Concurrent Windows XP Pro Remote Desktop Sessions

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Windows XP Home does not allow for any sort of Remote Desktop access. However, spending a lot more money for the Professional version, and you're given access to the Terminal Services service, which allows for one Remote Desktop connection. Please note, however, you're still restricted to a single concurrent logged-in session.

Now, if you're in a small business environment and don't have access to tools like Novell's ZenWorks, remotely assisting and/or administering the Windows boxes on your network is not only a pain for you, but a serious disruption on the end users. Using an old version of the Terminal Services DLL, we're going to work around this single session limitation, and bring it up to five. Please note, we're not by any means condoning violating your EULA. This is simply an ease-of-administration technique.

In order to get concurrent sessions in Remote Desktop working, follow the steps below exactly:

  1. Download the file and extract it somewhere you can find it again.
  2. Reboot into Safe Mode. This is necessary to remove Windows file protection.
  3. Copy the termserv.dll from the zip archive to %windir%\System32 and %\ServicePackFiles\i386. Delete the termserv.dll from the dllcache folder: %windir%\System32\dllcache. Note: On my fresh installs of Windows XP Pro SP2, I didn't have the ServicePackFiles or dllcache folders. In those cases, do nothing extra.
  4. Merge the contents of Concurrent Session SP2.reg file from the zip archive into your system registry by double-clicking the file.
  5. If it's not already enabled, enable Fast User Switching from Control Panels -> User Accounts -> Change the way users log on or off.
  6. Open the Group Policy Editor by going to Start -> Run and typing gpedit.msc. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Terminal Services Enable 'Limit Number of Connections and set it to any number. Even with the work-around, higher numbers than 5 have no effect, you'll only ever get as many as 5 connections. This is the setting that allows more than a single user to be logged on.
  7. Reboot the system into normal mode and you should have concurrent Remote Desktop Session capability.

If something fails, you can revert back with the termserv_sp2.dll file, found in the zip archive.

A few related files and links of interest:

Credit for this article goes to user vishnu over at sig9.