Before we being the article obvious from the Title, lets try and answer a simple question first,

What are Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Services?

Terminal Services provides the ability to host multiple, simultaneous client sessions on Windows Server

Terminal Services is capable of directly hosting compatible multi-user client desktops running on a variety of Windows-based and non Windows-based computers.

Organizations are always searching for ways to reduce the costs of ownership and this is one of the major goals of Terminal Services. Terminal Services lets enterprises more easily and cost-efficiently accomplish this goal by allowing organizations to:

  • Centrally deploy and manage Windows-based applications.


Terminal Server Interactions with RDP

Now that we have breiefly explain about Remote Desktop services, lets start building a remote Desktop server on a Windows 2012 R2 Host.

A step by step guide to build a Windows 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services deployment.

RDS, (Remote Desktop Services) allows you to have a powerful server that all your users connect to using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). You can think of it as a computer that lots of people remote desktop into at the same time, however they all have their own user session and desktop, and are completely unaware of each other. All applications are installed once and available for any user to run. The user can remote into the server using the Remote Desktop Connection Manager included in Windows or more often than not can connect from thin clients, in fact they can connect from anything that implements the Remote Desktop Protocol.


Things to Watch Out For:

  • Application Licensing: Not every application can be installed on a Remote Desktop Server, The application has to be Terminal Server Aware, A prime example is Office 2010. If you want to install Office on a RDS Server you will need the Volume License version, or you won’t be able to install it
  • Client Access Licenses: Connecting to a RDS Server also requires licenses in the form of Per User or Per Device Client Access Licenses, this is what allows more than a single user to remote into the server. Although you will still need to purchase licenses, buying CALs is way cheaper than buying everyone a new Windows 7 license.

Before we start keep in mind its not recommended to make Terminal Server or RDS  on a Domain Controller for security reasons, also if you still set it up on a DC, remember that by default a DC do not allow domain users login so that will need to be tweaked. If you plan to connect to applications with the remote web site (RDWEB) and do not want an annoying certificate error for your users then you will need a certificate which matches the A Record you want to hit externally. If you plan to publish applications and want to connect to it via remote web site (RDWEB), ensure that you have the correct trusted (Third party like Godaddy) certificate with the correct name ( name of your RDweb site) installed on the Terminal Server.

Windows 2012 Install Remote Desktop Services-

Log on to the Domain Controller,  as with all other roles we need to first launch Server Manager so we can install the Remote Desktop Services Role, once launched then select “Manage” from the top right hand corner and select Add Roles and Features




You will now see the standard welcome splash screen, click next to continue. On the next screen you get to choose what type of Installation type we are doing. Select Remote Desktop Services Installation. Then click next.


Select “Remote Desktop Services installation”. Click Next


Select Deployment Type



Although Quick Start might be a valid option for a single server deployment, leave the default selected. This will explain the steps necessary to install Remote Desktop Services in greater detail.

Click Next.

Select Session-based desktop deployment


Click Next.

Review Role Services



Review the services that will be installed.
Click Next.

Specify RD Connection Broker server



Click the member server and click the Add button.
Click Next.

Specify RD Web Access server

Check Install the RD Web Access role on the RD Connection Broker server.
Click Next.



Specify RD Session Host server

Click the member server and click the Add button.
Click Next.




Now sometimes, on clicking next, we get the above screenshot and no matter how many times we reboot the system, same problem persists.

This tip shows a registry key that might cause an incorrect error while trying to deploy a RDS environment.


Exists, if so delete it and try again. Of course it is recommended to back up the registry before doing so.

Now, Confirm selections




Check Restart the destination server automatically if required.
Click Deploy.

And, View progress



Now Your System will be rebooted.


After reboot In Server Manager click Remote Desktop Services and scroll down to the overview.


As you can see the deployment is missing a RD Gateway server and a RD Licensing server.

Installing the missing Remote Desktop Services Roles

Click the Add RD Licensing server button.

Select a server

RD Licensing can be installed either on the same server or any other server. If you want to install RD license on some other server, then log in to that server, Add Roles and Features in that server and install RD Licensing in it. rest of the steps will be same as mentioned below.

Install RD Licensing on other server-

Login to the Server you want to install RD Licensing -> Open Server Manager -> Add Roles adn Features -> Role Based or Feature Based Installation -> Select Server -> in the server Roles Window, check the RDS option -> click the down arrow -> check the RD Licensing Option -> Next -> Add the Require Features -> Confirm and Install it.


In this Article, I am selecting same server, but you can choose different server by mentioning its IP or name in the filter box in the Below screenshot.


Click the domain controller and click the Add button.
Click Next.


Confirm selections


Click Add.

View progress



Wait until the role service is deployed. No restart is needed.


Click Close.

Voila :), so all is done , Go ahead and get praised for all the hardwork from your project Manager


Feel free to report new issues on our forum or You also can open a paid support ticket with us here











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Arshdeep Singh

A computer science  engineer by profession and a tech geek at heart. Love to get my hands dirty with upcoming technologies. A positive thinker with high creativity, always looking for new Challenges, keen to find the key for every lock. 

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