Install Remote Desktop Web Connection on Windows XP

by Daniel Petri - January 8, 2009

Remote Desktop Web Connection is an optional World Wide Web Service component of Internet Information Services, which is included by default in Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. Just like IIS, Remote Desktop Web Connection is not installed by default on Windows XP/2003, but must be installed using Add or Remove Programs.

The Remote Desktop Web Connection is an optional component of Windows XP Professional and can be installed from the Windows XP installation media.

Note: Users of Windows Server 2003 do not need to download this package. They can manually add this package from Add/Remove in the Control Panel. However, if you still want to download the package please read Download Remote Desktop Web Connection for Windows Server 2003.

When you install Remote Desktop Web Connection, the files are copied by default to the %systemroot%\Web\Tsweb directory of your webserver. The included sample default.htm and connect.asp page can be used as is, or you can modify them to meet the needs of your application.

The Remote Desktop Web Connection is a Win32-based ActiveX control (COM object) that can be used to run Remote Desktop sessions from within Internet Explorer.

The Remote Desktop Web Connection download package includes the downloadable ActiveX control and sample Web page that can be used as a starting point for running Windows-based programs inside Internet Explorer. Developers can also use the Remote Desktop Web Connection to develop client-side applications that interact with applications running on a terminal server.

The downloadable ActiveX control provides most of the same functionality as the full Remote Desktop Connection software in Windows XP (read Download RDP 5.2), but is designed to deliver this functionality over the Web. The Web Package Setup program installs the downloadable ActiveX control, the ActiveX Client Control Deployment Guide, and sample Web pages on a server running Internet Information Services 4.0 or later.

Remote Desktop Web Connection benefits include:

  • Run sessions within Internet Explorer - The Remote Desktop Web Connection is a Win32 ActiveX control that runs in Internet Explorer 5 and later versions—on any Windows 32-bit operating system. When users first navigate to a Web page embedded with the Remote Desktop Web Connection ActiveX control, they will see a dialog box that asks, "Do you want to install this control?" Using the sample Web pages as an example, the Web site administrator can design pages that either link directly to a terminal server-hosted application, or simply run the entire desktop.
  • Quick and easy access to computers running Windows XP Professional with Remote Desktop enabled or Windows Terminal Servers - The Remote Desktop Web Connection is especially useful for fast, on-demand access to terminal servers by both users and administrators.
  • Ability to be embedded in Web pages or launched in separate pages - Using the functionality of Internet Explorer, Remote Desktop sessions can be embedded in an existing Web page, or launched in a separate Internet Explorer window. A Web site administrator can create simple scripting code that allows users to launch multiple Remote Desktop sessions from the same Web page, or start multiple Remote Desktop sessions within a single Web page.
  • Programmability - As with any ActiveX control or COM object, many applications such as Internet Explorer or Visual Basic, and Visual C++ development systems can insert and set properties on the Remote Desktop Web Connection. The Web site author or programmer can write scripts that communicate between an application running on the desktop and a Terminal Services-hosted application using the Remote Desktop Web Connection and the Remote Desktop Protocol virtual channel architecture.
  • Remote Desktop Web Connection Security - The Remote Desktop Web Connection is a high-encryption, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 5.0 client and uses RSA Security’s RC4 cipher with a key strength of 40-, 56-, or 128-bit, as determined by the server to which it is connecting. The Remote Desktop Web Connection uses the well-known RDP TCP port (3389) to communicate to the server. Unlike some other display protocols, which send data over the network using clear text or with an easily decodable "scrambling" algorithm, Remote Desktop Web Connection's built-in encryption makes it safe to use over any network - including the Internet - as the protocol cannot be easily sniffed to discover passwords and other sensitive data.

To install Remote Desktop Web Connection

  1. Open Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel.

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  2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
  3. Select Internet Information Services, and then click Details.
  4. In the Subcomponents of Internet Information Services list, select World Wide Web Service, and then click Details.
  5. In the Subcomponents for World Wide Web Service list, click the Remote Desktop Web Connection check box, and then click OK.
  6. In the Windows Components Wizard, click Next.
  7. Open Internet Services Manager.
  8. Expand the folder hierarchy until you reach the local computer name\Web Sites\Default Web Site\tsweb folder.
  9. Right-click the tsweb folder and then click Properties.
  10. Click the Directory Security tab on the Properties dialog box.
  11. In Anonymous access and authentication control, click Edit.
  12. Check the Anonymous access check box on the Authentication Methods dialog box, and then click OK twice.

To connect to another computer using Remote Desktop Web Connection

  1. Ensure that Remote Desktop Web Connection is installed and running on the Web server.
  2. Ensure that your client computer has an active network connection and that the WINS server service (or other name resolution method) is functioning.
  3. On your client computer, start Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  4. In the Address box, type the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the home directory of the Web server hosting Remote Desktop Web Connection.
  5. The URL is "http://" followed by the Windows Networking name of your server, followed by the path of the directory containing the Remote Desktop Web Connection files (default = /Tsweb/). (Note the forward slash marks.) For example, if your Web server is registered with the WINS server as "Admin1", in the Address box you type: http://admin1/tsweb/, and then press ENTER. The Remote Desktop Web Connection page appears on the screen.

  1. In Server, type the name of the remote computer to which you want to connect.
  2. Optionally, specify the screen size and logon information for your connection.
  3. Click Connect.

  1. After you supply your username and password the Windows XP desktop appears and you can begin to work.

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