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Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

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  • Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

    Hi folks. I'm sort of a newbie, so forgive me if this is somewhat convoluted.

    We bought a company and inherited their SBS 2003 server and a handful of workstations. Our company uses a Windows 2000 server, and due to limitations of SBS (as I understand it), we could not create a trust between the domains.

    The accountant from the other company still needs, for a time, to VPN from home and access her desktop (ACCOUNTING), which is running in our office. We, however, are using both a SQL app and Sharepoint on the SBS server, so we needed access to the SBS server from inside our network. We installed another NIC in the SBS server and put that NIC on our subnet. Problem solved.

    Except . . . now every time I reboot the SBS server, the remote user loses her ability to Remote Desktop. She can VPN in just fine, and the SBS server can Remote Desktop to ACCOUNTING no problem, but when she (or I) try to use an external VPN and then try to Remote Desktop, we get "the computer cannot connect to the remote computer."

    This didn't start happening until we installed the new NIC and turned DHCP off on the SBS server. My understanding is that it can't run while the Win 2K DHCP server is running, and when I try to restart the service, it does immediately abort. However, something somewhere is assigning IP addresses, because when I put a test PC on the network, it gets a pool address in the correct subnet. I have no idea why.

    I configured a static IP on the ACCOUNTING PC with the gateway and DNS pointing at the SBS server. No dice.

    Additionally, and I don't know if this is related, but VPN connections are getting the default 169.254.x.x IP addresses, which I assume is because there is no DHCP server. I don't know if they always did that or if it is new. I never looked into it before because the VPN connections were working fine and I am able to Remote Desktop to the server from outside of the network without a problem.

    Further, the ACCOUNTING PC is throwing certificate errors left and right and complaining about not being able to see Active Directory. I am confident that this is related to the overall issue, but I haven't delved into that one yet.

    I was working on the issue on Friday and then at some point over the weekend, the issue "fixed" itself (I'm not exactly sure how) and everything was fine, but I had to install a Windows Update last night and I'm back to square one.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm completely stumped.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Re: Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

    Have you thought about using RWW for the remote user?
    1 1 was a racehorse.
    2 2 was 1 2.
    1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
    2 2 1 1 2


    • #3
      Re: Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

      Hi there.

      It's not really clear to me wether you have the same subnet for the both servers.

      From what I can understand though, you can't RDP after logging into the VPN because the remote user doesn't get an IP address (the DHCP server is not running on the VPN gateway - hence you get an APIPA address 169.x.x.x).

      Also, as long as you point to your SBS box for DNS, the PC should have no problems seeing the AD.

      Please give me some details on the subnets, cause it's not really clear to me.

      How many NICs and what subnet are on the SBS box, also what subnet are you using for your Win2k domain.

      But, as a rule of thumb, SBS really doesn't like being in the same network with any other DC, can't say though if the subnets are an issue in this case.


      • #4
        Re: Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

        Backing up what Biggles said - Use RWW to control a machine in the SBS network. Why don't you switch the DHCP back on on the SBS and turn it off on W2K? Then even when you use VPN you will get a real address instead of an APIPA one.

        Steven Teiger [SBS-MVP(2003-2009)]
        Iím honoured to have been selected for the SMB 150 list for 2013. This is the third time in succession (no logo available for 2011) that I have been honoured with this award.

        We donít stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.


        • #5
          Re: Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

          Thanks for the ideas. I'll look into RWW. I honestly didn't even know it was there.

          As for the subnets, no, they are separate subnets, and due to some software limitations (e.g. the company we bought doesn't have the install disks for an app we are still needing to use for a period of time), I can't just wipe the SBS server and start over, which would be easiest, clearly.

          I did figure out that the Sonicwall firewall was handing out the IP addresses for the PCs connected to the SBS network (should have looked there first, lol). I just set static IPs for both machines on the network and set the DHCP range above those statics.

          We are managing to VPN and remote desktop to the machines, now, but we have to use the IP addresses instead of PC names, so I'm assuming it's just a DNS issue now, and I bet using the SBS server as the DNS will address that.

          Thanks everyone. Much appreciated.


          • #6
            Re: Remote Desktop/DHCP Issues

            Also, if you need this setup only for a short time, you could set a static IP on the remote user's VPN connection, just like on a regular LAN connection, if you happen to run into trouble again.