In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to open a remote desktop session with admin rights, also known as using the mstsc/admin command.
Why would you want to open Remote Desktop RDP with admin rights?
You would want to open Remote Desktop (RDP) with admin rights to perform tasks on a remote computer that requires elevated privileges, i.e. to perform administrative functions on the target computer during that RDP session.
Difference between remote desktop sessions with and without admin rights
The difference between a remote desktop session with admin rights as compared to one without admin rights is that; a remote desktop session without admin rights does not permit the user to perform admin tasks, like what is described above, with admin rights those tasks can be performed. Additionally, when connecting to a remote computer via a RDP session without admin rights that session will require a CAL for use, with admin rights you will not consume a CAL. (A max of 2 concurrent connected sessions are allowed)
Benefits of using admin rights
Not using a Windows Client Access License (CAL) when connecting to a remote computer with admin rights (conditions and limitations apply, they are):
- There can only be 2 active admin RDP sessions at a time
- The Remote Desktop Service (RDS) role must be installed on the target server
- Your user account must be a part of the Administrator group on the target server to perform admin tasks.
You can perform administrative tasks, like (not limited to):
- Manage user accounts (create, delete, change passwords)
- Install/uninstall programs/apps
- Change system configurations (registry edits, policy changes, system services changes etc.)
- Manipulate file and folder ownership for all accounts on that computer
How to open Remote Desktop session with admin rights
There are many ways to launch an RDP session with admin rights. In this section we are going to use the RUN feature.
Hit the windows icon on your computer keyboard + R. This will launch the RUN dialog box.
Type (without the quotes) “mstsc /admin” then hit Enter or click OK.
Type the target server/computer name and click Show Options.
Enter your User name and click Connect.
Enter your password for the Username you entered, then Click OK.
Once your password is correct you will be logged onto the remote computer.
You have now successfully accessed your remote computer with admin rights (mstsc /admin command).
MSTSC Command Windows
MSTSC is the official command for Remote Desktop on Windows computers. The mstsc command can be used from the command prompt to perform special and specific tasks quickly along with parameters also called switches. Some switch example are:
/v:computer: Specifies the remote computer to which you want to connect.
Mstsc /v:computer1 – Launches the RDP connection immediately. It only prompts for your Username and Password for authentication.
/f: Starts remote desktop connection in fullscreen mode..
Mstsc /f – Launches the RDP connection in fullscreen mode.
/admin: Log in as an administrator.
Mstsc /admin – Launches the RDP connection in admin mode.
/w:width /h:height: Specifies the screen size of the remote desktop.
Mstsc /w:1024 /h:800 – Launches the RDP connection with the screen at width 1024 and height 800
/edit: Open an .rdp file so you can edit.
Mstsc /edit:computer1.rdp – This launches the specified RDP file computer1.rdp file to be edited (you must have saved the RDP file to use this switch to open and edit that file)
You can combine switches. Like this
Mstsc /v:computer1 /admin – This launches the RDP connection immediately with admin rights.
Mstsc /v:computer1 /admin /f – This does the same thing as the previous example with the addition of opening the session in full screen mode.
There are more than 15 switches that can be used with the MSTSC command. Details can be found by typing mstsc /help in the command prompt to see the full list and their descriptions.
RDP made easy with V2 Cloud
Launching an RDP session with admin rights using V2 Cloud is much easier than what was just described. Compared to accessing RDP connections with admin rights, you’re getting some benefits when there is:
- No need to know or meet the mandatory conditions for remote admin connections
- No need to keep memory of limitations
- No need to learn or research the command prompt (CLI) mstsc switches/parameters.
How V2 Cloud makes using RDP with admin rights easy!
After you have signed up and created your account. Download and install the Windows desktop app. Then do the following:
Step 1: Launch the desktop app and select administrator, this is under your VM name on the navigation bar to the left.
The application will launch the Windows RDP client. This will be preconfigured with the necessary configurations to connect to your VM.
Step 2: You’ll notice, under the Logon Settings section, that the “User name” field is pre-configured with the target computer name and the account being used to connect to the remote computer. (in this example administrator)
Step 3: (Only necessary at your first logon)
Select the check box that says “Don't ask me again for connections to this computer” then click Connect. This can be done to bypass this step for subsequent launches to this remote computer. It is safe, because you know where this connection is coming from.
Congratulations, you have successfully connected to your remote computer using RDP with admin rights, the V2 Cloud way.