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Im slightly confused with what TS is as ive read some articles (even from MS) but getting confused along the lines.

1. How can this be a benefit to us?

2. I thought TS is like RDP if not whats the difference?

3. Whats this activation about?

4. What can TS do that RDP cant?

Thanks in advance. If anyone knows where i can see this in action please advise.

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1) Terminal Services is a benefit because.. for example you have many remote users who want to be able to do work remotely. Running network operations over a vpn or even just an internet connection can be daunting sometimes. Terminal Service allows you to give desktop access and 10/100/1000mb whatever access to your network services. It is a cost savings when it comes to hardware also. Terminal Services can be ran on just about any hardware and any OS.

2) Terminal Services IS RDP in the essence that RDP is a protocol that Terminal Server client(remote desktop client) uses to access the server. An example would be Internet explorer/Firefox is the application you use to access http services off a server.

3) Not sure what you are asking about here. Windows activation, licensing.... please explain

4) I guess to answer the question. Terminal services can only do as much as RDP allows since Terminal Services uses the RDP protocol to access the server

I guess the bottom line is RDP is a protocol and Terminal Services is the application that utilized RDP

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3) Not sure what you are asking about here. Windows activation, licensing.... please explain

At this URL


It explains about activation but i want to know why this is needed when 2003 op system is already activated. Unless its a totally different thing altogether. What information is sent to MS?


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Terminal services needs to be activated due to the nature of the product (providing a virtual desktop to more than one or two users at a time, virtualizing application registries, etc). It requires TS licenses for every user, or every device, that will connect to the TS. This is above and beyond the licensing activation for the Windows Server 2003 OS license.

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While the above information is correct, here's a bit more detail on the differences between TS & RDP/RDC

Terminal Services in Win2k could be installed on a server in one of two modes.

Administrative Mode - Could only be accessed by administrators and was typically used for managing "Headless" (no keyboard, mouse, monitor) servers. This option was limited to a max of 2 connections and required no additional licensing.

User Mode - could be accessed with any account that was granted the TS access permission. The TS required activation before it was allowed to validate licensed connections. This option was limited only by the number of connection licenses purchased & the servers hardware.

TS in 2k required you install a Connection Client to access the server.

Terminal Services in Win2k3 requires installation only if User Mode is needed.

Administrative Mode - Can only be accessed by administrators, is replaced with the XP like Remote Desktop Connection and is installed by default. The differences being 3 simultaneous connections are allowed (XP allows only 1), and connection to an existing console session is optional (it's forced in XP).

User Mode - Is identical to the Win2k implementation, install, activate, license and enjoy.

TS in 2k3 uses the native XP RDC client to access the server so no client install is required.

Both TS & RDC/RDP run on port 3389 and are basically identical. The differences are in the intended usage of the connection and the licensing required for that purpose.

Both 2k & 2k3 TS user mode offered the option to "Application Lock" a TS session (I love this feature). The program started as soon as the connection was made, and the session was closed if the application was exited. This allowed users to access a key application while cleanly preventing them from mucking around with anything.

Hope that helps

Stoic Joker

Edited by Stoic Joker
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