Enable Multiple Remote Desktop Sessions in Windows XP SP3

by Daniel Petri - October 16, 2009

As you know, Windows XP Professional allows only one concurrent Remote Desktop session. The moment the remote user connects to the workstation by using Remote Desktop, the locally logged-on user is locked out of the computer, and the remote user -- if he or she are using the same credentials as the user which is currently logged-on -- sees the same desktop as the current user saw right before he or she were locked out.

If the remote user is using different credentials than the user which is currently logged-on, then they must be members of the administrators local group in order to log-off the current user, and create a new user session. This is fine, but the problem is that sometimes one might want to have more than one concurrent Remote Desktop session. In this article I'll show you how to enable multiple remote desktop sessions in Windows XP SP3.

Luckily for us, ever since the first days of Windows XP, there were people who managed to get around this limitation by editing a file on the XP machine, and making some registry changes. When Windows XP SP2 came out, the patched file got overwritten by the new version of the file, and so was the case in Windows XP SP3.

Now, there's a new version of the patched file available for you to use. Actually, this is not really a news item, it's just something I came across and decided to write about because I recently got some questions about this issue from a couple of readers.

Warning: Before you begin, I need to warn you that patching the file and allowing more than one concurrent Remote Desktop session will violate a few lines in the Windows XP EULA. Proceed with caution and at your own risk. I shall not be liable for any damage caused to you, your computer, your data or your dog/cat because of this.

1.Download the patch file, registry file and instructions.

The patched file is termsrv.dll version 5.1.2600.5512 which was updated when installing Windows XP Sp3.

Download link:  http://www.isralet.com/files/termsrv_sp3_patch.rar

(Ping me if link gets broken, I'll see if I can find a different working link.)

Next, read and follow these installation instructions (provided in the read.me file):

2. Go to the C:\Windows\system32\dllcache directory and rename the file termsrv.dll to termsrv.dll.bak.

Renaming termsrv.dll to termsrv.dll.bak

Renaming the termsrv.dll file to termsrv.dll.bak. (Image: Daniel Petri)

3. In the \Windows\System32 directory, rename the file termsrv.dll to termsrv.dll.bak.

4. Copy the newly patched termsrv.dll file to the \Windows\System32 directory.

Copy the new SP3 patched termsrv.dll to \Windows\System32 folder

Copying the new SP3 patched termsrv.dll to the \Windows\System32 folder. (Image: Daniel Petri)

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4. Run the included registry patch file -- called "ts_concurrent_session_patch.reg" -- by double-clicking on it. It will add concurrent sessions support by updating the relevant registry values.

5. Restart Windows XP SP3.

6. Now you should be able to connect with more than one concurrent Remote Desktop session.

Connecting with multiple RDP sessions to Windows XP SP3

Note: if you are currently using Terminal Services, you would have to start windows in safe mode before you can overwrite the termsrv.dll file.

Domain Users Note: If registry values are automatically removed very time you reboot the computer (domain environments), create a .bat file with the scripts listed and run it during Windows startup (copy to C:\Documents and Settings\\Start Menu\Programs\Startup).

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