Step-by-Step: Terminal Services Server Configuration
Updated: December 30, 2001

This guide shows how to setup Terminal Services on the server versions of Windows, namely NT 4.0 Server, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.  Terminal Services is not part of the other Windows families.

Looking for a way to remote control your server without actually sitting in front of it?  If you have one of the Server editions of Windows then you're in luck.  You can use Terminal Services which works quite well and it's free!

Terminal Services runs in two modes: Remote Administration and Application Server Mode.  We're interested in the Remote Administration mode because it is what we want to do and because the Application Server mode requires additional licensing stuff that we don't want to deal with nor pay for.

Here is an overview of how Terminal Services works.  You have Terminal Services run on your Server and it sits there and waits for a remote computer to connect to it.  This will be referred to as "Terminal Services Server" or "TS Server".  How does a remote computer connect to Terminal Services?  There are two ways.

The first way is to install a Terminal Services client on each of the computers you will use to remotely administer the server.  This will be referred to as "Terminal Services Client" or "TS Client".  You will have to create client disks using a built-in program.  This method works well, but you have to install the Terminal Services Client software on each computer you use to administer the server.  This could be a problem if you want to have the freedom to remotely control your server from a variety of places such as school, the library, or from a friends computer.  I don't think you want to install the client in all of those places. However, this method is fairly secure because the only people who can administer your server also need the TS client.

The second way requires that you install a special module called the Terminal Services Advanced Client which can be downloaded from  This will be called the "Terminal Services Advanced Client" or "TSAC".  I have no idea what Microsoft decided to call it "Advanced Client" because there is really nothing advanced about it. This module allows you to log into Terminal Services via any computer that has a web browser and Active X.  Of course there are still passwords required, but you get the convenience of administering your server from any computer connected to the Internet.

These two methods of connecting to Terminal Services will be covered in different articles.  Which of the two methods you use to access Terminal Services is your choice.

Let's get started.

Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components.
Scroll down until you see the Terminal Services listing.

Check the box that is labeled "Terminal Services".  For remote administration, you DO NOT need to check the box labeled "Terminal Services Licensing".  Click on "Next"

This next window allows you to choose between "Remote Administration Mode" and "Application Server Mode".  We are interested in the Remote Administration Mode so that we can manage the server from across the Internet.  The Application Server Mode requires special licensing that means more $$$.  Click on "Next".

Windows will start configuring your selection.

Here is the prompt asking for the location of your Windows 2000 Advanced Server CD.  Just type in the proper path to the CD location.

Hint: If you have the disk space, you can copy the entire Windows 2000 Advanced Server CD onto your hard disk in a storage directory so that you don't have to go looking for the CD every time you install a new component.  On my server, I don't even have a CD-ROM drive, so having the entire CD on the hard disk is very handy!

Windows will now continue to install Terminal Services until you see this screen.  Click on "Finish".

You will now get a prompt to restart your computer.  Close all of your applications and save your files and click "Yes" to reboot.

Once your computer reboots, it's time to configure Terminal Services.

Here we go: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools

This is where the Terminal Services are controlled from.

Let's take a look at the Terminal Services Manager.  Double click on the "Terminal Services Manager" icon.

Here we can see who is connected to the Terminal Services and other monitoring information.  Nothing to really do here.  Just to keep tabs on who is remotely administering your server.

Next, we'll look at the Terminal Services Configuration.  Double click on the "Terminal Services Configuration" icon.

Click on "Server Settings".  Here you can change the settings of how Terminal Services runs.  Everything can be safely left at the default settings.

Now that Terminal Services is running on the server, we need to allow the client computers to connect to the server.  Remember that there are two ways connect the the server using Terminal Services.  The first is to install a small Terminal Services client program on each client computer.  The other way is to access the Terminal Services Server though the Terminal Services Advanced Client (TS Web Client).

Note: By default, Terminal Services Server and Client talk to each other over port 3389.  You can change this port number through a registry hack.  However, if you decide to change the port number, you must make the described changes on the server and client side (the changes are different for the server and client).  Here is the how to do it:  How to Change Terminal Server's Port

Next step: Terminal Services Client Configuration

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