Here’s a neat tip I ran across today on Daniel Petri’s site

First, a bit of background on why the heck I was trying to do this.  Back in 2000, I bought a new Dell desktop.  Since then, I’ve purchased two laptops with the goal of getting rid of the desktop, but I’ve found that it’s just really nice to have an “always on” computer for quickly checking e-mail, looking up movie times, etc.  Also since then, I purchased a Dell SC400 service for really cheap ($329) which I have been using for a file server, Exchange server, etc.  In the past few weeks I’ve been trying to outsource some of these server roals, by moving my Exchange up to 1and1 hosting, for example.  So a few days ago, I came up with the idea that rather than buying yet another computer to replace my aging desktop, I can just swap the server and desktop.  Since the server only needs to manage a simple 2-user domain, do some file serving, and run some automated backup scripts, that would be perfect.  So last night I proceeded to wipe the old computer, load Windows Server 2003 Standard on, and start moving forward with the transfer.  I’m out of the office today and figured I’d do some remote work to keep moving stuff over, only to remember that Remote Desktop is not enabled by default in Windows Server 2003.

So enough with the background…  here’s how to do enbale remote desktop in Windows Server 2003 when you’ve accidentally forgotten to:

  1. Run REGEDIT on your XP workstation or on your Windows 2000/2003 Server.
  2. Click on File, then choose “Connect Network Registry”.
  3. In the Select Computer search box either browse Active Directory to locate the remote server, or type its name in the dialog box.
  4. Click Ok.
  5. In the remote machine’s registry browse to the following key:
    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server
  6. Under the Terminal Server key find the value named fDenyTSConnection (REG_DWORD). Change the value data from 1 (Remote Desktop disabled) to 0 (Remote Desktop enabled).
  7. Click Ok.
  8. Close Regedit.
  9. Reboot the remote machine for the change to take effect. You can easily do so by opening a command prompt and typing the following command:
    shutdown -m \\servername -r

After the remote machine reboots, Remote Desktop will be enabled on it. To test this from your workstation, open Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Communications -> Remote Desktop Connection. You can also type mstsc in the Run command.