Service Pack 3 for Windows XP included an update to the remote desktop client which appears to have broken the old command for connecting to the console session of another computer. For some of my users I will setup their remote desktop settings and save those to a rdp file that can then be used to jump into a remote desktop session. The rdp file that the remote desktop creates is just a text file with settings in it. You used to be able to edit the text file and add a line that read:

connect to console:i:1

This would cause the session to connect to the console instead of a standard terminal services session allowing the user to interact with the same session as if you were sitting in front of the computer. For some reason this week these rdp sessions quit connecting to the console session on my servers.

After some investigation I found that this setting no longer works and you have to use:

administrative session:i:1.

Just a minor change but with large consequences!

Related to this is the fact that running mstsc.exe /console no longer works.
I’ve read that mstsc.exe /admin achieves the same thing, but I haven’t tested it yet. The reason for this change is that running remote desktop and connecting to the console connects you to session 0 which runs with elevated privileges and therefore is a security risk.