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Terminal Server features

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Terminal Server features

This topic contains a brief overview of the Terminal Server features in this release. It is divided into two sections: New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0 and New and updated features since Windows 2000.

For links to more information about the features in this release, see New Features.

Terminal Server provides remote computers with access to Windows-based programs running on Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; or Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. With Terminal Server, you can provide a single point of installation that gives multiple users access to any computer that is running one of these products. Users can run programs, save files, and use network resources--all from a remote location--as if these resources were installed on their own computers.


  • Several Terminal Server and Remote Desktop features have been renamed or replaced in this release. For a table that lists the new names for features in Terminal Server, see New ways to do familiar Terminal Server tasks. For a table that lists the new names for Remote Desktop for Administration (formerly Terminal Services in Remote Administration mode), see New ways to do familiar Remote Desktop for Administration tasks.

  • Remote Desktop for Administration is another part of the Terminal Services technology that is offered in this release. Remote administration of servers with Remote Desktop for Administration can be enabled on any computer running the Windows Server 2003 family of products, whether or not Terminal Server is installed. For more information, see Remote Desktop for Administration.

  • Terminal Server (previously known as Terminal Services in Application Server mode) is not included on computers running the Windows Server 2003, Web Edition operating system. For more information about Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, see Overview of Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows NT) that help provide increased levels of support for Terminal Server:

Centralized deployment of programs
With Terminal Server, all program execution, data processing, and data storage occur on the server, which centralizes the deployment of programs. Terminal Server ensures that all clients can access the same version of a program. Software is installed only once on the server, rather than on every desktop throughout the organization, which reduces the costs that are associated with updating individual computers.

Remote access to applications
Terminal Server efficiently sends the application display, rather than the underlying application data, from server to client. This means that you can give users access to data-heavy applications over lower-bandwidth connections (for example, a 28.8-Kbps dial-up connection) and provide higher performance than would be possible without Terminal Server.

Single-application access
Terminal Server can provide users with access to a single published application when access to a full Windows XP desktop is not required.

Terminal Services Manager
With Terminal Services Manager, you can view information about terminal servers in trusted domains. This information includes all sessions, users, and processes for each terminal server. You can also use this utility to perform various actions to manage the server.

Remote control
Terminal Services provides built-in remote control for the Windows Server 2003 family.

New and updated features since Windows 2000

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows 2000) that help provide increased levels of support for Terminal Server:

Audio redirection
Audio redirection enables sound reproduction on a client computer with any application that attempts to play a wave sound inside a Terminal Server session. This feature provides the capability for basic audio, for example, for attached .wav files in e-mail, documents, or simple streaming media.

Group Policy integration
Terminal Server is integrated with Group Policy, so that you can manage how a server that has Terminal Server enabled can be used by enforcing redirection capabilities, password access, and wallpaper settings.

Resolution and color enhancements
Terminal Services, the underlying technology for Terminal Server, now supports greater color depth and screen resolution. Using Remote Desktop Connection, color depth can be any setting from 256 colors to True Color, and resolution can be set from 640 × 480 to the highest level that is supported by the client video devices. Resolution and color limits must be enabled on both the server and the client.

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