Microsoft recently released a free tool for managing multiple remote desktop connections called “Remote Desktop Connection Manager”.
A sample screenshot:
There are several nice features, such as “Connect group” which lets you connect to all servers in a group at once:
On the “Group Properties” you may set common settings for all connections in the group, like logon credentials:
Further, there are group properties for RDS Gateway (formerly TS Gateway), display settings, local resources and so on.
There are several applications for remote desktop connections on the market, and some of them got these settings as a per server setting. It`s nice to be able to group servers and configure common settings.
Dynamically creating the connection list
When you work in larger environments with hundreds, maybe thousands of servers, setting up each connection manually isn`t an option.
Since Remote Desktop Connection Manager stores the config-files in xml-files, it`s rather easy to create dynamic config-files for a domain using Windows PowerShell. I`ve created a script to accomplish this, called New-RDCManFile.ps1, available from here. It uses Microsoft`s PowerShell-module for Active Directory, which is available in Windows Server 2008 R2 and RSAT for Windows 7.
The script does the following:
Creates a template xml-file
Inserts the logged on user`s domain name in the file properties
Inserts the logged on user`s domain name in the group properties
Inserts the logged on user`s username in the logoncredentials section
Inserts the logged on user`s domain name in the logoncredentials section
Retrieves all computer objects from Active Directory with the word “server” in the operatingsystem property
Adds each computer object as a server object
Saves the XML-file to %userprofile%domain-name.rdg
When done you can open the rdg-file in Remote Desktop Connection Manager. I would recommend you to insert your password in the Group Properties to avoid being asked for credentials for each connection.
Feel free to customize the script to your needs, in example by editing the XML-template to edit the Group Properties. Another customization might be creating a group for each server OU for enhanced overview in larger environments.
If you would rather use Quest`s PowerShell Commands for Active Directory (which works on downlevel operatingsystems like Windows XP and Windows Server 2003), or any other way to retrieve the server names, you may customize this on line 110.
You might also want to schedule the script to run on a regular basis, saving the file to a central location. This way the IT personnel will always have access to the latest version with the most recent servers added.
If you got any further ideas or comments, please let me know in the comments section below.