terminal services (RDP) not working on SBS 2003 server

Posted on 2006-05-30
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
I have a sbs 2003 server as the PDC in my network.

As of last week i am no longer able to remote desktop to the the sbs server. However i can RDP into other machiens and servers on the network from the sbs server.

In the Services console its displayed as STARTEd but i am unable to STOP the service as the option is greyed out. I use the command line of Net Stop and it gives me a message saying the service is unable to respond to this command and to try again later.

the event log doesnt show anything that would explain or give me an idea of this problem either. What kind of issue is this??? i am stumped
Question by:alohaboi

    Expert Comment

    Hi alohaboi,

    Apoligies if you've tried this already - have a look in Terminal Services Manager on the SBS server (in Admin tools) - make sure you don't have disconnected sessions. If there are reset them.

    Author Comment

    hey gorlaz,

      nah dont be aplogize your jsut being thorough, yes i have i have gone into the terminal service manager, and in there looks like to be as if everything is fine and its working with no problem. I have reset all sessions and bascially reconfigured it and still no luck. I dont understand how i can RDP from the sbs server itself to other stations but RDP to it. I can use VNC though but not RDP

    Expert Comment

    :) Cool.

    Have you added any group policies lately? The one I'm thinking of is something like "Allow users to log on via Terminal Services"; can't recall exactly where in the schema it is tho. Maybe do a RSoP and see what's being applied on your SBS in case something has changed. I had a case where once a kink in ISA was sorted out all the group policies came into force and there were some contradictions in it causing all sorts of issues.

    Have you reset the server at all? I checked a Win2k Server and the Stop option is greyed out on that as well; so its probably by design. A reset might clean it out again.

    Have you made any changes to ISA lately? May need to check port 3389 incoming is allowed for the internal network only.

    VNC uses port 5800 or 5900 I think so maybe also check for a rule in ISA that's allowing the VNC traffice but disallowing RDP traffic.

    Expert Comment

    Oh - one other q - are you having any issues accessing resources on that server at all? Ping by name and IP etc?

    If its only RDP being blocked we can narrow it down.

    Author Comment

    Only RDP is being blocked,

    a bit more backroung info, there is no ISA running, port 3389 is setup for RDP. Access to the server drives and network printers are fine and having no problem what so ever. I have checked the event viewer and nothing htere that indicates at the when it stopped to ahve cause the issue.

    No new gourp policies have been applied for months, the lat policy i applied was for all pcs to point to the WSUS server and that was 2 months ago. Sicen then nothing new has been added.

    Is is a licensing issue, when i was doing some research i swa some info on terminal service licensing, could this be a prolbem??

    Expert Comment

    TS on the SBS machine doesn't need to be licensed as it should be in Remote Admin mode not Application mode. Application mode needs licenses after 120 days. I'm pretty sure SBS won't let you turn TS on inRemote Admin mode. I don't think the licensing server would be causing the issues but its something to look into I guess.

    WSUS - Have you got the updates set to automatic approval or approval by yourself? Maybe check the logs and see if any updates occured around when you started having the issue.

    Re ISA - not running at all in either firewall or chaching mode? (I've been caught out on this one)

    Have any restarts taken place since the issue began?

    Author Comment

    no ISA or chace in place on the sbs or the firewall.

    I did consider that it might hav been an update from WSUS but the last time it had been udpated from the WSUS console was 2-3 weeks before the problem occured, so that wasnt a prob, however im curious as to what kind of update or roll up patch wouldve removed this function or caused this issue.

    As you can see its a tricky 1.

    Also If the server were in applicaiton mode, and the 120 days had expired that would not only not let you RDP into the sbs server but not allow you too RDP from the server other machines as well, correct?

    Author Comment

    and yes a reboot or 2 has taken place since the problem arose

    Expert Comment

    K, so it looks like we can rule updates out as well.

    If it were in application mode which I'm pretty sure it can't be; I'd think it'd stop all RDP not just some.

    I really think its something blocking access to the server itself, only thing is that if you don't have ISA installed there shouldn't be anything other than GPO's stopping access.

    Have you tried connecting to the server via IP address as well as mchine name in the RDP connection box?

    Author Comment


    indeed i havei have just gone through the GPO Manager, and all the policies from what i can tell dont seem to be blocking access on terminal service connections

    Expert Comment

    What about the user account you're trying to connect to the SBS server with via rdp? Are you using via Administrator or your own user account? Any changes to User permissions or security groups lately?

