Windows Advisor

The New Switch for Console Connections

Behind the new /admin switch in Vista and Windows Server 2008

Q. What's the purpose of the /admin switch when using Microsoft Terminal Services Client in Vista?

A. In Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has replaced the /console switch with /admin switch. So, instead of using the command:

mstsc /console

use this:

mstsc /admin

If you use the /console switch in a script in Vista, it will have no effect and instead of connecting to the console, you will be connected using the normal remote desktop session.

This new switch has several interesting features. The connections made with /admin switch don't count toward the terminal server session limits. In addition, if you use /admin to establish a remote desktop connection, you're not using a Terminal Services client access license (CAL).

Another feature of /admin switch is that with administrative access, you can establish a remote desktop connection even if your permissions are set to Deny User Permissions To Log On To Terminal Server.

If you usually prefer to connect to the remote computer's console, you can modify the properties of the shortcut and add the /admin switch (%systemroot%\system32\mstsc.exe /admin).

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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