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Specify a program to start upon connection Remote Desktop Connection

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

To specify a program to start upon connection

  1. In the Remote Desktop Connection window, click Options.

  2. On the programs tab, under Start a program, click Start the following program on connection.

  3. In the program path and file name box, type the path and file name of the program that you want to run after the connection is created.

  4. Optionally, in the Start in the following folder: box, type the path to the working directory of the program.

  5. Click Connect.


  • To open Remote Desktop Connection, click Start, point to programs or All programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.

  • This option works only if you are connecting to a terminal server.

  • When the connection is made, only the specified program runs on the remote computer.

  • Some client option settings are not applied when a connection is made to the console session of a remote computer running Windows XP. For example, if the client has specified a program to start upon connection to a remote computer, that program does not start if the connection is made to the console session of the remote computer. Instead, the default desktop appears. If the connection is made to a session other than the console session, the specified program starts as expected. The console session is the only session available for Remote Desktop on Windows XP Professional, so the default desktop always appears when a connection is made, even if the client has specified a different program.

  • There are two ways to end a session.

    • To end the session and close the program, use the program's Exit command.

    • To disconnect the session and leave the program running on the remote computer, close the Remote Desktop Connection window.

  • To specify a path, type the drive letter followed by a colon (:) and a backslash (\), type the names of the folders and subfolders that contain the file, separating each name with a backslash, and then type the name of the file or folder you want to open.

  • When you click Connect, the information you have entered in Options becomes the default setting for all Remote Desktop connections and is saved in a file called Default.rdp.

Related Topics

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Save your connection settings to a file

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Change Connection Settings

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

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