    Also - have you tried connecting from another PC or just your own; it could be something on your own PC causing the connection issues; it'd have to be a pretty specific problem tho to only block RDP and not normal network resources tho (so thinking maybe firewall again). Can the machine TS to other servers on the network?


    Author Comment

    I am using the administrator account, and my account which has the permissions to do so. No changes to permissions or security have been made.

    I have tried connecting from outside the site to the server,from my cleint pc here at the office, the other 2 servers on the network, and also another offsite attempt. None of which work. Everytime giving me the same error the conection has timed out.

    The sbs server itself can TS/RDP to any computer and offsite server.

    i have recreated the exiting firewall policy for the RDP and it is exactly the saem as the ony that was in palce when it was working.

    I cant see a setting or anything that has changed

    Expert Comment

    Is there an error number on the connection time out message?

    I'm starting to run out of options here!!

    Author Comment

    hehehe nope, just says connection time out and then says please see the help menu, and the help in the option menu isnt help

    what i havnt tried is chaning the port its currently on (3389) to another port and then changing the policy in the firewall.

    Expert Comment

    Hmmm. Not sure if changing the port is a good option.

    One more thought - are you using a saved rdp connection or are you manually creating one every time you try connecting? (and did you get a change to try via IP as well as server name?)

    Could be one of the security options if its a saved connection...

    Author Comment

    i am using a both saved and manual RDP connections...this has got me stumped i have the poins to 500 because its sucha  mystery lol

    id put it to a 1000 if i could

    Expert Comment

    tried connecting via name as well as IP?

    If there's anyone else out there reading this one pls jump in :) More the merrier

    Author Comment

    yep been there and fifnt do anything either

    severrname and ip address doesnt make a difference in how i describe it lol

    Expert Comment

    doesn't seem like it :(

    if you've got dns or firewall issues sometimes name will work and IP won't, or the other way round but if both don't work then something screwy it definitely going on.

    If you ping the ip address does it resolve the name of the SBS server?

    Author Comment

    no if i ping the ip is just says

    "Pinging with 32 bytes of data"

    when i ping using the name it comes up with the full domain name, and ip address

    Expert Comment

    k, so DNS is working ok as well.

    Man you've got me stumped!! I've googled and looked in newsgroups as well and can't find anything.

    If there's anyone else out there with thoughts - please throw them in - I'm not here for the points; just would like to get alohaboi a fix :)

    Have you tried uninstalling/reinstalling TS from Add/Remove Programs > Windows components?
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    First... the fact that you are referring to the ability to RDP into client machines from the SBS has nothing to do with being able to RDP into the SBS.

    If you log in locally to the SBS, can you RDP back into it?


    Author Comment

    by:alohaboi didnt make any harm mentioning it, background information doesnt hurt.
    Secondly...if it had nothing to do with it then just disregard it i cant rdp in locally from the sbs


    Author Comment

    i have tried goin to the addrevmove components and couldnt find wher to remove it from

    Expert Comment

    Were you able to get into the Windows Components section? It's an icon on the left of the screen, its not in the same list as the other programs.

    Techsoeasy - just curious - why would it have nothing to do with it?

    Author Comment

    yeah have no problem with access the components.

    that what i was thinking i thought that would be something to know because a few people asked me that question

    Expert Comment

    Once you're in the Windows components list there should be an option for Terminal Services; you should be able to click Change and then reinstall it, although I don't know the chances of it working.

    Author Comment

    nah its not there, i have read in other pages/forums that terminal services isnt listed in the windows components directory in Add/Remove Programs

    i had double checked and no go

    Expert Comment

    Bummer - Apologies, it is there in Win2k server so I thought SBS might be the same :(
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    The reason I said that RDP from the server to a workstation had nothing to do with this wasn't to discount any background information, it was to clarify that the ability to rdp in one direction does not at all affect the other direction.  To clarify... for example, you can RDP from a Mac into a Windows 2003 server, but not the other way around, ever. (well, unless you have Mac remote software).

    If you can't RDP locally from the SBS into itself, what error message are you receiving?  Because the inability to RDP locally demonstrates that it doesn't have anything to do with a router or other external issue.  So there are only a few places that could be causing this.

