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Overview of Terminal Server

Updated: March 10, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Terminal Services server role in Windows Server 2008 consists of several sub-components, referred to as "role services." One of these role services is Terminal Server.

A terminal server is the server that hosts Windows-based programs or the full Windows desktop for Terminal Services clients. Users can connect to a terminal server to run programs, to save files, and to use network resources on that server. Users can access a terminal server from within a corporate network or from the Internet by using Remote Desktop Connection or by using TS RemoteApp.

For more information about TS RemoteApp, see the Terminal Services page on the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=73931).

When a user accesses a program on a terminal server, the program execution occurs on the server. Only keyboard, mouse, and display information is transmitted over the network. Each user sees only their individual session. The session is managed transparently by the server operating system and is independent of any other client session.

If you deploy a program on a terminal server instead of on each device, there are many benefits. These include the following:

  • You can quickly deploy Windows-based programs to computing devices across an enterprise. This is especially useful when you have programs that are frequently updated, infrequently used, or difficult to manage.

  • Users can access programs that are running on a terminal server from devices such as home computers, kiosks, low-powered hardware, and operating systems other than Windows.

  • Branch office workers who need access to centralized data stores can receive better program performance by accessing a program remotely on a terminal server. Data-intensive programs sometimes do not have client/server protocols that are optimized for low-speed connections. Programs of this kind frequently perform better over a Terminal Services connection than over a typical wide area network.

For more information about deploying terminal servers, see the Terminal Services page on the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=73931).

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