I usually connect to other PCs in the same building using Remote Desktop, which works great. For some reason, some actions cannot be performed through Remote Desktop. These are, for example:

  • Installation of certain software
  • Accessing the directory of a DVD (that is inserted at the remote computers drive)
  • several other tasks that just "don't react or start", unless you do the same thing without RDP

All these actions work with any other remote access tool, like VNC, Teamviewer, LogMeIn, etc.

My question is: What is the difference when I use a computer through RDP instead of directly?

Is there a list of prohibited actions available so that one could know upfront if something can be done with RDP or not?

2 Answers 2


It all depends on what the "actions" require of the system in the background. Certain software will not run at all because RDP uses a special graphic driver, and some will not be able to install certain display drivers in an RDP session (UltraVNC). Other software refuses to run in terminal sessions for licensing purposes.

A group policy prevents you from accessing removable storage over RDP by default (CD/DVD drives, etc) and this can be modified. alt text


Regarding not being to install certain software, this is because some companies (including Adobe, Autodesk and other 3D/CAD comapanies, from my experience) do not want their software running on Terminal Services, where one licenced installation/dongle could potentially be used by many users at the same time.

Other software may also refuse to run on anything but the console session, but there could be many reasons for that, so examples would have to be given.

Those other remote programs use the console session, so the applications are unaware of being accessed remotely, and it would not matter, as there can only be one console session.

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