    1.  System Properties > Remote:  Make sure that Remote Desktop is enabled.
    2.  User Properties > Terminal Services Profile:  Make sure that the "Deny" box isn't checked.
    3.  RRAS.  If you have TWO NICs, then run the Configure Email and Internet Connection Wizard (Connect to the Internet link in the Server Management Console).  On the Firewall screen select Enable Firewall, and then on the next screen make sure that "Terminal Server" is checked.  Finish out the wizard.  You can select "do not change" for other items.


    Author Comment


    Hey TechSoEasy,

    1. Yes it is enabled
    2. the deny box isnt checked
    3. Only running 1 NIC card.

    If you were to look at the configuration it would look as if all is normal nothing obvious is wrong. I have had a Sys Engineer, who comes in from time to time and cant see a reason why.

    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    Can you please run a "systeminfo" command and post the results here?



    Author Comment

    here is the systeminfo

    Host Name:                 HOLLY
    OS Name:                   Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Server 2003 for Small Busines
    s Server
    OS Version:                5.2.3790 Build 3790
    OS Manufacturer:           Microsoft Corporation
    OS Configuration:          Primary Domain Controller
    OS Build Type:             Multiprocessor Free
    Registered Owner:          Current User
    Registered Organization:   Secombs
    Product ID:                74995-066-4676255-42146
    Original Install Date:     9/09/2004, 2:09:46 PM
    System Up Time:            18 Days, 3 Hours, 12 Minutes, 56 Seconds
    System Manufacturer:       Intel
    System Model:              SBR20
    System Type:               X86-based PC
    Processor(s):              4 Processor(s) Installed.
                               [01]: x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~
    3056 Mhz
                               [02]: x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~
    3056 Mhz
                               [03]: x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~
    3056 Mhz
                               [04]: x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~
    3056 Mhz
    BIOS Version:              INTEL  - 1
    Windows Directory:         C:\WINDOWS
    System Directory:          C:\WINDOWS\system32
    Boot Device:               \Device\HarddiskVolume1
    System Locale:             en-au;English (Australia)
    Input Locale:              en-us;English (United States)
    Time Zone:                 (GMT+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
    Total Physical Memory:     2,047 MB
    Available Physical Memory: 218 MB
    Page File: Max Size:       6,060 MB
    Page File: Available:      2,548 MB
    Page File: In Use:         3,512 MB
    Page File Location(s):     C:\pagefile.sys
    Domain:                    Secombs.local
    Logon Server:              \\HOLLY
    Hotfix(s):                 195 Hotfix(s) Installed.
                               [01]: File 1
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    026 for more information]
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    Network Card(s):           1 NIC(s) Installed.
                               [01]: Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection
                                     Connection Name: Server Local Area Connection
                                     DHCP Enabled:    No
                                     IP address(es)
    LVL 74

    Accepted Solution

    It looks as though you allowed the automatic installation of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 during the brief time it was coming down through Windows Update... and it wasn't supposed to be installed on SBS without the full SBS Service Pack 1 package.

    Please refer to for complete instructions as to installing SBS Service Pack 1.  Repairing this should fix your TS problem.


    Author Comment

    funily enough it works now.

    i did an update last night, which kind of threw things out of wack, but after a few reboots, all was well again as some services were failing to start.

    Now TS works like a charm

    Expert Comment

    Hahahha. Lol.

    Glad you got it sorted alohaboi :)
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    Glad it's working... but just FYI, SP1 is not an automatic update, it needs to be installed manually.


    Author Comment

    the systeminfo log was from when it was still not working. I approved a bunch of updates to install in WSUS the night before and when it had rebooted it had worked. so im not sure if it had anything to do with SP1.

    i know Sp1 isnt an automatic update but you can schedule WSUS to download Service P's. But on the sbs server it doesnt register or show that it has service pack 1 at all.

    After the udaptes were installed yesterday of shut every1 down for a bit. Active Directory became disconnected, and other services wouldnt start. It took 3 reboots to get everythingback to normal..

    was weird
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    Well, as far as I know... WSUS will NOT download SBS SP1, it will only download Windows Server 2003 SP1 which is just a component of SBS SP1.

    I highly suggest that you review for a complete overview of this.  

    Additionally if you didn't deploy WSUS per the recommended SBS procedure, you will run into problems as well:

    There are things like SQL2005 SP1 which should NOT be approved in WSUS:


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