Remote Desktop Plus

Once upon a time in a company far, far away, I needed to find a way to have users automatically logon to a Remote Desktop session with a specific set of credentials. I searched everywhere, and although I did find some tools, none of them were exactly what I was looking for. So I decided to make one myself. With the help of a lot of information at RemkoWeijnen.nl and examples at Obviex, I managed to write my own utility, saving me tons of work. So a big thank you to all the posters at Remko’s site!

Having done that however, I saw more possibilities. Our network consists of about 500 servers. A good system administrator is a lazy system administrator and although I don’t know about the good part, at least I’ve got the lazy part nailed down. I don’t want to enter my credentials every time I connect to a server. Or save them and then have to resave them over and over again, every time I change a password.

So as a way to spend what little free time I have left, I started writing Remote Desktop Plus. It’s Remote Desktop, but with some added features. Basically it allows you to launch a Remote Desktop session using a username and password entered from the command line (autologin) or imported from a saved profile. But that’s not all…

 

Features

  • Login automatically from the command line.
  • It’s free. :-)
  • Supports launching and autologin of RemoteApps.
  • Remote Desktop Plus (RDP+) is not a clone or copy of Remote Desktop. It’s just a shell for the normal Remote Desktop client (mstsc.exe) on your computer.
  • Automatically trusts all local resources and the remote computer. No more annoying questions like: Do you trust the computer you are connecting to?
  • Allows you to save credentials (securely) in profiles. Profiles normally only work for the user who saved them and only on the computer on which they were saved. Profiles can be useful when administering a large amount of computers from a single point of administration. Changed the password for Administrator? Just edit the profile and you’re done.
  • Passwords entered from the command line can be encrypted for enhanced security. Useful when starting Remote Desktop from batch files or published applications (Citrix).
  • Remote Desktop Plus features a special restricted kiosk mode in which only the computer, username, password, or any combination thereof can be changed. When used as a published application, this allows you to grant (internal or external) support departments remote access to a range of servers in a much safer way.
  • You can specify a range of computers the user is allowed to connect to. Any attempt to connect to computers not in the list will be denied.
  • Ability to save frequently used connections as favorites for easy launching.
  • When logging on to a computer with local credentials, Remote Desktop Plus will try to determine the actual computername, so you don’t have to specify a computername in front of the username (like nldb01sa). This is also useful when logging in to computers using an IP address instead of a computername (rdp /v:10.140.10.1 /u:administrator) or when logging on to Windows clusters.
  • Supports connecting through a Remote Desktop Gateway server.
  • When using custom .rdp files, RDP+ will save valuable text space in the task bar by not displaying the name of the .rdp file in the title bar.
  • Accepts both /console and /admin. No need to remember which version of Remote Desktop and/or which Service Pack for XP you’re running.
  • Can set the working screen size to either the maximum available size (so it looks like a normal maximized application) or to a adjustable size – by setting either a margin or specifying a percentage of the screen – so you can still move it around a bit.
  • When using multiple monitors, you can specify on which monitor the Remote Desktop session should be started.
  • Supports specifying a startup program (i.e. alternate shell) from the command line. You can use both local and remote environment variables in the command.
  • Features an optional system tray icon for launching and managing your favorites, and for quickly switching to currently active Remote Desktop sessions.
  • Launch favorites from the command line.
  • Normally Remote Desktop times out after about 30 seconds when connecting to a non-responsive (or still booting) computer. But the age of modems is a thing of the past and time is precious, so Remote Desktop Plus times out after only 3 seconds.
  • You can set your own title bar text and specify your own icon.
  • Has the ability to disable the close button in the title bar and remove the connection bar, thus forcing users to logoff gracefully instead of just disconnecting and leaving their remote sessions open.
  • Allows you to specify in the command line which drives or drive types to redirect and/or which drive(s) to exclude from redirection.
  • Ever had to login to multiple servers at once? Just enter those servers separated by commas and off you go.
  • Remote Desktop Plus also has a load balancing and failover feature. Specify multiple servers and RDP+ will randomly pick one of the servers to connect to. If this server is unreachable, RDP+ will skip it and cycle trough the other servers in the list, until it finds a responsive one. You can use this for example for legacy RemoteApps which are hosted on multiple servers without a session broker.
  • Has the ability to log all connections in a log file or the event log.
  • Still missing some command line parameters? RDP+ supports every option supported by the Remote Desktop .rdp file, using a special command line parameter. This gives you an unprecedented control over every aspect of the session, straight from the command line and without the need for specific RDP+ command line switches.
  • Some settings and options can be controlled through Group Policies. Group Policy templates for these settings are available for download on the site.
  • RDP+ has a very small footprint. It consists of a single file, less then 250 KB. No installation required on the client.
  • Contains no spyware, adware, browser toolbars, nag screens, phone home mechanisms or any of that stuff. And it never will.
  • And much more…
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Screenshots

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Note: The GUI only appears when no remote computer has been specified or when the command line option /gui is used.

