I'm already running a hacked RDP made for Vista Home Premium x64, but I recently realized that shadow sessions only work for Windows Server versions. I really need to support shadow sessions on lesser versions of Windows though, and I have no idea why they left that out. RDP is worthless to me if I can't see what's going on and interact with my remote machine.

On the other hand, VNC is just too slow for my tastes. I've used it for years, but it's just not fast enough for me, even over the same network. I just want to get RDP working with shadow sessions / console mode in Vista Home Premium or at least Ultimate. I'd even upgrade to Windows 7 if I had to, if I knew it could get this to work.


Actually you can do this from the computer you are trying to connect. They've changed it in vista so that you can't anymore access shadow console directly. You must first log in to remote computer (using other account) and then shadow the console.

See more detailed instructions here

If someone knows a way to connect directly to current users session without locking him out, or even letting him know, I would be also interested.

  • Also interesting: forums.firedaemon.com/accessing-shadow-console-via-t397.html (couldn't send two links in my answer since I don't have enough reputation :D, weird limitations) – Juha Nov 9 '10 at 22:23
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    Just wanted to follow up and let you know that I did indeed get it working. After sifting through all the posts in that Green Button thread you linked to, I found that all I needed was the tip in the very last post: "In the future, if you don't want to use the shadow command, you can just go into the "users" tab of the task manager. Then, right click a user's name and select shadow session or shadow user (I forget exactly what it says). But if you haven't changed the other settings, the other use will be prompted to allow you to take control first." – purefusion Jan 21 '11 at 5:38
  • Minus that last bit about the other user getting prompted... I didn't have that obstacle, fortunately. Maybe some settings did get changed, I'm not sure. In any case, I wanted to make sure I thanked you properly for pointing me in the right direction. Thanks a million! :) – purefusion Jan 21 '11 at 5:41
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    @Juha, Your link is broken. – Pacerier Feb 27 '15 at 18:29
  • @purefusion, Still, you couldn't have access to the task manager unless you are already logon to the system as another user. There doesn't seem to be a way to directly remote-connect to a shadow session. – Pacerier Feb 27 '15 at 18:31

Run the shadow command from an RDP session on any computer connecting to the computer of interest. (I.e. shadow from physical console isn't possible.)

shadow console /server:hostname

Setting it up (concurrent sessions)

There is a huge difference between Windows Home and Windows Pro/Ultimate. Most of this relates Pro/Uptimate systems. RdpWrap (link below) allows connecting to a concurrent session in Home systems, too.

Once in a while Windows Updates might reset the configuration and you must re-run the setup.

How to shadow in Windows 7?
If you have set up RDP, open Task Manager > Processes tab > Elevate it: click on Show processes from all users > Click on Users tab > Right-click on the user to be shadowed > Remote Control.

You can set the desired access rights in Group Policy > gpedit.msc Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktio Session Host > Connections > Set rules for remote control of Remote Desktop Services user sessions: Enable the configuration and select the desired level of control and permission.

How to shadow in Windows 10?

Shadowing activated from the mstsc command line with options -- check mstsc /help

Configure access rights from Group Policy (see above) or from RDPConf.exe of RdpWrap package.

It takes a lot of typing each time to start shadowing. To make it easy, I put a file shadow.bat in Windows System32 directory with the following instructions:

@echo off
for /f "tokens=3" %%a in ('qwinsta ^| find "console"') do set id=%%a
mstsc /shadow:%id% /control /noconsentprompt

That allows opening an elevated command prompt and just type as easy as

shadow <username>

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