Windows Advisor

Bad Remote Connection

Reader has problem getting remote access to a Windows 2003 domain controller; Win2003 gives USB no respect.

Q: Why can't some members of our IT staff connect to our Windows Server 2003 domain controller remotely? They get the error message, "The local policy of this system does not permit you to log on interactively." Their account has already been added to the Remote Desktop Users group.

A: Microsoft's documentation on this topic is not always very clear. You have probably read the documentation that states that in WS03, users only need to be added to the Remote Desktop Users group; unlike Windows 2000, they do not need the log-on locally rights to connect using Remote Desktop Connection.

However, if the remote computer is a domain controller, then the users must also be given the user right, "Allow log on through Terminal Services." Give your IT staff this user right, run "gpupdate/force" and they should be able to connect remotely.

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Q: Why does my new external USB hard drive work fine in Windows 2000/XP but not in Windows Server 2003? Even though the system detects the USB drive and installs the driver, why don't I see any drive letters in Explorer or My Computer?

A: If your system is detecting and installing the driver, then your USB drive is not defective. Windows Server 2003 is installing the drive but is not assigning it a drive letter.

What you need to do is open Computer Management, go to Disk Management and assign your USB drive a new drive letter. Here's the procedure:

  1. Right-click your USB drive in Disk Management and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Assign the drive letter of your choice and click OK.

As soon as the drive letter is assigned, you'll see the drive letter show up in Windows Explorer and My Computer. There is no need to reboot your computer. Some users have experienced the exact same problem of missing USB drive letters in Windows XP, as well. The process of adding drive letters in Windows XP is identical to the process for Windows Server 2003 described above.

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site,, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at [email protected].

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