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Command line parameters

Remote Desktop Plus supports the following command line parameters:

rdp ["connection file"] [/v:computer[:port][,...]] [[/u:username] [/p:password | /pe:encrypted_password] | /i[mport][:profile]]
[/domain[:domain]] [/console | /admin] [/[no]printers] [/nodrives | drives[:[-]drive[,...]]] [/[no]sound] [/[no]wallpaper]
[/f[ullscreen] | /fit[:fitvalue] | /max | [/w:width] [/h:height]] [/pos:location] [/mon:monitor] [/title:"title text"] [/icon:"icon file"]
[/start:"program"] [/noclose] [/ontop] [/wait] [/disconnect[:seconds]] | [/remoteapp:"||remoteapp"]] [/lb | /t[:seconds]]
[/multimon] [/o:"option[,...]"] [/encrypt] [/gui] [/kiosk[:mask]] [/[list]allowed:target[,...]] [/log[:"logfile"]] [/eventlog] [/tray]
[/register] [/batch] [@"command file"] | [/fav:favorite]

"connection file"The name of a .rdp file to be used for the connection.
/v:computer[:port][,...]Specifies the remote computer(s) to which you want to connect.
/u:usernameThe username to be used for logging in to the specified computer.
/p:passwordFor automatic logon, specify the password for the user.
/pe:encrypted_passwordSpecifies an encrypted password for enhanced security. Use /encrypt to generate. Also implies /kiosk.
/i[mport][:profile]Read username and password from the specified (or default) profile.
/domain[:domain]Specifies an optional default domain for the user. Defaults to the domain of the current user.
/console or /adminConnects you to the console/administrative session of a server running Windows Server 2003 or higher.
/[no]printersEnforce or disable printer redirection.
/nodrivesDisable drive redirection.
/drives[:[-]drive[,...]]Enforce or disable drive redirection for the specified drives or drive types.
/[no]soundEnable or disable sound from the remote computer to be played on the local computer.
/[no]wallpaperEnforce or suppress displaying the remote computer’s wallpaper.
/f or /fullscreenStart Remote Desktop in full-screen mode.
/fit[:fitvalue]Fit the remote screen size to the local screen. Enter a margin in pixels or a percentage of the local screen.
/maxFit the remote screen to its maximum size.
/w:widthSpecifies the width of the Remote Desktop session window, in pixels or as percentage of the screen.
/h:heightSpecifies the height of the Remote Desktop session window, in pixels or as percentage of the screen.
/pos:locationSpecifies the starting location of the session window. Use either x,y coordinates or ‘center’.
/mon:monitorStart session on specified monitor number (1 or higher).
/title:"title text"Text to be displayed in the task and title bar.
/icon:"icon file"Icon to be displayed in the task and title bar.
/start:"program"Specifies the remote program to use as shell.
/nocloseDisable the close button in the title bar. Also removes all buttons in the connection bar.
/ontopForce the Remote Desktop session window to be always on top. Also disables the minimize button and removes all buttons in the connection bar.
/waitWait for the Remote Desktop session to end before continuing.
/disconnect[:seconds]Disconnect the session automatically after the specified amount of seconds. Default is 10 seconds.
/remoteapp:"||remoteapp"Specifies the RemoteApp to launch at the remote computer.
/lbUse load balancing to connect to one of the specified remote computers.
/t[:seconds]Try to connect to the computer indefinitely or for the specified amount of seconds until a connection is established.
/multimonConfigures the Remote Desktop session monitor layout to be identical to that of the client.
/o:"option,[,...]"Specify one or more extended options in .rdp file syntax format.
/encryptDisplay an extra button in the GUI for obtaining the encrypted password string for use with /pe.
/guiForce displaying the GUI.
/kiosk[:mask]Restrict the GUI to a mode in which only the computer, user and/or password can be entered.
/allowed:target[,...]Only allow connections to the specified names or IP addresses. Both wild cards and regular expressions (enclosed in parentheses) are allowed.
/listallowed:target[,...]Set the computer field to a list of only the specified computers or IP addresses. Wild cards or regular expressions cannot be used.
/log[:"log file"]Logs all started sessions in the specified file. Defaults to rdp.log in the directory containing the program.
/trayDisplay a system tray icon for access to your favorites or any active Remote Desktop session.
/registerRegister the .rdpc command file extension and add the program to the search path.
/batchSuppress all standard error message popups. Errors can be handled through the exit codes.
@"command file"Read command line arguments or extended options from the specified file.
/fav:favoriteDirectly starts the specified favorite. Ignores all other parameters.
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Examples

