Strange Remote Desktop Problems

Friday, October 12, 2007

Before I start my tale of woe, I just want to point out that I've tried disabling the autotuning feature on Vista machines, but this doesn't fix the problem.

I have a relatively clean desktop machine. The desktop is a host for several virtual PCs, and runs Vista.

Remote desktop connections to the virtual PCs hosted on this desktop are solid, and the connections never drop. The virtual PCs run XP and 2003 Server.

But ... remote desktop connections to the desktop itself stall every 5 minutes. Sometimes the RDP connection drops entirely - other times it's just a matter of waiting 10-20 seconds for the connection to reconnect.

Each time this happens I lose a little more hair.

Even stranger - while a connection to the desktop is stalled, a connection to a virtual PC hosted on the desktop is still working great. I can even ping the host machine and see a 2ms response time.

This behavior leads me to believe that:

  1. There is nothing wrong with the RDP client
  2. There is nothing wrong in the networking stack or hardware of the desktop.
  3. There is something wrong with the terminal services service on Vista.

I'm hoping SP1 will fix the issue, and do so before I go bald.

Anyone else see similar behavior?


Comments
Sahil Malik Friday, October 12, 2007
After much thought, I have decided that the next time I repave my machine, I will not put windows twista on it.
Dave Friday, October 12, 2007
Using Vista Ultimate to make RDP connections to XP Pro, Win2k Server, and Win2k3 Server machines on a daily basis, I haven't experienced the hanging problem. Could there be something on your/their/some network throttling your traffic?
scott Friday, October 12, 2007
Dave: I don't seem to have any problems using Vista to connect to XP, 2003. It's when I use Vista to connect to another Vista machine that things go wierd on me.

I'm still experimenting to see if I can make this go away.

I think I need a new machine with hardware blessed by Vista, unfortunately.
Geoff Van Brunt Friday, October 12, 2007
I make daily connection to/from Vista/XP/Server 2003/Server 2000 computers. I've never had any problems with Vista. HOWEVER, all the clients have been updated to Remote Desktop Client 6.0. Have you done that?
scott Friday, October 12, 2007
Geoff:

Yes, the client machine is a Dell laptop running Vista.

I'm beginning to suspect it may be a driver issue on the laptop - something about the newer RDP version (packet size - gnomes - something) might be causing it to toss?
Rick Strahl Saturday, October 13, 2007
Shot in the dark: Have you tried turning off IP V6 on your network card? I've seen some odd behavior on some machines with it enabled...

scott Sunday, October 14, 2007
I gave it a shot but - no luck :/
Philip the Duck Monday, October 22, 2007
Scott - I'm seeing *exactly* the same behaviour connecting to Windows 2008 Server (I'm running this build: 6001.16659.070916-1443_amd64fre_Server_en-us-KR1SXFRE_EN_DVD.iso on a physical AMD x64 machine, not in a VM).

I have firewall active, with RDP allowed from local subnet only.

After 5-10 mins, the MSTSC window freezes (doesn't say "lost connection" - just freezes) but if I close it I can immediately reconnect just fine.

I use the latest MSTSC (version 6.0.6000.16459, the one with the non-working NLA feature - grr!), and it works flawlessly connecting to the Win2000, Win2003, and WinXP machines I use it with.

The problem only occurs when connecting to 2008 Server (I don't run Vista - I've tried several times to use it, but it just keeps letting me down - much like WinME did back in the day - so I've now removed it from all my client machines and gone back to XP - just like I had to go back to Win98SE back in the day - I had higher hopes for 2008 Server, but so far I'm feeling like it's just Vista with extra features; not liking it much at all).

Hope this helps.
Philip the Duck Monday, October 22, 2007
Scott - FYI, I'm also seeing this problem with 2008 Server: Vista running out of memory copying files - it.slashdot.org/article.pl

When I set up 2008 Standard I left it copying about 20,000 files (mostly backup/archive data) from the old Win2003 partition to the new 2008 drive. I used Windows explorer to copy the files, mainly because I'm too lazy to type an XCOPY command line, and after a couple of hours (yes, *hours*!!), the copy animation had frozen and the machine was very slow to respond - swapping like crazy. After reboot, things seemed OK and I found only about 15,000 files had been copied - the other 5,000 or so then copied OK. Creepy stuff!!

