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Can’t connect to RDP for Windows VPS

There are several settings affecting the Remote Desktop session or connection of users. If you cannot connect to RDP, then it is highly likely that a misconfiguration has been made, which you’ll need to check and troubleshoot. This article will guide you through the following most common settings and troubleshooting methods you should look into when an RDP connection error occurs:

  1. Check & Enable RDP Settings
  2. Enable RDP Rule in Firewall
  3. Add Logon Rights
  4. Set the Connection Limit
  5. Manual Start Remote Desktop Services

Check & Enable RDP Settings

If the option “Don’t allow connections to this computer” is enabled, no user will be able to remotely connect to your computer even if they have been added to the Remote Desktop Users group. Ensure that the Remote Connections option is enabled by following the instructions below:

  1. Click Start and open Server Manager.
  2. Click Local Server from the left-side menu.
  3. Under Properties, you will find the status of your Remote Desktop, which in this case is most likely Disabled.
    Click on the Disabled status link for Remote Desktop.
  4. On the System Properties window, select Allow remote connections to this computer.
    You can also select Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication for a more secure connection.
  5. Click OK to save.

Enable RDP Rule in Firewall

Enable the rule that permits access through the Windows Firewall by following the instructions below:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Security then click Windows Firewall.
  3. From the left-side menu, click on Advanced settings.
  4. On the next window, click Inbound Rules from the left-side panel under Windows Firewall with Advanced Security on Local Computer.
  5. Look for Remote Desktop - User Mode (TCP-In) and click on it.
  6. Click Enable Rule from the right-side panel.

Add Logon Rights

Adding users and groups to the Remote Desktop Users group gives them permission to remotely connect to the server. You can do this via Remote tab or via Local Users and Groups option by following the respective instructions below:

If via Remote tab:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click System.
  2. Click Remote settings from the left-side menu.
  3. Click on the Remote tab and click Select Users.
  4. Add the users and groups that need server Remote Desktop access and click OK.

If via Local Users and Groups:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click Computer Management.
  2. Click on the [>] symbol beside Local Users and Groups from the left-side menu and click on the Groups folder.
  3. Double-click Remote Desktop Users and click Add.
  4. Click Object Types to select the type of objects you need to find then click OK.
  5. Click Locations to select where to search for the specified objects then click OK.
  6. In the box under Enter the object names to select, enter the name you need to add then click Check Names.
  7. Once the name is located, click OK.

Set the Connection Limit

By default, RDP connections are set to allow an unlimited number of connections to the server. If misconfigured, an error may occur when trying to connect as you may have limited the number of users or RDP connections in the Group Policy. To check and fix this, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the Group Policy function on your computer.
    Click on the Start button or the Search button beside it, type “group policy”, and click on Edit group policy to open it.
  2. Under Local Computer Policy, click Computer Configuration from the left-side menu.
  3. Navigate to the following location:
    Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections: Limit number of connections
  4. Select Enabled.
  5. In the RD Maximum Connections allowed box, enter the number of connections you wish to allow then click OK.

Manual Start Remote Desktop Services

The Remote Desktop services may have failed to automatically start, resulting to RDP connection errors. To fix this, you can manually check and start the RDP services by following the instructions below:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click Computer Management.
    Or, click on the Start button and click on the Windows Administrative Tools icon, then double-click Computer Management.
  2. Click on the [>] symbol beside Services and Applications from the left-side menu and click on Services.
  3. Look for the following Remote Desktop services and ensure that the Status says “Started”:

    • Remote Desktop Configuration
    • Remote Desktop Services
    • Remote Desktop Services UserMode Port Redirector
  4. If Status does not show as “Started”, right-click on the service and click Start.

Congratulations! You just learned of the most common settings and troubleshooting methods for cases when you cannot connect to RDP.

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