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Accessing your Windows Server via Remote Desktop

The Windows Server operating system is most often accessed and managed through a protocol called RDP, or Remote Desktop Protocol. This provides you with a graphical interface of your Windows Server that looks and acts just like a standard Windows OS, like the one you have on your Home PC.

Credentials

You’ll be able to log-in to your HostVenom VPS that’s running Windows Server 2019/2022 using the credentials provided to you in the VPS Welcome email sent to you by HostVenom at the time of purchase.

You’ll want to use the credentials and IPv4 address provided in the “Server Details” section of the email, shown in the image to the right.

A HostVenom VPS Welcome email for a Basic Trading VPS with a green box surrounding the “Server Details” section in the middle.Loading...

Connecting

Using the credentials provided in the aforementioned email, you can log-in to your VPS’s RDP server using the Windows RDP client on your Windows PC by following the steps outlined below.

Microsoft also has official RDP Clients for operating systems other than Windows, but we’ll just be covering the Windows client here. For information on where to get and how to use the other clients on your operating system, check out the links below.

Other Operating Systems

Web (Any OS with a browser)

RDP Application

First, you’ll want to launch the Remote Desktop Connection application. You can do this by opening the start menu on your Home PC and typing “Remote Desktop Connection” into the start menu. If you have a search bar directly in your taskbar, that can be used as well.

As you start to type the name of the program into the Start Menu, you should see the program appear in the results in a similar way to the image on the right. You can then either click on the entry in the list, press enter to launch the currently selected item, or press the Open button on the right side of the start menu.

The windows start menu with “Remo” typed into to the search field, showing the “Remote Desktop Connection” program as the first result.Loading...

Once you open the Remote Desktop Connection application you should see a window that looks similar to the image shown on the right, with an empty computer address and a “none specified” username.

You’ll want to enter the IPv4 address contained within the VPS Welcome email you received from HostVenom into the computer field and click Connect.

The Windows Remote Desktop Connection application with the computer text field / drop down selected and empty. There are two buttons at the bottom, “Connect” and “Help” with a “Show Options” toggle on the bottom right.Loading...

Login

After clicking Connect you’ll be presented with a login screen. The login screen will try to use the credentials of your current Windows user by default, so you’ll want to click on the More choices option at the bottom of the window and select Use a different account. This will allow you to enter both a username and password instead of just a password. You’ll need to enter the username and password provided by the VPS Welcome email you received from HostVenom.

A Windows Security popup with just a password field and an arrow pointing to text that says “More choices”. Loading...

A Windows Security popup with both a username and password screen, and the “More choices” toggle expanded. Below “More choices” is the current Windows account and the option to “Use a different account”. Loading...

Certificate

You may get a warning during your first connection to your Windows 2019/2022 server saying that the remote computer could not be identified. This is normal for the first connection and has to do with the certificate used to prove that the server is the server you’re wanting to connect to.

Since you haven’t connected to the server in the past, and the server’s certificate isn’t registered with a 3rd party, your computer is relying on you to say that you want to trust this connection. The only time you should be worried about this warning is when it shows up when you are connecting to a Windows 2019/2022 server you’ve connected to before.

A Remote Desktop Connection security warning with multiple subsections going over the information about the certificate provided by the Windows Server. The top of the warning is yellow and has a shield with an exclamation point. The bottom right corner contains two buttons, “Yes” and “No” with the “No” button being highlighted by default.Loading...

Otherwise, click the “Yes” option, confirming that you do trust the certificate and would like Windows to remember that choice.

Server Manager and Desktop

After entering the credentials, you’ll want to click OK. This should connect you to the RDP server that’s running on your Windows 2019/2022 VPS and will open a new full screen window similar to the one shown on the right.

The Windows Server Manager opened on the Windows Server desktop.Loading...

On the first connection, HostVenom VPSs will have the Windows Server Manager open, which is used to interact with and configure your server remotely. You can close this application using the close button in the top right corner, just like on your Home PC running Windows.

After closing the Windows Server Manager, you should see the default windows background and a Windows taskbar. There won't be any icons on the desktop but most of the default Windows applications will be installed, like Microsoft Edge, so you'll need to open them through the start menu.

The default Windows 10 background and the Windows 0 taskbar with the search bar enabled.Loading...

What is RDP and what is your PC?

Since the RDP session looks just like a standard Windows client, it may be difficult to tell the difference between your PC and the RDP session. There are a couple of ways you can easily tell though.

When you move your mouse to the top of an RDP session, a thin blue bar will appear with information about the session and the standard close/minimize/maximize window icons. You can “pin” this bar so that it’s always visible by clicking the push pin icon on the left, and drag the bar across the top of your monitor in order to see content that may be hidden behind it.

The styling of your Home PC and the RDP session are independent, so you can change the theme of one or the other so that applications and the taskbar make it more obvious which one you’re currently viewing.