rdp /v:nlmail01 /u:administrator /p:P@ssw0rd! /max /mon:2

rdp /i:"Domain Admin" /fit /drives /noprinters /title:"%s (%u) – Remote Desktop"

rdp "G:\RDP\Support.rdp" /v:nlfps01 /u:helpdesk@donkz.local /drives:fixed,-c:,p: /log:G:\RDP\rdp%y%m%d.log

rdp /v:nlts03 /remoteapp:"||FileZilla" /u:donkz\ftp /p:Tr@ns1t

rdp /i:"Backup User" /kiosk /allowed:"10.10.*.*,nlfps*.donkz.local,(nl(app|db)\d{2}(%USERDNSDOMAIN%|))" /w:1024 /h:768 /domain:donkz

rdp /v:nlapp01 /i:"Control Center" /noclose /o:"redirectcomports:i:1, redirectsmartcards:i:1″

rdp /v:nlts01,nlts02,nlts03,nlts04 /lb /remoteapp:"||e-Help Client 3.0″ /u:donkz\helpdesk /pe:dixYA/m8pOHVVkQLAI9ifQ==

rdp /v:nldmz01 /u:donkz\dmz /p:P@ssw0rd! /start:"mstsc \\nlfps01\config$\RDP\DMZ.rdp /f" /title:"Standby Support"
/icon:"%WINDIR%\System32\shell32.dll,43″

rdp /v:nldc05,nldc06 /i /console /fit:35

rdp /v:nlapp02 /u:donkz\internetkiosk /pe:356zm6vRajBcS3mnnudOOh43bZKSWewQ /noprinters /nodrives /start:"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe -k http://www.microsoft.com"

rdp /v:nlapp03 /u:donkz\helpdesk /start:"\"C:\Program Files\Remote Control\rc.exe\"" \"\\nlfps01\Config$\RC\\%COMPUTERNAME\%\%USERNAME%.cfg\""

rdp /v:nlfps02 @options.rdpc /kiosk:011 /gui /log /tray

rdp /u:%USERDOMAIN%\%USERNAME% /kiosk:101 /gui /fit:95% /eventlog

rdp /kiosk:101 /listallowed:nlapp01,nlapp02,nlapp03 /noclose /ontop /u:Student1

rdp /fav:"Batch server"

Myself, I use the second example the most. Just create a shortcut in your Quick Launch toolbar and you only have to enter the desired server name.

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Notes

Profiles

Normally profiles are saved with the highest level of security, which means they can only be used using the account which created them and only on the computer they were created on. As of version 5.0, you can now also save profiles using a less strict security, which means they’ll be available on any other computer and will ‘roam’ with you.
Please note however that because no external password key is used, a determined individual with the right tools (debuggers, disassemblers), the right knowledge of programming, access to the registry or computer of the user, and some other ingredients, could potentially break the encryption, so use this option with care.

Also new is the add-on tool RDPProfile.exe, which allows you to automatically create profiles from the command line. You could use this from a login script to pre-populate some profiles for end users.

Startup program

If you need to use double quotes in the /start startup program, you have to put a backslash () in front of each quote. You can also use environment variables in your command, both local and from the remote computer. To use remote environment variables, you must precede the percent signs with a backslash.

Combined example:
rdp /v:nlapp03 /u:donkzdomain\helpdesk /start:""C:\Program Files\Remote Control\rc.exe" "\\nlfps01\Config$\RC\\%COMPUTERNAME\%-%USERNAME%.cfg""

If Remote Desktop Plus is started by user JohnDoe, the last part of the command will be expanded to "\\nlfps01\Config$\RC\NLAPP03-JohnDoe.cfg".

Title

You can set a user defined text as your title bar by using the option /title. You can use local environment variables in your title plus these two special variables:
%s: Will be expanded to the server name you’ve connected to.
%u: Will be expanded to the username used to login to the remote computer.

Example:
rdp /i:"Domain Admin" /fit /title:"%s (%u) – Remote Desktop"

When connecting to the server nlfps01, this would result in the title bar text nlfps01 (DONKZDOMAIN\Administrator) – Remote Desktop.

Icon

You can also use your own icon for the session by using the option /icon. This can be either a normal icon file (G:\Icons\Remote.ico) or an executable or .dll file (%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe). For files containing multiple icons, you can specify the desired icon using its index (%WINDIR%\System32\shell32.dll,43).

