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Sudden “…you must have Terminal Server User Access permissions on this computer.” Error.

I have a Small Business Server 2003 R2 Server running Team Foundation Server tucked out of the way to conserve desk space (three servers, two clients, two desks: not much space).  I don’t have it hooked up to a monitor (one: don’t have that many monitors, and two: desk space).  So, I’ve been merrily using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) in Windows XP to connect to this server to perform my various administration tasks (like install service packs, hot fixes, etc.).

Well, I finally had a couple of cycles to install some hotfixes for the new daylight savings time changes to various components, so I sparked up RDC to get the ball rolling on my server–as I have done many times before.  I was greeted with a message box as I logged in:

To log on to this remote computer, you must have Terminal Server User Access Permissions on this computer. By default, members of the Remote Desktop group have these permissions. If you are not a member of the Remote Desktop Users group or another group that has these permissions, or if the Remote Desktop User group does not have these permissions, you must be granted these permissions manually.

Needless to say I was dumbfounded–it worked fine yesterday.  After a bit of searching, it appears it was the 120 day anniversary of creating this server and Terminal Server (which is what is used for an application server in Small Business Server) had “expired” (i.e. its grace period for CALs had expired).  I was used to installing Windows Server and setting up Terminal Server for remote administration (there was a setting for that in Windows Server, I honestly don’t remember what Small Business Server asked me when I installed; it certainly wasn’t clear it was different the other Windows Server installation processes).  Apparently I missed the memo that remote administration is now called “Remote Desktop”.  Clearly a WTF moment.

As it turns out, the hoops to get back to the ability of remote administration aren’t clearly documented (I actually couldn’t find any documentation on the process, I actually inferred the process from various non-Microsoft sources–there could be documentation somewhere, I just didn’t find it).  The process requires that Terminal Server be uninstalled, the server rebooted, and Remote Desktop be re-enabled.  A point-list of the steps:

  1. Run Add/Remove Programs (run “appwiz.cpl”)

  2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components (Alt-W)

  3. Uncheck Terminal Server

  4. Press Next>.

  5. Follow instructions, including rebooting.

  6. Open System control panel applet (run “sysdm.cpl”)

  7. Click Remote tab.

  8. Check Enable Remote Desktop on this computer. (because removing Terminal Server disables this)

  9. Click Select Remote Users…

  10. Make sure administrators is in the list.

  11. Click OK.

  12. Click OK. for the next dialog.

  13. Wait a few minutes for things to get up and running and you’re no ready for remote administration again.

I hope this helps someone get back up and running faster than I did…

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