enter a name for the user disks folder, for example, UserDisks.
    4. Right-click the new folder and click Properties > Sharing > Advanced Sharing.
    5. Select Share this folder and click Permissions.
    6. Select Everyone, and then click Remove. Now click Add, enter Domain Admins, and click OK.
    7. Select Allow Full Control, and then click OK > OK > Close.
    8. Repeat steps c. to g. to create a shared folder for certificates.