Please note that using /icon will also force an implied /wait, due to the way Windows retains (or does not retain) dynamically changed icons when the program which requested the changes is closed.

RemoteApps

You can start a RemoteApp with Remote Desktop Plus, either from the command line or specified in the .rdp file. You can enter the RemoteApp using either its name ("||FileZilla") or the full path to the executable (C:\Windows\System32\Notepad.exe). When using the name, always enclose it between double quotes, otherwise your system may confuse the double pipe signs with the double pipes used in batch scripting.
All options concerning the screen (like /fit and /mon) are ignored when using RemoteApps. The same goes for /title and /icon. Due to the way the Remote Desktop client launches all RemoteApps in a general, embedded instance of mstsc.exe, the option /wait is also not supported.

Remote Desktop Gateway

Remote Desktop Plus can login to remote servers through a Remote Desktop Gateway. There are no command line switches, so all options must be configured from the normal Remote Desktop client and saved in a .rdp file, or entered through the /o option. When you select the option Use my RD Gateway credentials for the remote computer, RDP+ will also automatically login to the RD Gateway. If not, you will be prompted for credentials.

Kiosk mode

With the kiosk mode, you can set the GUI to a special restricted mode, in which only the fields for the target computer, username and password are shown. Using a 3-character ‘mask’, you can enable or disable any of the three fields. Each character in the mask stands for one of the three fields (computername, username, password). A 1 will enable the field, a 0 will disable it. For example, /kiosk:011 will disable the computername field and only allow the user to enter the username and password.
The kiosk mode will default to 100 when a mask has not been specified.

Allowed targets list

Using the /allowed command line option, you can restrict users to only a selected range of computers. If the user tries to connect to a computer which is not in the allowed target list, the connection will be denied. This can be especially useful for publishing RDP+ to ‘untrusted’ users.

You can use both wildcards and regular expressions in the list. RDP+ will also try to translate hostnames to IP addresses and vice versa for its matching. So for example, when using /kiosk:100 /allowed:127.0.0.*, a target computer of localhost will be considered valid.
Enclose targets in parentheses to use regular expressions. Environment variables are also supported.
Example: rdp /allowed:"10.10.*.*,nlfps*.donkz.local,(nl(app|db)\d{2}(%USERDNSDOMAIN%|))"

Note: When using the pipe sign (|) in a regular expression, be sure to enclose the entire string in double quotes to prevent conflicts with batch scripting.

You can also use the /listallowed command. This will transform the editable computer textbox in the GUI to a listbox with only the allowed computers listed. This can be more user friendly for third parties. Please note however that wild cards and regular expressions are not

Drive redirection

You can specify the drives you want to redirect to the remote computer by using the /drives option. Drives can be specified either by name or by drive type (Fixed, Removable, Network, CD-ROM). To redirect drives that get plugged in later, you can use the drive type Dynamic.
You can also exclude certain drives by preceding them with the minus sign. For example, /drives:fixed,-c:,p: will redirect drive P: and all fixed drives except C:.

If you don’t specify any drive or type, /drives will default to all drives, including the ones plugged in later.

Extended .rdp options

By using the /o switch, you can specify every option supported by the .rdp file. Options should be given in the exact same syntax as used in .rdp files. You can specify multiple options by separating them by commas. To use commas within options, precede them with a backslash.

Examples:
rdp /start:terminal.exe /o:"shell working directory:s:H:\My Documents, redirectcomports:i:1″
rdp /remoteapp:"||ProdDB" /o:”remoteapplicationcmdline:s:proddb, sqlsa, P@ssw0rd, remoteapplicationname:s:Production Database”

The native RDP+ command line switches always take precedence over the /o options. So if you use rdp /printers /o:"redirectprinters:i:0″, then /printers will win.

For an overview of (most of) the possible settings, you may find this page useful.

Log file

You can log all started sessions to a semicolon-delimited log file using the /log option. If you don’t specify the name of the log file, it will default to the file rdp.log in the directory containing rdp.exe.
If you do specify a filename, the name can be further customized through both local environment variables (like %COMPUTERNAME%), and some special variables:
%s: Will be expanded to the server name you’re connecting to.
%u: Will be expanded to the username used to login to the remote computer.
%c: Will be expanded to the name of the local client computer. When starting RDP+ locally, this will be the same as %COMPUTERNAME%. When starting RDP+ from within a Terminal Server or Citrix session, %c will contain the computername of the originating client computer (i.e. %CLIENTNAME%).
%y: The 4-digit representation of the current year.
%m: The 2-digit representation of the current month.
%d: The 2-digit representation of the current day.

