Tag Archives: terminal services

Tips for setting up a Terminal Server

When setting up a terminal server there are some basic applications that should always be installed and configured a certain way. This will help streamline a lot of functions and make for happy end-users.

I always install:

  • Microsoft Office with the latest updates. Be sure to install the Compatibility Packs if you’re using an old-ish version of Office (i.e. install Office 2007 Compatibility Pack if you’re using Office 2003)
  • WinRAR or WinZIP
  • Java Runtime
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader or FoxIt Reader
  • Adobe Shockwave Player

Always make these changes. These can be done via Group Policy or just locally if it’s a small farm.

  • Disable UAC
  • Set IE ESC to ‘Off’ for all users (otherwise they won’t be able to browse the Internet very much at all)
  • Set updates to ‘Never Check for Updates’
  • Turn off Windows Firewall. Note: This probably isn’t recommended but all of our users are connecting within our corporate network anyway (or have to use a VPN to connect before they even have access to the server) so I always turn off the MS-Firewall. There’s a noticeable difference in the inti

Put these icons on the Desktop (Delete all others):

  • Internet Explorer (or whatever browser will be used)
  • MS Word
  • MS Excel
  • MS Outlook

Put these icons in the QuickLaunch (Delete all others):

  • LogOff (c:\windows\system32\logoff.exe)
  • Internet Explorer
  • MS Outlook
  • Show desktop (not necessary if you’re using a Win2008 R2 server, but retraining users to hit the bottom-right corner might be too much of a curve).
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How to disable the BEEP sound in Terminal Services

In the following scenario:

  1. Using Microsoft Terminal Services (Windows 2003 or 2008).
  2. Sound redirection disabled at the server or turned off at the client

Certain system events will still cause the system to ‘beep’ out of the system speaker. Turning off Windows Sound Schemes doesn’t stop the notification beep. Note this is sound is NOT out of the normal soundcard/external speakers but will be out of the internal speaker on the motherboard. If you’re having this problem, you’ll know how incredibly annoying it is. After hours of digging online and trying different scenarios, I stumbled across a fix and have documented it here.

On the terminal server, open Regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server
Right-click on the ‘Terminal Server’ key on the left, select “New”, then “DWORD Value”. Name the value ‘DisableBeep’, press ‘Enter’ and double-click on it to change the ‘Data’ field. Enter ‘1’ as the ‘Value Data’ and click OK. Close the registry editor and restart the server. You will now have a non-beeping Terminal Server!
DisableBeep Registry Entry

DisableBeep Registry Entry

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Business Contact Manager on Terminal Services (Successful)

One of the many services I provide is hosted applications and managed, dedicated servers. A client that I recently picked up had a need for sharing his Microsoft’s Business Contact Manager database with several geographically separate associates. I’ve setup more than a handful of servers as Terminal Servers using both Citrix Metaframe (now XenApp Server), and pure Microsoft Terminal Services. One of my most recent deployments was for a medical practice and uses Windows 2008 w/Terminal Services and the applications deployed with the RemoteApp functionality. It worked like a charm for that client so I jumped at the opportunity to do it again for this new one.

So we setup the OS, installed Microsoft Outlook + Business Contact Manager and started to setup users…then we hit the brick wall. When we started setting up the users’ e-mail accounts to point to our Exchange Server (another hosted service I provide), we learned that, according to Microsoft, you can’t use Outlook in ‘cached mode’ on a terminal server. The whole concept of cached mode seems like it wouldn’t be necessary on a terminal server anyway since you would likely have the TS in the same datacenter as your Exchange server (which we DO). In our case though, we needed to enable cached mode because Business Contact Manager REQUIRES it to function.

Off to Google I went, searching for a solution. I found plenty of people saying it couldn’t be done who all ended up abandoning the idea altogether in favor of Microsoft CRM or ended up deploying PPTP VPN connections (which I avoid at all costs).

In the end, I found an article on David Overton’s blog that explains how to do it, although I had to modify the process a bit. I’m not sure if the changes were necessary because I’m using Win2008 whereas his article refers to Win2003 or not…but I got it working eventually. Here’s what worked for me:

My setup:

  • All users were members of my Active Directory (AD) domain and in a group called “BCM Users”
  • The terminal server (TS) is Windows 2008, is a member server, and has Office 2007 + Business Contact Manager installed.

What I did:

  1. Added the “BCM Users” group to the local “Administrators” group on the TS
  2. Logged onto the ‘console’ of the server using RDP from my client (Start > Run > ‘mstsc /v:ts.domain.local /admin)
  3. Setup the Exchange account in Outlook on the TS (Start > Control Panel > Mail > …..). The mail account setup wizard DID show the ‘cached mode’ box greyed out….ignore it for now.
  4. Launch Outlook and confirm that it can login to your account. You’ll probably get a warning that BCM will be disabled due to cached mode not being available…click OK and ignore this for now.
  5. Close Outlook.
  6. Open Regedit on the TS, navigate to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\<OutlookProfileName>\13dbb0c8aa05101a9bb000aa002fc45a
  7. In the right-hand pane, find the 00036601 key, double-click on it to edit.
  8. Change it to 84 19 00 00
  9. Click OK, close Regedit
  10. Remove the “BCM Users” group from the local “Adminstrators” group.
  11. Logout, log back in to the TS using a normal RDP session (i.e. not the console session)
  12. Launch Outlook.
  13. Business Contact Manager should work fine now!

Even after the steps above, if I view my Outlook account settings, it still shows that ‘cached mode’ is unchecked and greyed out. I think this registry hack just tricks BCM into thinking that it’s enabled but doesn’t actually enable it. No worries; it works for me!

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