We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Terminal Server 2003 and logon rights (locally/terminal/remote desktop users)

Secode asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Situation: One Windows Server 2003 R2 configured as Domain Controller, Terminal Server, File, Print, DHCP, DNS etc. This is the only server in a closed network, as in not connected to the internet, and it will have 6 thin clients (Wyse V30) connected to it.

I've got the good ol' problem when trying to logon as a normal user to the Terminal Server with the RDP client in Wyse:

"To log on to this remote computer, you must hatve Terminal Server User Access permissions on this computer. By default, members of the Remote Desktop User group have these permissions. If you are not a member of the Remote Desktop User group or another group that has these permissions, or if the Remote Desktop User group does not have these permissions, you must be granted these permissions manually."

Ok - I can read. I could add all my users to the "Remote Desktop User", but this is just extra work each time a user is added to the system. I want all domain users (and admins) to be able to log on and want this as a default setting. I've read I need to allow BOTH locally and TS logins. SO, I made two GPOs:

1) Comp Security - Allow Log On Locally Policy:
Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> User Rights Assignment:
Allow log on locally ==> MYDOMAIN\Domain Users, MYDOMAIN\Domain Admins, BUILTIN\Administrators

2) Comp Security - Allow Log On Terminal Server:
Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> User Rights Assignment:
Allow log on through Terminal Services ==> MYDOMAIN\Domain Users, MYDOMAIN\Domain Admins, BUILTIN\Administrators

I then linked them into the "Domain Controllers" OU. But that did not work :( Why? Should it be linked to another OU instead? the entire domain (MYDOMAIN.local)? Or perhaps on "users OU"?
Watch Question

Check the policy in Deny logon locally also.You must do these settings in Domain Controller policy.Hope this helps


All I find in "Default Domain Controllers Policy" is:
Deny log on locally ==> MYDOMAIN\SUPPORT_######## (8 numbers and letters)

My two GPOs does not have "Deny log on locally" and "Deny log on through Terminal Services" set, they are "Not configured"

I also know I can add Domain Users to the terminal service itself, but as I've tried to explain, I want to keep things clean and configured through GPOs.
if it is not configured in GPO then it will use local settings of the server. So run this command gpedit.msc on your run prompt and check if there are any settings

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


My Local Policy states the following users in "Allow log on locally" and "Allow log on through Terminal Services":
-Domain Users
-Domain Administrator

"Deny log on locally" ==> MYDOMAIN\SUPPORT_######## (8 numbers and letters)  <-- same as the Domain Default GPO

"Deny log on through Terminal Services" ==> Guests


I just thought of something..

The reason for users belonging to the Remote Desktop Users is because that group is in the permissions list of the Terminal Service. And if I don't add Domain Users to this list, I'll probably never going to get RDP logon, even with my GPO settings?

.. right?

It works fine if I add Domain Users to the Terminal Service Permission list, even without my two GPOs...!!!?!

Arg.. I'm confused.. is it possible to controll access to TS with GPO only?

Yes, you are correct, If the users or group are not in the Remote Desktop Users Group - they will not be able to logon.

It is like setting an OU to be an Administrator in the GPO but not adding them to the Administrator Group.


caddlady - 1st comment: Well.. I don't want to use the Remote Desktop User Group, since then I have to do one more thing when I add a user to the domain; read: add user to the Remote Desktop User Group. So I added the Domain Users Group to the permission list for TS. Then I don't have to think about adding users to a group to allow TS connection, they will get it automatically. I do this since the users only have a thin client so the server is all they have to work on. This should work fine, don't you think? (I've more or less confirmed it..)

That should do it!

Here is a good document from Microsoft about Terminal Services:  
Since the entire network is not connected to the outside world and every user you add needs access, I see no harm in using that wide of a spectrum as all Domain Users.


One last question.. Since this is a one server,closed network situation and only thin clients.. is there no need for my two GPOs? I have removed them and I am allowed to log in from the thin client still :)

They are very handy when you need to manange and deploy security, applications, etc., but, if you do not need to manage anything with them, dont use them.
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.