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remote desktop blank from WIN7

I have an odd problem. I have a windows 7 computer to which I am trying to RDC from remote computers. I've tried to connect from 3 different remote Windows 7 computers. Each time, the blue address bar shows at the top, but the screen is black and stays that way forever, no login box. HOWEVER, if I try to remotely login from XP computers, it works just fine! I've done this from 2 different XP computer.

I think it must have something to do with the target WIN7 because I used one of the remote WIN7 computers to log into a completely different WIN7 host on the other side of town and got in, no problem.

This didn't used to be this way. A week or so ago I could log into the target WIN7 w/o problem from either WIN7 or XP.

I am stumped. Any ideas?
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jmarkfoley
Asked:
jmarkfoley
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3 Solutions
 
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Any recent software installations?
Got a restore point from a few weeks ago that you can try?
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McKnifeCommented:
Hi.

On connecting, virtual devices are installed ever and ever again. If there's a problem, it could lead to your situation. Saw this myself with the device "remote audio". Please confirm using device manager. You can do so by connecting to a local console session (local logon) while the remote user is in that state. See if there are any "?" in dev manager.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
Gerwin Jansen: > Any recent software installations?

Two of the originating WIN7 computers have automatic updates, one of these from an SBS domain. My home laptop hasn't been updated in weeks because of other issues. If you are referring to the target WIN7, that is a new installation and has only the updates installed after installing Windows.

McKnife: So, you are saying while logged into the target WIN7 locally, and with the device manager page up, try logging in remotely and see it something develops a "?" ? OK, I'll give that a try, but it will have to wait until I physically go to where the target is located.

I did try this with the remote XP logged in, the tried connecting with my remote WIN7 laptop. Same situation and nothing seemed to change on the XP's remote Device Manager screen; no "?". Normally, on the WIN7, I should get a login screen telling me that someone was already logged in, but no.

BTW - I was wrong about the RDC "hanging forever". After about 2 min 30 seconds I get a message, "Your remote Desktop Services session has ended. / The connection to the remote computer was lost, possibly due to network connectivity problems. Try connecting to the remote computer again. If the problem continues, contact your network administrator or technical support."

Also, it is not always a totally black screen with address bar at top. Sometime, it is black for 5 or more seconds, then goes to the "Please wait ... " ... 'Welcome" screen with the 'Windows7 Professional' logo at the bottom and the spinning wheel. However, the wheel stops spinning and I eventually get the above message, as with the black screen.
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McKnifeCommented:
"So, you are saying while logged into the target WIN7 locally..." - correct. It doesn't have to be like this, but worth a short try. in my case, the reason was a newly adopted device redirection policy that stopped all non-whitelisted devices from installing, including virtual ones used by RDP. It showed the same symptoms.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
>> the target WIN7, that is a new installation
Can you verify the RDP security settings on that target machine?

Computer, Properties, Remote Settings.

Which option is set in the lower part of the window. "Allow connections only ..." or "Allow connections from ..." ?

If the bottom option is set, can you try the middle one instead?
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
Gerwin Jansen: 'Allow connections from' is set to "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop" (middle selection). Note that I can get in from XP, just not from WIN7 (I've tried 3 different WIN7 and 2 different XP). Also, this workstation is part of an Active Directory domain.

McKnife: Interesting. I was logged in locally on the target WIN7 workstation (hostname HPLAPTOP), watching the Device Manager. When I tried remote desktop'ping from my remote WIN7 hostname MERCUREY), my remote MERCUREY screen when blank with the address bar at the top, as usual. However, the HPLAPTOP screen went to the CTL-ALT-DEL screen, as if I had successfully logged in.

Moving the mouse on MERCUREY flashed the welcome screen briefly, then went back to blank.

Doing CTL-ALT-DEL on HPLAPTOP gave me the login screen, and said, "HPRS\Administrator logged in from MERCUREY", so the remote HPLAPTOP *thinks* I'm in, I just can't see anything on remote MERCUREY.
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McKnifeCommented:
Ok... I asked for something different: "Please confirm using device manager. You can do so by connecting to a local console session (local logon) while the remote user is in that state. See if there are any "?" in dev manager. "

So you should go in remotely first, and after that start the local session and open device manager.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Just an idea, can you set the resolution before you make the connection, to for example 1024x768? Does this change the behaviour? (start mstsc -> options -> display)
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
McKnife: > Ok... I asked for something different: "Please confirm using device manager. You can do so by connecting to a local console session (local logon) while the remote user is in that state. See if there are any "?" in dev manager. "

You'll have to explain to me how to do this. If I connect locally I kick the remote user off, so how would I see any device manager states?

Gerwin Jansen: > start mstsc -> options -> display

Do I run that on the client or host side? I tried setting the display to 1024x768 in the RDC client on the remote, but same problem.