Example:
rdp /log:%y%m%d-%s.log

When connecting to the server nlfps01 on the 31st of December, 2011, this would result in the log file 20111231-nlfps01.log being used.

The log file contains all kinds of information about the computer and user which started the session, and information about the target computer and how the session was started. When RDP+ is launched from within a Terminal Server or Citrix session, it will also log the computername and IP address of the originating client. This can also be useful when using thinclients.

A typical log file could look like this:

Date-Time;Local-Computer;Local-IP-Address;Windows-Version;Local-User;TS-Client;TS-IP-Address;Remote-Computer;Remote-Port;Remote-User;RDP-Version;RDC-Version;Password-Mode;Session-Type;Application
2013-03-31 11:11:40;LTP0235;10.0.1.163;Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;DONKZ\PeteL;-;-;nlfps01;3389;DONKZ\Administrator;5.0;7.1;Profile;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:14:46;LTP0235;10.0.1.163;Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;DONKZ\PeteL;-;-;nlsql01;3389;sql-sa;5.0;7.1;Password;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:17:35;DTP0019;10.0.1.157;Microsoft Windows XP Professional;DONKZ\JohnB;-;-;nlts01;3389;DONKZ\JohnB;5.0;6.1;Profile;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:19:51;NLTS01;10.10.1.110;Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise;DONKZ\JohnB;DTP0019;10.0.1.157;nlapp01.donkz.local;3389;DONKZ\Helpdesk;5.0;5.2;Encrypted Password;Alternate Shell;mmc dsa.msc
2013-03-31 11:21:42;LTP0382;10.0.1.146;Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;LTP0382\Administrator;-;-;nldc01;3389;DONKZ\Install;5.0;7.1;Password;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:23:16;NLTS02;10.10.1.111;Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard;DONKZ\CharlesV;DTP0124;10.0.1.150;10.10.2.191;3390;Support;5.0;7.1;Encrypted Password;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:26:07;NLTS02;10.10.1.111;Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard;DONKZ\Security02;WS_013184;192.168.200.15;nlapp04;3389;DONKZ\Security;5.0;7.1;Kiosk;Normal;-
2013-03-31 11:28:13;DTP0024;10.10.1.129;Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;DONKZ\TessaM;-;-;nlts01;3389;DONKZ\TimeManager;5.0;7.1;Encrypted Password;RemoteApp;||TimeManager
2013-03-31 11:34:54;LTP0235;10.0.1.163;Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;DONKZ\PeteL;-;-;nlpos82;3389;-;5.0;7.1;Password;Administrative/Console;-

Or, for better readability:

Date-TimeLocal-ComputerLocal-IP-AddressWindows-VersionLocal-UserTS-ClientTS-IP-AddressRemote-ComputerRemote-PortRemote-UserRDP-VersionRDC-VersionPassword-ModeSession-TypeApplication
2011-12-31 11:11:40LTP023510.0.1.163Microsoft Windows 7 ProfessionalDONKZ\PeteL--nlfps013389DONKZ\Administrator5.07.1ProfileNormal-
2011-12-31 11:14:46LTP023510.0.1.163Microsoft Windows 7 ProfessionalDONKZ\PeteL--nlsql013389sql-sa5.07.1PasswordNormal-
2011-12-31 11:17:35DTP001910.0.1.157Microsoft Windows XP ProfessionalDONKZJohnB--nlts013389DONKZ\JohnB5.06.1ProfileNormal-
2011-12-31 11:19:51NLTS0110.10.1.110Microsoft Windows Server 2003 EnterpriseDONKZ\JohnBDTP001910.0.1.157nlapp01.donkz.local3389DONKZ\Helpdesk5.05.2Encrypted PasswordAlternate Shellmmc dsa.msc
2011-12-31 11:21:42LTP038210.0.1.146Microsoft Windows 7 ProfessionalLTP0382\Administrator--nldc013389DONKZ\Install5.07.1PasswordNormal-
2011-12-31 11:23:16NLTS0210.10.1.111Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 StandardDONKZ\CharlesVDTP012410.0.1.15010.10.2.1913390Support5.07.1Encrypted PasswordNormal-
2011-12-31 11:26:07NLTS0210.10.1.111Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 StandardDONKZ\Security02WS_013184192.168.200.15nlapp043389DONKZ\Security5.07.1KioskNormal-
2011-12-31 11:28:13DTP002410.10.1.129Microsoft Windows 7 ProfessionalDONKZ\TessaM--nlts013389DONKZ\TimeManager5.07.1Encrypted PasswordRemoteApp||TimeManager
2011-12-31 11:34:54LTP023510.0.1.163Microsoft Windows 7 ProfessionalDONKZ\PeteL--nlpos823389-5.07.1PasswordAdministrative/Console-

