Server Essentials 2012 R2 – Connector and RDP

I’ve written a few posts about Server 2012 R2 Essentials and I’ve made it pretty clear that I am a “fan”.  For small shops it’s a pretty sweet deal as it makes it very easy to manage your systems.

One of the features provided by Essentials is the “Connector software.  The Connector sets up the link between the client PC’s and the server and provides the “Launchpad” and “Dashboard” apps which are central points for accessing server services (Launchpad) and server management (Dashboard).  The connector software will install on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 machines (both Home and Pro versions) as well as on Mac’s.  And, once the Connector is installed, the client machine is accessible from the Remote Web Access (RWA) webpage served up by the Essentials server.  However, there is a tiny fly in the ointment …

The remote access to client machines that is provided via the RWA is predicated on the client machine being able to support Remote Desktop (RDP) connectivity.  RDP connectivity to a client machine is only provided by Pro and Enterprise versions of Windows.  So, while a Home machine may be displayed in the RWA, it will display with a red dot indicating that connections are not possible to the client machine.  The Connector does not “magically” enable RDP connectivity to Windows Home machines.  You can use a Windows Home machine to make an RDP connection to a machine that supports RDP but the reverse is not possible.

So, if you are planning to make use of RWA supported RDP connectivity to machines on your internal network, make sure that the machines you want to connect to are running a Pro version of Windows.