Category Archives: Remote Desktop

Windows RDS Stand-alone Server per User

When installing Windows RDS stand-alone server per user should not be used on a workgroup based server, i.e. there is no domain to authenticate the “per User” users.

There is a warning about it when adding licenses but it does not prevent you from adding them in per User mode.

While it seems odd that this is an issue when there is still Local User authentication available, it is apparently the case and the RDS server will not provide access, or at least will not assign licences. That said, I have not tried it in that mode.

The good thing is that you can change from per User to per Device at any time with the RD Licensing Manager using the Convert Licences option.


Converting licences can be done in either direction at any time so swapping is permitted.

Deploy RDS on a stand-alone Windows 2012 Server

Looking to deploy RDS on a stand-alone Windows 2012 Server I found a wealth of information where the authors make the assumption that you will use an Active Directory / Domain connected server.

A Microsoft team blog reference makes what I consider to be a fatal assumption in this reference RD Quick Start on a Domain Connected Server in stating that the instructions are suited to a small office deployment or as a proof of concept deployment. My take on a proof of concept is that a domain configuration is a lot of extra work for little value.

So I searched some more and arrived at Ryan Mangans’ blog and his post on the simple Setup Windows stand-alone RDS server.

Deploy RDS on a stand-alone Windows 2012 Server

Assumption: Using a single server for a small office and limited user environment.  A larger office, more users, more management option would require more than 1 server and separation of server roles.

Two methods depending on the server status of domain connected or stand-alone.

Deploy RDS on a stand-alone Windows 2012 Server using Role Based installation

This installation method assumes that the server is not connected to a domain.


1. Using the Add Roles & Features Wizard

2. Deploy the RDS 2012 Session Host Role and the RDS licencing role

3. This will provide the role of Remote Desktop Services and 2 role services of Session Host and Desktop Licensing.

This method will not provide some features for management that are commonly referenced for ‘best practice’ as the vast majority of documentation assumes a domain based server has been used.

Deploy RDS on Domain connected Windows 2012 Server

As per the heading this installation assumes that the server is domain connected with an Active Directory. These steps are taken from the Microsoft reference and are included here for comparison to the above stand-lone server deployment method.


1. On the server that will become the Connection Broker, logon with a domain account that is an administrator and start Server Manager. From Manage menu item, select Add Roles and Features.

2. Select Remote Desktop Services installation.

3. Select Quick Start.

4. Select Session-based desktop deployment.

5. Add your local server to the Selected list for Specify RD Connection Broker server.

6. On the Confirm Selections dialog, check Restart the destination server automatically if required.

7. The RDS session deployment will now begin the install to all the servers and components selected. A progress dialog will be shown and the server will reboot.

8. After reboot, log in and the progress dialog will be shown again and installation will continue.

9. After installation is complete, in the Server Manager Dashboard, there will be a Remote Desktop Services role listed in the left navigation pane.

10. Selecting Remote Desktop Services will display the Overview of the new deployment. From this page, the next steps would be to add / specify both the license server and RD Gateway if needed.