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Choosing a Terminal Server Configuration Tool

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Choose a configuration tool based on your level of permission, the tasks you want to accomplish, and the level at which you want to apply settings. If you are a domain administrator configuring global settings on a number of terminal servers, it is recommended that you use Group Policy. WMI is a good choice for automating the configuring of global settings on a number of terminal servers if you are not a domain administrator and if you are familiar with scripting. However, you must be a local administrator on every computer you want to configure using WMI. You can also invoke WMI to configure settings automatically after you install Windows Server 2003 with an automated installation method. For more information about configuring automated installation to invoke scripts, see the design chapter in Automating and Customizing Installations that corresponds to the automated installation method you have chosen to use. The TSCC snap-in is an easy-to-use tool for configuring a single terminal server, and is useful for configuring unique settings for a particular server. Table 4.2 summarizes these tools, and the following sections describe each tool in further detail.

Table 4.2   Benefit and Restriction Comparison for Terminal Server Configuration Tools

 

Tool Benefits Restrictions

Group Policy

Can centrally configure terminal servers and Terminal Server users by applying policies to OUs.

Always overrides configurations set by using other tools.

Administrator must be a domain administrator to apply Group Policy settings to OUs.

Must have Active Directory in place.

WMI Terminal Server provider

Can configure many terminal servers or Terminal Server users using scripts.

Administrator must know how to write scripts.

Terminal Server Connection Configuration snap-in

Can configure unique per-server settings.

Some configurations only available in TSCC snap-in.

Can be overwritten by Group Policy settings.

Can be applied only to a single terminal server and its users.

Cannot be used to configure a remote server.

Your choice of tools might also depend on your server environment or number of connections. Take the following information into consideration when making your choice:

  • In an operating system environment where only Windows Server 2003 is run, you can use Terminal Server Group Policy settings to configure all settings that apply across an OU. You can also configure individual Windows Server 2003 operating systems using Group Policy on the local Group Policy object.

  • In server environments where several different versions of the Windows operating system are run, you might need to use a combination of tools. For example, you might configure the Windows Server 2003 operating systems with Group Policy, while using TSCC to configure servers that are running earlier versions of Windows.

  • If you have two or more connections on the same computer, and you want to configure each connection differently, you cannot use Group Policy. Instead, use the TSCC tool, which allows you to configure Terminal Services settings on a per-connection basis.

Using Group Policy

You can use Group Policy to configure Terminal Server connection settings, set user policies, configure terminal server clusters, and manage Terminal Server sessions. You can apply Group Policy settings for users of a computer through the Remote Desktop Users group, for individual computers through local Group Policy, or for groups of computers through a Terminal Server OU. To set local policies for users of a particular computer, you must be an administrator for that computer. To set policies for an OU in a domain, you must be an administrator for that domain. Settings that are specific to Terminal Server are located under Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Terminal Services. For more information, see "Configuring Terminal Services with Group PolicyConfiguring Terminal Services with Group Policy" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.

Note

  • There are many new Group Policy settings with Windows Server 2003. If you are upgrading your terminal servers from Windows 2000, the new Group Policy settings will be set to Disabled by default. For new Windows Server 2003 deployments, the defaults are stated in the "Designing Terminal Server Connection Configurations" section later in this chapter.

Using the Terminal Services WMI provider

The Terminal Services WMI provider allows administrators to create custom scripts for configuring, managing, and querying terminal servers. It contains properties and methods that can perform the same tasks as Terminal Services configuration tools and command-line tools, but remotely and through scripted applications. A provider is an architectural element of WMI that extends the WMI schema of classes to allow WMI to work with new types of objects. The Terminal Services provider defines classes for querying and configuring Terminal Services. The Terminal Services WMI provider is defined in systemroot\System32\Wbem\tscfgwmi.mof. For more information about WMI, see "Configuring Terminal Services with WMIConfiguring Terminal Services with WMI" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.

Note

  • Configuration settings applied with the Terminal Services WMI provider operate in the same order of precedence as they do if applied with the corresponding configuration tool. In general, Group Policy settings always override settings applied with WMI. For more information about using WMI, see the TechNet Script Center link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.

Using the TSCC snap-in

With the TSCC snap-in you can configure the RDP connection parameters and connection permissions for the terminal server. You can apply settings only to a single terminal server and its users, however, and you cannot use TSCC to configure a remote server. In addition, there are several settings that you can set only by using TSCC. For more information, see "Configuring Terminal Services with TSCC" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.

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