Note that if I am already connected remotely from another remote, and I try connecting from my WIN7 remote, I get the following message on the already-connected remote:
remote session terminated
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
>> client or host side
Client side

<edit>
You can disable Local Resouces as well
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McKnifeCommented:
Win7 parks sessions, it does not kick anyone off. Just do it as explained: logon from remote, THEN locally
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
> logon from remote, THEN locally

OK, I had it backwards. Did that. I saw nothing interesting in the Device Manager (see attached). Note that even after my remote session disconnects, the local computer still shows Administrator logged in from the remote. So, it must be doing all the login and validation OK, but just not showing the display.

Gerwin Jansen: The target screen resolution is 1024x768. I changed the remote to 1024x600 (didn't have x768 choice). Didn't help. Still black screen.

This happen from several WIN7 remotes. There must be some logical explanation! And why would it work from XP????
deviceManager.jpg
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Can you try unchecking the Persistent Bitmap Caching option in mstsc in the Experience tab?
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McKnifeCommented:
Now find out whether it makes a difference to stop redirecting local drives or printers or other devices.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
I've confirmed that if I connect the workstation directly to the Internet it works.

I've tried un-joining the workstation from the domain and turning off the Domain Controller, leaving the Linux server as only a router. That still didn't work. So, it's not a Domain Controller or Group Policy issue.

So, either there is something wrong with the LAN attached NIC in the Linux host, or the switch on the LAN is bad, or the Debian distro does something funny which interferes with Remote Desktop Access information flowing between the hosts. Debian does have all kinds of "helper" applications pre-configured, some of which I've needed to remove (NetworkManager, avahi, ...) in order to get it working as a server.

 My next test is to install a simplified Slackware distro as a router, no Samba4 DC, no dhcpd, no bind, routing only, and see if I can get to the Workstation. I'll post results.

The really odd thing is that an XP clients can get to the WIN7 remote just fine regardless of whether it is directly connected or going through a Linux-router or Domain Controller. So it seems unlikely that there is a hardware problem. Would WIN7 RDC clients do things differently than XP clients?
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
I've replaced the Debian router with a Slackware router. Same hardware different Linux distro. So far, no problem with remote desktop. I'm going to startup DHCPD and bind9 on the Slackware system and see if it still works.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
The fact that you have a debian/slackware based router is something that was maybe worth mentioning in your question. At least I (maybe McNife as well) was not thinking in that direction, I was assuming basic/standard harware based routers in your setup.
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McKnifeCommented:
Please feed back on my last one, takes only seconds to test.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
Gerwin Jansen: > The fact that you have a debian/slackware based router is something that was maybe worth mentioning ...

Yes it would have, if I had thought of it as a factor. I've been using Linux (Slackware) as a router/firewall on small LANs for years, and they've proven more bullet-proof than a number of commercial routers that repeatedly failed (three CIsco CVS4000s, for example). Since XPs and WIN7s have been updating w/o problem on those setups for a very long time, it simply didn't occur to me that this could be the problem, esp. since I'm using the exact time iptables settings as always ... well, obviously it *did* occur to me eventually.

Latest test: dhcpd and bind running on Linux/Slackware router, RDC is still working (in fact, I'm composing this RDC'd to that computer from home now!)

McKnife: > Please feed back on my last one, takes only seconds to test.

If by your "last one" you mean "stop redirecting local drives or printers", I don't believe I'm doing that anyway, but if this continues to work I'm not sure it matters.

My final, and most important test, will be having this WIN7 computer join the domain again. Since its original inability to handle RDC was a surprise, I didn't really notice whether it occurred before the domain join or after. I do know that when I un-joined the domain, it still didn't work. I'll try this tomorrow and if it does work, I'll have to conclude it was a bug or more likely a conflict in the Debian distro which, as I've mentioned, runs lots of odd little programs that purport to help you out.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Thanks for your detailed explanation, I get your point ;) Let us know if it works.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
I've successfully created an Domain Controller/Active Directory, joined  XP and Windows workstations, created a new user, gave the user Remote Desktop permissions and ... RDC'd from my home laptop to the Remote WIN7 workstation without problem!!! So all this must have had something to do with a bug or interference by something in the Debian distro of Linux!

I've been using Slackware for years, but wanted to move to Debian because it seemed to have a much easier package update mechanism (apt-get) and have lots more already ported packages out there. But, Slackware has always been very bullet-proof and this whole exercise of starting from scratch with Slackware went much smoother than when I did it with Debian. So, back to Slackware for servers at least.

Sorry for the wild goose chase!
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
>> Sorry for the wild goose chase!
No problem ;) Thanks for your feedback.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
I sorted out my own self-inflicted issue.

Fellows: thanks for your participation
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