What options do I have to connect to a remote Windows server if RDP is broken?

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What options do I have to connect to a remote Windows server if RDP is broken (unresponsive), I don’t have console access, and the server isn’t physically close?

On Linux, if VNC wasn’t working, I could usually rely on an SSH daemon. Windows never picked that up (why, I don’t know) – is there any equivalent?

The first thing I do when RDP is not talking is this in Powershell:

PS> $service = get-service -computername MyServer -displayname "Remote Desktop Services"
PS> $service.stop
PS> $service.start

The majority of the time this revives RDP and I can get back in. If this doesn’t do the trick then I have to rely on iLO or one of the other console options mentioned in other answers here.

See this question here for your command line options. Basically, you’ve got WinRS/WinRM, PowerShell Remoting and PSexec and the other SysInternals Suite utilities. You can also install SSH, or even telnet on a Windows server, and connect to that, once it’s installed.

Additionally, your tools in the Administrative Tools folder will let you connect to remote machines (or at least) try, so that’s an option. (Mostly your MMC snap-ins, but even some of the natively included standalone exes, like regedit, have this functionality.)

You also should have some form of Out-of-Band management interface/virtual console on your server (such as HP’s iLO or Dell’s iDRAC), and if not…well, learn from this and get one on your next server.

Finally, there are any number of third party tools that will often allow you to access a server remotely, install themselves, and then set up a screen share based on VNC (or similar). Dameware and IntelliAdmin come to mind immediately, but they’re just two of many.

PowerShell is what you’re looking for. TechNet PowerShell Remoting

Since it hasn’t been mentioned:

There’s always “smart hands”. Never underestimate the simplicity of calling someone and saying “can you walk over to the server and tell me what you see? …OK…do this for me.”

Unless the server is orbiting the earth, that is likely an option.

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