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Tip: Learn How To Install Applications on an RD Session Host Server


Applications developed for end users of your system must be installed properly on an RD Session Host server so that they can be accessed remotely. Before you install an application on an RD Session Host server, make sure you understand any compatibility issues associated with the application when it is running in a Remote Desktop Services environment.

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Make sure you install the RD Session Host role service on your server before you install any applications that users will need to run within their remote sessions or as RemoteApp programs. If you install the RD Session Host role service after you have installed your applications, the applications might not function correctly in a multi-user environment.

To install an end-user application on an RD Session Host server, the RD Session Host server must first be switched into a special install mode called RD-Install to ensure that the application will be able to run in a multi-user environment. After your applications have been installed on your RD Session Host server, you must switch the server back into execution mode (RD-Execute) before users can remotely connect to your server. You can switch between the install and execute modes from the command line using these commands:
change user /install
change user /execute

To determine the current install mode of your RD Session Host server, use this command:
change user /query

You can also install applications on your RD Session Host server by using the Programs portion of Control Panel. If you do this on an RD Session Host server, an additional option, Install Application On Remote Desktop Server, is displayed that is not available on a Windows Server 2008 R2 computer that does not have the RD Session Host role service installed. Clicking this option launches the Install Program From Floppy Disk Or CD-ROM Wizard, which walks you through the installation process by automatically switching the server to RD-Install mode, installs the program, and switches the server back to RD-Execute mode.

Best Practices
Install related applications, or applications that have dependencies on other local applications, on the same RD Session Host server. For example, you should install Microsoft Office as a suite on the same RD Session Host server instead of installing individual Office programs on separate RD Session Host servers. This reduces the installation, management, and servicing overhead required for the programs.

You should consider installing individual applications on separate RD Session Host servers in the following circumstances:
  • The application has compatibility issues that might affect other programs.
  • The number of application users might exceed server capacity.
  • The applications are resource (CPU, memory, and so forth) intensive and negatively affect performance when multiple instances are running at the same time.

It is also a good practice always to consult with the application vendor to ensure that the application being installed will function correctly for multiple users in an RD Session Host server environment. Application vendors sometimes provide fixes or compatibility scripts for applications to ensure that they function correctly in a multi-user Remote Desktop Services environment.

From the Microsoft Press book Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions, Second Edition by Mitch Tulloch with the Microsoft Virtualization Teams.

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