Core Server 2008 R2 - remote desktop or browser on console?

Posted on 2010-01-06
Last Modified: 2013-11-21
Is there any way I can run RDP or any type of browser from a Core Server 2008 R2 Console/desktop?
Question by:lineonecorp
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    by:Cláudio Rodrigues
    Yes you can RDP to it.

    Cláudio Rodrigues
    Citrix CTP
    LVL 31

    Accepted Solution

    It's as Claudio posted possibly to enable RDP-access for accessing the server remote by using "cscript %windir%\system32\scregedit.wsf /AR 0".

    I understand the question as the opposite that you want to use mstsc.exe and IE on the Server Core box and connect away from it. If so, the answer is no.
    Server Core is stripped off unnecessary GUI features like browsers that doesn't really nead to exist on a server to make it more secure.
    The "desktop" in Server Core is just the background without shortcuts or start menu.
    You have the command prompt when logging on (locally or through RDP) and by default some basic tools like regedit, notepad and taskmgr. You can of course install other applications on the server as long as they don't rely on stuff that can't be installed on Server Core.
    Not tested, but you can try to install third party web browser like Firefox or Opera if you want to have such tool on a Server Core box.
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    by:Cláudio Rodrigues
    Yes, that is correct. If you want to actually run apps from the server core console you are kind of stuck. I have never tried on Server Core but there are solutions that can 'package' an application like Firefox into a single executable, self contained. That would potentially work on the server core console. BoxedApps and Thinstall are examples of that (paid). PortableApps is free and may do exactly what you want.

    Cláudio Rodrigues
    Citrix CTP

    Author Comment

    Yes, henjoh09 has it right. I want to access a VM on the Core Server from the Core server not remotely.

    I will look into the packaging applications referred to as they look promising.  

    Some further questions however:

    Is there no way to start a specific virtual machine that is running on a core server from the command line?

    Also as R2 runs a subset of dot net framework it can support some powershell I've read.  So could I run a powershell script that would allow me to access a running VM?

    Also I've read that you can install IIS 7.0 on Core Server R2. If that's the case would I not be able to get some kind of browser going?  


    Author Comment

    Folks, I have found the answer I was hoping I would find.

    "Server Core 2008 - No Built-In MSTSC?
    Server Core cuts down on the number of built-in apps, and understandably so given the push to go "window-less".  However one glaring omission I just stumbled upon is a missing mstsc.exe from the System32 directory.  What's the point of this?  Certainly there are scenarios where you'll be logged into a Server Core box and need to Remote Desktop back out again...  One instance in particular would be RDPing to a virtual machine hosted on the Core box.

    To re-establish the Remote Desktop Connection client in server core, copy the following files from a working Vista SP1 or Server 2008 installation to the same folder on the destination box (note that you need to make sure you are using the name processor platform on both machines, i.e. x86, x64 or ia64):

    \Windows\System32\mstscax.dll <- Note that this file may be in use on your source workstation, but it also appears to not be necessary for RDC to operate


    This does exactly what I wanted. Thanks for the info regardless - I can make use of the portable apps I'm sure in some other context.

    Author Comment

    An additonal note:
    To get it working on a 2008 core server, I also needed to copy across these 4 files to ..\system32:

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