Event log

Much like the /log option, the /eventlog option writes an entry in the Application event log:

Log Name: Application
Source: Remote Desktop Plus
Date: 2-04-2013 23:21:09
Event ID: 12701
Task Category: None
Level: Information
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: DTP0348
Description:
Remote Desktop session started…

Date and time: 2013-04-02 23:21:07
Computer: DTP0348
IP address: 10.0.1.198
Windows version: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
Local username: DTP0348
TS client name: -
TS IP address: -
Remote computer: nlapp03
Remote port: 3389
Remote user: DONKZ\Administrator
Remote Desktop Plus version: 5.0
Remote Desktop Connection version: 7.1
Password mode: Profile
Session type: Normal
Application: -

System tray icon

RDP+ features an optional system tray icon. This icon can be used for the following things:
- Managing and launching favorites.
- Starting a new ‘blank’ instance of RDP+.
- Quickly switching to currently active Remote Desktop sessions.
- Automatically load the tray when you start your computer.

When using the kiosk mode, the system tray reverts to a simpler mode, in which only the active sessions are available. This simple mode can also be enforced through the Group Policy.

Favorites

When creating favorites, you have the option to save them with the option Save secured (user and computer bound). This means the favorite is only available on the computer it was created on. Use this option when you have specified sensitive passwords in the command line.
When not saving it as a secure favorite, the favorite will be available on any computer you logon to when using roaming profiles. It will be saved using the same encryption /pe or Gencrypt uses, so it is still secure from prying eyes.

Command file

If you regularly use the same command line parameters, you can also put them in a separate file and specify this file with the @-parameter. RDP+ will then use the contents as its command line parameters.
You can also put normal .rdp file style options in the command file, without having to precede them with /o. This way you can use the command file as a master .rdp file.
Comments can be added by starting the comment line with a semi-colon.

Example of a command file:

; Command line
/fit /noprinters /drives:fixed /icon:Company.ico /title:"%u on %s - Remote Desktop"

; Default .rdp file options
enablesuperpan:i:1
keyboardhook:i:2

Tip: Use .rdpc as the suffix for the file and run RDP+ with the command line /register once to register the .rdpc extension to RDP+. This allows you to double click command files to immediately launch RDP+ and have the command files shown in the recent files when pinning RDP+ to the Start Menu.

Exit Codes

When starting Remote Desktop Plus from a script, you can use the option /batch to prevent RDP+ from displaying error messages. Instead you can catch potential errors through the exit codes (errorlevels) which RDP+ raises. These are the possible exit codes which can be raised:

0: No errors.
1: General undefined error.
2: Specified connection file not found.
5: Target computer not in the list of allowed targets.
29: Cannot write to the log file.
30: Profile not found.
87: Invalid command line parameter or combination of command line parameters.
161: The format of the specified path is invalid (filename of the connection file, log file or command options file).
259: No responsive server found in the list (when using /lb).
2382: Invalid notation of the specified host name or IP address.
10060: Connection timed out to the specified server.
11001: Remote hostname not found.

Please not that exit codes are only raised when RDP+ is either started with its own /wait command line switch or when you launch RDP+ from a script using the appropiate syntax to wait for completion. Examples of the latter:

Batch:
@ECHO OFF
START /WAIT rdp.exe blah blah
ECHO %ERRORLEVEL%

VBS:
Set objWSH = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Shell = objWSH.Run("rdp.exe blah blah", 1, True)
WScript.Echo Shell

PowerShell:
$Shell = Start-Process -FilePath "rdp.exe" -ArgumentList "blah blah" -Wait -Passthru
$Shell.ExitCode

Setting default options

You can set some of the command line options as the default option for Remote Desktop Plus by setting the user environment variable RDP. Currently supported are the following options: /w/h/fit/f/fullscreen, /pos/max, /mon, /[no]printers, /[no]drives, /[no]sound. [no]wallpaper, /log, /eventlog, /t, /tray and /register.
For example, you can set RDP to /fit /mon:2 /noprinters /drives:fixed.

When you set /mon to a number higher than the number of monitors attached to your computer, RDP+ will automatically fall back to monitor 1. This means you can safely set it to 2 if you always want your session to start in the second monitor when it is available.

The default options can of course be overruled by entering the option you want in the command line.
To override the display size with the fixed dimensions from the .rdp file, you can enter either specify /w or /h in the command line, without a dimension.

New in RDP 6.0 is the ability to set these options using the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\DefaultOptions or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\DefaultOptions.

