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Is it possible to have a URL that launches a remote desktop session? I realize it may be considered a security vulnerability for some, but the convenience would really save me a lot of time.

I would like to have a hyperlink like: remotedesktop://example.org where clicking on it launches mstsc.exe with the target computer filled in (in this case with example.org).

How best to set this up?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You could use a custom URL protocol handler, but this would mean the URLs only worked on computers where you had set this up. I think you'd also need a program to handle taking the URL as remotedesktop://example.org and converting to /v:example.org - although a batch file could probably do this.

See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa767914(v=vs.85).aspx for more information.

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This is the real answer, I was just hoping for an easier/established way to do it. –  optus Aug 3 '11 at 17:50
For those finding this via searches or other sources, try this. –  peelman Feb 7 at 17:08

I originally said no, but if you have XP, there is something called the Remote Desktop Web Connection. I initially forgot there was a version for XP.



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There was something similar for Small Business Server 2003 called Remote Web Workplace, but even then, you could not use a direct URL. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Remote_Web_Workplace –  KCotreau Jul 18 '11 at 17:10
Correct me if I'm wrong- this requires me to install/configure something on each server that I would like to connect to? That's going to be prohibitive for me. Thanks though! –  optus Jul 18 '11 at 17:47
Yes that would be correct. And I agree, it is a pain in the neck...but you asked. :) Support for this was dropped as of Vista. –  KCotreau Jul 18 '11 at 23:08

It's not quite what you want, but with Windows Server 2008/R2, you can have your RemoteApps and RDP machines shown on a TS/RD Web Access webpage.

In conjunction with TS/RD Gateway, you could have RDP working through port 443, which is useful in places that block other ports.

TS Web Access

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I sense that he means directly to his computer, like to a home computer. I could be wrong though. –  KCotreau Jul 18 '11 at 17:20

I think this would work, and might be the effect you are looking for:

With your local copy of Remote Desktop, set up a connection to the target host. But don't connect; instead, save the connection as an RDP file.

Place that file on your web server. Serve the file with a standard <A HREF='path.to.your/file.rdp'> link. (Note: you may need to update your web server config to "download" this file rather than "serve" it to the web browser.)

The user will probably need to know to run the downloaded file... but it should get their computer to launch RD and initiate a connection to the target host.

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