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The server console has disappeared.

Posted on 2012-03-21
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Last Modified: 2012-03-23
My Server 2003r2 console screen has disappeared and can not be accessed. This is a working live server and it is NOT a hardware problem. When I sit in front of the server and log in locally as a domain admin, the desktop background comes up and nothing else. No menu, no taskbar, no icons, nothing when I push the Windows key, nothing when right clicking anywhere on the desktop. The mouse pointer moves normally. The only other normal thing is CTL-ALT-DEL will bring up the normal choices and I can log off, etc. Task Manager looks fine to me and shows console session 0. When I RDP from any machine, everything works normally and I am the only connection not disconnected.

I am pretty sure this started after I tried to do a remote software install. A box poped up from the software maker saying that it could only be installed from console 0 and giving some instructions. From the existing RDP session, I can type mstsc /v:myservername /console and get a new logon. That logon gets me the console 0 session and right back to the same problem as sitting in front of the server. No new software has been installed. I may not have understood the instructions and used the  /admin switch the first time I ran mstsc.

How can I get the console operation back to being normal from in front of the server?
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Question by:geraldgraves
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Expert Comment

by:Venugopal N
ID: 37751020
Based on the RDP version it varies about the /console or /admin option.

From XP SP3 and Vista SP1 and 2008 /console is not used.

You can find which option can be used with mstsc command by running

mstsc /? in Command prompt, which will say if the os support /console or /admin.

For any software need to install on the terminal server this need to be done on the COnsole ( as local login to Server ) and before start to install the software need to change the mode of the server to install mode.

To perform this

Start --> Run -- > Cmd

change user /install -- which will make the server to accept new soaftware installation, once you complete the installation, then change the server to Execute mode by running Change user /exec.To Query the current mode run Change user /query.

To bring the Server back from your problem check if the insatllation is still runing at backgroun from the Taskmanger and kill the process, or better reboot the server if it is not an production server.
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Accepted Solution

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Michael Ian Claridge earned 500 total points
ID: 37751247
Installation to one side....from what you have said it looks like "Explorer.exe" isn't running, when you are sat in from of the server press CTRL+ALT+DEL and select Task Manager, FILE > New and Type Explorer.exe.

You could try to kill any remote sessions that you have to that server using the remote admin tool (Terminal Services Manager).

Low memory can be a cause of certain processes not starting such as Explorer too, might be worth having a quick look.

I hope this helps.

MC
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Author Closing Comment

by:geraldgraves
ID: 37757034
Multiple instances of explorer.exe were running, including one instance of another user. Killing that instance fixed the problem.
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