Localization

As of version 5.0 you can localize RDP+ for your own language using a customizable XML file. In the download section you will find a blank template (language_template.xml) which you can use to create your own translation. Once you’re done,  save it in the directory containing rdp.exe and replace the template part in the file name with the two letter (ISO 639-1) language code for the language your computer is running. For example: language_de.xml for German.

If you’d like to help translate RDP+, you can send your completed XML files to donkz@donkz.nl and I’ll put them up in the download section. A Dutch version is already provided.

Group Policies and registry

Some of the behavior of Remote Desktop Plus can be controlled through Group Policies or registry settings. More information about this can be found on this page.

Order of preference for commands

RDP+ supports many different ways for specifying commands or options. These are processed in the following order:

  • Value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\DefaultOptions.
  • Value of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\DefaultOptions.
  • Value of the environment variable RDP.
  • Content of the command file.
  • Command line arguments.
  • Machine part of Group Policy setting (Computer Configuration).
  • User part of Group Policy settings (User Configuration).

Last setting wins.

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System requirements

  • Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher

Note: If you intend to launch Remote Desktop Plus from a local network share and you’re running a version of .NET Framework prior to 3.5 SP1, you’ll need to execute the following command once from the command prompt:

%windir%Microsoft.NETFrameworkv2.0.50727caspol -q -m -ag LocalIntranet_Zone -zone Intranet FullTrust -n "Network shares" -d "Full rights in Local Intranet zone."

If you only have .NET 4.0 installed and no previous version of .NET, Remote Desktop Plus (or any other program targeted for previous versions of .NET Framework for that matter) will fail to launch with an error Unable to find a version of the runtime to run this application. You don’t necessarily have to install an older version of .NET to fix this however.
Just create a file named rdp.exe.config with the following content and place it in the same directory as rdp.exe:

<configuration>
<startup>
<supportedRuntime version="v4.0″ />
</startup>
</configuration>

Alternatively, you can download a ready-made rdp.exe.config from the download page.

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License

Remote Desktop Plus is free to use for home, personal or corporate use. You may use and distribute the program free of charge for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, as long as end users are not charged a fee of any kind for its use.

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Download

Current version: 6.0.2
Release date: October 2, 2013

Download the file
Remote Desktop Plus 6.0.2
(downloaded 3957 times)

Click here for the complete change log.

Remote Desktop Plus consists of a single executable. No installation required.

Please feel free to leave your comments, bug reports or suggestions…

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750 comments to Remote Desktop Plus

  • Dear ..
    Can i use your library on commerse purpose..?
    of course i have to request to modify some funtion (a little bit..)

    Please answer me …

  • James

    Came across Remote Desktop Plus and might fix an issue we have for making our applications available both internally and externally. I have an rdp file, and whether I use the rdp file or use the /o option, rdp.exe has a problem with the signature. If I leave the siganture parameter blank, like: "signature:s:" rdp does not complain. If I put our signature in, which has spaces, "/" and "+" characters, rpd.exe bombs.

    Is there a way to handle the signature?

    Thanks
    James

  • Eugene

    This is an exciting application http://www.ammyy.com
    It doesn’t require installation and registration. Easy and fast app.

  • Stefan

    Hello,
    Great job. But can I give any startup arguments to the remoteapp?

    • Donkz Donkz

      Hi Stefan,

      Thanks. :)
      Not through a default parameter, but you can do it by using the /o option.
      rdp /remoteapp:"||Something" /o:"remoteapplicationcmdline:s:someparameter /otherparameter"

      Regards,
      Donkz

  • Hi

    To start off with Fantastic tool. I am using this to launch rdp sessions on thin clients. I have however noticed it is a little slower than on a pc. Approx 2seconds compared to about 0.5 sevonds ona pc. I think the issue is the tempoary file being on flash disk. The thin client also has a RAM drive Z:\. I there a way to get rdp plus to create the rdp file here rather than the user profile?

    Cheers
    Lance

    • Donkz Donkz

      Hi Lance,

      Thanks. :)
      I could probably add an extra setting to specify the folder. RDP+ uses the default temporary folder (%TEMP%), so if you would set the Z: drive as the temporary folder (through Group Policies for example), that would also do the trick. But it does have its risks of course.

      Regards,
      Donkz

  • James

    Found your app and it’s great.

    The only drawback I can see if the need to launch multiple remote apps at once.

    When I create individual shortcuts for the two remote apps I use and launch them using:

    /V:server1, server2, server3, server4 /LB /remoteapp:"||MSIE 8″

    It works perfect. I get tossed onto a random server. Then, when I launch my Outlook remote app with a similar command, I get connected to a different server.

