Often at work I have to RDP into one server in order to get to another. And no, there's no chance of the network getting sorted out such that I can connect to all machines directly :)

I'm wondering if anyone has any good tips/tricks for working in this scenario. I tend to open RDP sessions full screen, so the way to get back to my desktop is to click the minimize or restore buttons on the toolbar the drops down from the top of the screen when you are using a full-screen RDP session. The problem is that when you log into A and then from there log into B, A's toolbar covers B's, so there's no easy way to get back to the desktop of A without logging out of B. At least as far as I can see. Maybe there's a keyboard shortcut that can pop you out of the innermost session?

At the moment, I try to not use full screen mode on the nested session, but apart from having to remember to set that before I connect, it reduces the workspace and is something I'd like to avoid.

  • 1
    I love/hate dealing with this. I always envision throwing a few virtual machines and some VNC into the mix too. RDP to a server, bring up a virtual machine console running on the server, VNC from the virtual machine over to the Linux desktop next door, and from there SSH ...etc. Totally impractical and unnecessary, but... fun to envision? heh
    – JMD
    Commented Nov 27, 2009 at 17:27
  • As an aside, try your source machine not be a Windows machine. That means you can send Ctrl-Alt-Del to the first hop and Ctrl-Alt-End to the second hop.
    – Broam
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


Uncheck the pin on the "outer" RDP's toolbar to hide it. You can still get to it if necessary (hold the mouse against the edge of the screen), and any inner RDP connection toolbars will be visible.

Alternatively, other RDP clients such as Remote Desktop Manager might have a different toolbar when you run them full screen, so you'll know the custom toolbar is for the outer connection and the standard toolbars are inner connections.

Edit: Microsoft Remote Desktop Client 7.0 allows you to move the RDP toolbar from side to side by dragging it. You can move the outer toolbar to the side so you can tell it apart from the others.

  • 1
    Just like BeOS...
    – Kev
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 13:48
  • 1
    If the inner session's toolbar isn't pinned then moving the mouse to the top of the screen causes both to appear simultaneously with the outer session's bar on top of course. Setting the checkbox to make it appear is another thing you have to do in advance of opening the connection. And then you need to remember not to unpin it or you're screwed. It really is a poorly designed UI. I'll see if I can get updated to version 7 anyway. Thanks
    – U62
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 17:12
  • There's good news and bad news as always with Microsoft updates - the version 7 client is available for XP and does indeed solve the problem via the inelegant means of moving the toolbar. The bad news is for no apparent reason the toolbar is massive (covers the whole of the maximised window's titlebar and half it's menu bar!) and rendered in ugly Vista/Win7 style.
    – U62
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 17:50
  • I've been doing a lot of RDP the last couple of days. Yesterday at some point I had a top toolbar that was nested inside of another toolbar. Yet today, I had to move the toolbars to the side because they weren't nested. Moving the toolbars worked well, but I have to wonder why the nesting went away... maybe I was on Win8 when I saw it.
    – jcollum
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 21:34

I generally try to set the "inner" session's resolution to something slightly less than the outer RDP's "fullscreen" size. That negates the overlapping RDP command tabs at the top, and the aggravation of competing task bars that may or may not be set to Autohide (or worse, both set to not Autohide, leaving one forver hidden.)

Once I have the settings the way I want for the inner one I just save a .RDP with the dimensions I want, ensuring I don't have to twiddle manually every time I connect.

  • That's what I do already - as I stated in my question, I'd like to avoid it.
    – U62
    Commented Nov 27, 2009 at 18:19
  • Maybe I misread your question, but "I tend to open RDP sessions full screen" doesn't sound at all like you do that. It sounds like you have a fullscreen session inside a fullscreen session which is the cause of your overlapping problem.
    – JMD
    Commented Nov 27, 2009 at 18:48
  • 1
    read to the end
    – U62
    Commented Nov 27, 2009 at 22:06

Unpin the Connection Bar of Outer RDP session. Connect to another Remote Desktop within outer RDP.

Now if you want to switch back to outer RDP session, when you navigate to top of Inner RDP session you will see connection bar of Outer Session (not inner).

Just hold left mouse button and drag the connection bar of outer RDP session to the left or right, now you can see the connection of inner session.

Now, pin the connection bar of inner RDP session of better navigation between those nested RDP sessions.

Nested RDP sessions

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