Well, at least these problems prove 2008 Server and Vista really do share the same codebase!

Hopefully a fix for one will also help the other.
Dunkin' Thursday, November 1, 2007
I've been having problems with RD and VPC07 on Vista Ultimate. The system runs w/out problems until I install VPC. After the install I have problems establishing RD connections from Vista to other systems on my network (XP and Server 2K3-R2) and windows explorer hangs for 20+ seconds. The network connection is still functional and the system works except for these two problems. They always appear together and are resolved at the same time.

It usually happens after a period of inactivity, 10-20 minutes, but lately it's been happening when the system boots. If I run TCPView when I'm experiencing the problem I see the RD connection is querying the second DNS server in the list and not the local networks DNS server which is in the #1 position.

After several installs I've narrowed the problem down to the VPC Virtual Machine Network Services driver and multiple DNS servers. If I have multiple DNS servers in the list I can fix the problem immediately by disabling the VPC's Virtual Machine Network Services driver or I can avoid the problem altogether by removing the second and third DNS server entries.


I don't experience the RD/Explorer hang problems on XP. It seems that Vista's new network stack and VPC Virtual Machine Drivers don't play well together.

I've also experienced a similar problem with Server 2K3-R2 running exchange in a instance of VPC. If I have multiple DNS servers in the address list then the Exchange Management Shell cannot find the AD server. If I remove the additional DNS servers the problem disappears.

FYI. This is a new Dell system that came with Vista HP installed. The first DNS server entry is the network's local DNS/AD server and the second and third entries where for Open DNS.

I hope this helps someone.
gravatar Terence Friday, October 16, 2009
I noticed this post was 2 yrs ago, I wonder if anyone found any solution to the strange RDP disconnection.
We're expereincing the same problem. Server is a W2k8 Terminal server and Client is XP machine. User walked away or no activity for 5 min then the RDP session was frozen, no error, no message, just freeze. Happened to more than 1 user....sometimes whole office at the same time. And they need to close the session and reconnect, then they can continue to work.
Manning Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I am connecting to a remote server on a VMWare ESXi server. The server OS is Windows Server 2008 DataCenter. I did not have any problems with the RDP conneciton dropping from my old XP desktop PC. I just moved to a new PC running Windows 7 and my RDP connections drop. Maybe the change in OS's will shed some light on the issue.
gravatar Paul Friday, October 29, 2010
From a computer dummy: answers above are too technical for me, but....

Using Windows 7, I find that the "tunnel" or VPN connection stays connected, but the remote desktop connection is constantly being lost. That is, I get the message that it's trying to reconnect, but it never does. I have to close Remote Desktop AND disconnect my VPN tunnel and start over. Then it connects perfectly until the next failure (I typically get approx 5 to 30 min of uninterrrupted connect time.)

Did any of you who commented above find an answer understandable to Dummies?? :) Thanks.
gravatar Paul Friday, October 29, 2010
From a computer dummy: answers above are too technical for me, but....

Using Windows 7, I find that the "tunnel" or VPN connection stays connected, but the remote desktop connection is constantly being lost. That is, I get the message that it's trying to reconnect, but it never does. I have to close Remote Desktop AND disconnect my VPN tunnel and start over. Then it connects perfectly until the next failure (I typically get approx 5 to 30 min of uninterrrupted connect time.)

Did any of you who commented above find an answer understandable to Dummies?? :) Thanks.
gravatar Matt Monday, November 1, 2010
Did anyone have a resolution to this? We are having are suffering a very similar problem. New Windows 2008 R2 terminal server and many (not all) users are suffering constants freezes for approc 30sec. Windows 7 clients do not appear to suffer the problem as much as XP, though not all XP clients are prone to it??
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Cheers
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