    /V:server1, server2, server3, server4 /LB /remoteapp:"||Outlook"

    If I just use remoteapp RDP shortcuts, I get put onto one server if I launch them separately.

    I have an RDPFARM DNS entry that points to each server. I am just looking at alternative methods of load balancing versus just plain old round robin DNS.

    • Donkz Donkz

      Hi James,

      Thanks. :)

      I’m not sure if this can be fixed. The /v will allways force it to the randomly picked server. What server do you use in the RDP shortcuts? The RDPFARM alias?

      One way around it would be to use something else as your balancing algorithm. For example the last number of your IP address. But the effect would be the same as with round robin DNS. Round robin doesn’t fit your needs?

      Regards,
      Donkz

      • James

        I sometimes see one of the servers load up while the others are rarely connected to. I was using the /v: . I will try the /V: and see if that helps distribute the load.

  • Ronald

    Hi Donkz,

    I have used RDP+ for quite a long time now and it worked till recently. Now I receive the message:
    "The following error has occurred:
    Your version of Remote Desktop does not support RemoteApps"

    Any idea what can cause this??

    Thanks in advance!

    BR,

    Ronald

    • Donkz Donkz

      Hi Ronald,

      Normally this would mean you have an older version of the Remote Desktop Connection client installed. What version of Remote Desktop and Windows are you running?

      Regards,
      Donkz

  • hmm, well let’s explain it step by step:

    - When a user logins 2 registry entries will be create to make RDP+ work, 1 is HKCU\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\Profiles\%USERNAME% – Password (type DWORD and value 0) and second is HKCU\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\Profiles\%USERNAME% – user (type REG_SZ and value is domain\%USERNAME%)

    - After that the login script creates some RDP+ links, the first time a user executes the .lnk file the user will be asked to type in he’s/here password (so the password is most likely 100% correct)

    example = "rdp.exe /v:server.name.nl /multimon /remoteapp:remote_app_name /i:%USERNAME% /noprinters /nodrives /kiosk:001″

    - After typing in the verification password and hitting the enter the user get’s the error and RDP closes itself

    - The second time the user starts the (same) .lnk all is fine and RDP starts the RDP connection without any popup or error

    I hope you got a idea whats going on, if not i could make some screenshots etc. and if really needed we can create a teamviewer session.

    • Donkz Donkz

      Hi Aleem,

      I fixed the bug in my development version. If you’d like, I can send a test version. I’m hoping to release the new version shortly.

      Regards,
      Donkz

      • Hi, Donkz.
        Will the new version address this problem reported March 13?

        I am trying to up the MRU list size from the default 20 and also sort the list.
        I am following the instructions found on this site, placing a MaxMRU REG_DWORD value (dec)99 and SortMRU REG_DWORD value 1 in the registry. in the key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Remote Desktop Plus.
        Running Windows 7 64 bit.

        Thanks!

      • It would great if i could get the version with the fix, even it’s not the final version.

  • LearningCode

    Aleem

    Can you please explain how you have returned the error codes? I cant seem to get them to show on command line. Could you give me an example of the commandline being used, e.g.

    rdp.exe /v:192.168.1.122 /u:xpuser /p:xpuser /batch

    • LearningCode

      I have got this working now thank you.

      It seems if the client makes a connection but doesnt actually login due to invalid credentials it still returns a code 0 (no error is thrown) Is this expected? I thought it would be more likley it would throw an error? Am i missing something?

      • Donkz Donkz

        Hi LearningCode,

        Yes, it is expected. Unwanted, but expected. I’ve not found a reliable way yet to determine if the login was really successful. This is because RDP+ doesn’t use the ActiveX Remote Desktop Client (like most other solutions), but the native client. Which has its advantages, but also some disadvantages. This is one of them. :(

        Regards,
        Donkz

  • We are using user profiles to connect to Remote Apps using RDP Plus (/i:%USERNAME%) but somehow we are getting the follow error.

    in short our environment:

    When our users logs on the password (HKCU\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\Profiles\%USERNAME% – value password DWORD 0) has been reset and the registry key is created (HKCU\Software\Remote Desktop Plus\Profiles\%USERNAME% – value user – Reg_SZ Domain\%USERNAME%), after that we create a link with the /i:%USERNAME%.
    Using this our users only needs to type in the password twice (1 there own and 1 to verify it) this will update the password registry key and all other Remote App links will use the profile. Easy and works great and the all other Remote App links will feel like it’s seamless.

    The error:

    Error 5 : No row can be added to a Data GrisView control that does not have colums. Colums must be added first.

    This is just the first time and the RDPPlus.exe will close , when our users starts the seconds time the same link all is fine. It’s just the first time.

    Any idea what it could be ?

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