Exiting or Minimizing the RDP session

The RDP session can be temporarily “minimized” by moving your mouse to the top of the screen to reveal the blue status bar. On the right side of the bar you’ll have the standard close/minimize/maximize window icons that appear on most Windows applications. Clicking the _ icon will minimize the RDP session to your PC’s taskbar as a normal application and you can re-open it by clicking on it in the taskbar like you would any other application.

You can fully exit the RDP session by moving your mouse to the top of the RDP session’s screen in order to reveal the blue status bar. Then you can click the X icon on the right of the bar. You’ll be prompted with a message similar to the one shown in the image to the right, which you can disable with the checkbox. By clicking OK, you’ll exit the session but leave the programs you have running open on your VPS.

The Remote Desktop status bar, located at the top of the screen.Loading...

A popup provided by the Remote Desktop Connection Application notifying you that “Your remote session will be disconnected”. The bottom right of the popup has two button, “OK” and “Cancel, with “OK” being selected by default.
On the bottom left there’s a check box with the text “Don’t display this message again” which is unchecked by default. Loading...

Saving your Connection Details

Now that you’ve connected to your Windows VPS, you may want to save your connection details in a way that allows you to easily connect to the server again. Saving your connection details also allows you to add additional configuration options like display settings and file sharing.

The Windows Remote Desktop Application has the ability to open and save .rdp files with the connection details you’ve provided to it. These files can also be edited using the Windows Notepad. We’ll be covering how to save a connection and how to open the .rdp file with the Windows Notepad, if you want to see what all can be configured using the .rdp file, check out this Microsoft article.

Saving

To start with, .rdp files are opened by double clicking on them like you would any other shortcut. So when you save it, make sure it’s in a location that you would have easy access to, like your desktop or a folder/drive with relevant files.

To save a connection, open the Windows Remote Desktop Connection application and click the Show Options drop down in the bottom right corner. This will alter the window to show a Connection settings box in a similar way to the one in the image to the right.

You’ll want to fill out the Computer field with the IP Address of your VM, just like when you originally connected, and then put the username you received in the VPS welcome email into the Username field.

With both of the fields filled out, you can click the Save As... button to save the .rdp file. As mentioned you’ll want to save it to a location you’ll have easy access to because the .rdp file will need to be double clicked in order to open the session.

The Remote Desktop Connection  Application with the "Show Options" dropdown located in the bottom left hand corner.Loading...

The Remote Desktop Connection Application with the "Show Options" drop down extended and the "Connection settings" section highlighted at the bottom of the window, containing the "Save As..." button in the center. Loading...

Editing

You can edit .rdp files with the Windows Notepad in order to add additional configuration parameters that are listed on this Microsoft article. By default, double clicking an .rdp file will open the connection, so you’ll need to right click on the file and click on the Open With option in context menu. The window that opens should have the notepad program as an option, selecting it will open the .rdp file in the Windows Notepad program and saving the notepad with CTRL + S or the Menu bar under File -> Save will save your modifications to the .rdp file.

info

Make sure not to select the Always use the app to open... check box in the Open with window!

The Windows Context menu open on an ".rdp" file and the "Open with..." entry highlighted as the 4th entry from the top of the list.Loading...

Using Multiple Monitors

If you have multiple physical monitors on your Windows PC, you can configure the Remote Desktop session to use 2 or more of the monitors instead of the default of only using one. To start, you’ll need to follow the steps of this section of this article to save your connection details into an .rdp file.

After you’ve saved the connection details into an .rdp file, you’ll want to open the .rdp file in Windows Notepad. We’re going to add a couple of the property values from this table on the Microsoft Help Center.

use multimon:i:1
selectedmonitors:s:1,2

The first property value should be use multimon:i:**1** where 1 stands in for true and sets the use multimon property. The second property is selectedmonitors:s:0**,1** where 0,1 is the list of monitor IDs that will be used as remote monitors. This defaults to all of the monitors on your Windows PC, so if you don’t want to limit the monitors you use, or you only have two, you don’t need to use this option.

The monitor IDs start at 0 and go up, where 0 is your primary monitor. You can get the IDs of each of your monitors by using the command mstsc /l in the Windows Command Prompt. When running that command, you’ll get a new window that looks similar to the one on the right, where the first column of data is the Monitor ID of each monitor, the second column is the resolution of the monitor, and the 3rd is it’s position relative to the larger monitor structure.

The output of the "mstsc /l" command in a window titled "Remote Desktop Connection", showing a 0 indexed list of monitors, their resolutions, and relative positions. Loading...

tip

If you only want to use all of your monitors, you don’t need to use the selectedmonitors:s: property!

After getting the response from the command, place the IDs of the monitors you want to use in a comma separated list after the selectedmonitors:s: property. For example, if you want to use your primary monitor and monitor 1, you’d have the property selectedmonitors:s:0,1.

If the number you entered isn’t the monitor you wanted, just try another number from the list. The exact ordering of the list can be a little ambiguous and trying again doesn’t hurt anything. Just close the session, edit/save the file, and start the session again.

Reach Out!

Have Questions? Need Help? Feel free to reach out!