Cannot Establish Remote Desktop Connection With Windows 2008 Server

  • This article makes an assumption that you are generally familiar with creating a Remote Desktop Connection, or have followed instructions available elsewhere to create a Remote Desktop Connection.
  • There are documents on the internet that do a fine job covering the building of a remote connection.  For information on configuring a Remote Desktop Connection see the article ‘Use Remote Desktop To Access Other Computers On a Small Office or Home Network’ under the Links section.
  • This article addresses a specific issue I have encountered with both Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7.  This problem and a possible solution are covered here.

Issue:  One of the common tasks you might want to complete after building a Windows 2008 Server is to set up a Remote Desktop Connection to allow you access from your workstation or other remote location.  However, after you finish building a Windows 2008 Server, either as a stand-alone or a workgroup server, you are unable to establish a Remote Desktop Connection.

After creating the Remote Desktop Connection for your Windows Server, you get the following error:

Remote Desktop can’t find the computer “(Server Name)” . This might mean that “(Server Name)” does not belong to the specified network. Verify the computer name and domain that you are trying to connect to.

This can be caused by something as simple as typing in an incorrect Machine name in the Computer field.

However, the issue I have been encountering after completing the server installation is that (by default) the Network type is set to Public Network. This is a secure setting that limits discovery of other computers and the use of the network by the Windows Server.

If the server is on a secure network, or are using the server for training purposes, you can quickly open up the security on the system by setting the network to Private Network.  This will allow the server to see computers and devices, and makes the server discoverable. It also opens the port that allows the Remote Desktop Connection.

To Set the Network Location from Public to Private:
Open the Control Panel
Select Network and Sharing Center
The default Network is set to (Public Network)
Select Customize

Under Set Network Location
Set the Location Type to  Private
Select Next
Select Close

You should now be able to use Remote Desktop Connection software to remotely control the server.

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2

Use Remote Desktop To Access Other Computers On a Small Office or Home Network

Enable Remote Desktop

How to Remotely Enable Remote Desktop (Terminal Services or RDP) via Registry in Windows 2000/XP/2000/Vista/2008

Configuring Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Administration