By Ellie / Last Updated July 13, 2022

How do I allow multiple RDP sessions to a Windows Server 2012 R2?

 

I’m using a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard to run an accounting program. Users sign in to the server from their personal computer using Remote Desktop. How can I allow several users to log in at once? What is the detailed tutorial for enabling Windows Server multiple RDP sessions? Thanks.”

- Question from Microsoft Q&A

By default, Windows Server OS , for example Windows Server 2012 R2 allows 2 Remote Desktop sessions for each user, unlike Windows OS, for example, Windows 8.1 which only allows one simultaneous incoming RDP connection. But if you need to allow more than 2 RDP sessions to a Windows Server 2012 R2, you need to install the RDS (Remote Desktop Services) and purchase a RDS License. Let’s discover how to allow multiple users Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2.

Windows Server 2012 Multiple Users

How to allow multiple users Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2

Here in this section, we’ll introduce how to allow 2 RDP sessions and more than 2 RDP sessions on Windows Server 2012 R2 separately.

Part 1. How to allow 2 RDP sessions on Windows Server 2012 R2

Step 1. Log into the server using Remote Desktop.

Step 2. Press Win + R to open Run page, then type in “gpedit.msc” and click OK.

Group Policy

Step 3. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections.

RDP Connection

Step 4. Set Restrict Remote Desktop Services user to a single Remote Desktop Services session to Disabled.

Restrict Remote Desktop Services User to A Single Remote Desktop Services Session

Disable Restrict Remote Desktop Services User to a Single Remote Desktop Services Session

Step 5. Set Limit number of connections to Enabled and set the RD Maximum Connections allowed to 999999.

Limit Number of Connections

✍Note: Unless you purchase RDS CALs, it will not matter if you set the RD Maximum Connections allowed higher than 2, as Windows Server OS only permits 2 concurrent RDP sessions.

Part 2. How to allow more than 2 RDP sessions on Windows Server 2012 R2

If you require more than 2 concurrent connections from an internal device to your Windows Server 2012, RDS deployment with the proper RDS CALs installed is required. RDS (Remote Desktop Services) installation and RDS license purchase are required.

RDS deployment

Specifically, below three RDS serve roles might be necessary:

  • RD Connection Broker.
  • RD Session Host.
  • RD Licensing server-there is a 120-day licensing grace period, appropriate RDS CALs should be purchased and installed before it has expired.

RDS CALs

Users cannot connect without RDS CALs (Remote Desktop Services client access licenses). Additionally, you must decide whether your CAL requires a singular person (Per Person) or a singular device (Per Device) (Per User). Purchase of CALs is possible through the Microsoft Store and other independent resellers. The CALs must be activated using your product key, OLP license, activation number, or other relevant licensing data for your license.

Step 1. Open Server Manager. In the Dashboard, select Add roles and features.

Add Roles and Features

Step 2. In the Add Roles and Features Wizard, click Installation Type first. Then tick Role-based or feature-based installation.

Installation Type

Step 3. Click Server Selection, tick Select a server from the server pool, then select the server you want to install the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on.

Server Selection

Step 4. Tick the Remote Desktop Service check-box in the Server Roles step and click Next. Go ahead with Features step-by-default options.

Remote Desktop Services

Step 5. Tick the Remote Desktop Connection Broker, Remote Desktop Licensing, and Remote Desktop Session Host check boxes, and click Next.

Role Services

✍Note: You should accept if it asks you to install any pre-requisite role services or features. Installing the Remote Desktop Licensing role is also required if you intend to use the RDS deployment after the initial 120-day trial period.

Step 6. Tick the Restart the destination server automatically if required and click Install. It will take a while to be installed completely. Reboot your computer after finishing.

Restart the Destination Server Automatically If Required

Note: It’s worth noting that the process on how to allow more than 2 Remote Desktop Connections on Windows 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, and 2022 is pretty much the same as on the Windows Server 2012 R2.

Bonus tip: Easier way to allow multiple users Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2

Actually, to allow multiple users Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2 isn’t necessary to be so complicated. You can use the third-party remote desktop tool AnyViewer, which allows multiple users to access a remote desktop on Windows Server OS in a simpler way. Let’s quickly review its benefits over RDP before getting started.

Compatibility. RDP only supports remote connection to higher Windows editions (Professional and Enterprise). Windows Home and Single Language editions cannot receive incoming remote desktop connections. While AnyViewer supports multiple Windows systems, including Windows Home, Single Language, Professional, and Enterprise efitions.
Network restriction. RDP can’t be used when the two devices are on different networks unless you set up a port forwarding or use a VPN, while AnyViewer can be used directly without network restriction.
Built-in chat. RDP doesn’t support built-in text chat, while AnyViewer supports it.
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Secure Download

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AnyViewer on both computers. Go to Log in, and then click Sign up. (If you already have signed up on its official website, you can log in directly.)

Log in AnyViewer

Step 2. Fill in the signup information.

Sign Up for AnyViewer

Step 3. Then you can see you successfully logged in to AnyViewer. Your device will automatically be assigned to the account you’ve logged in to. 

Free Editions

Step 4. Log in to the same AnyViewer account on multiple devices. You will then see a list of all the devices that have been logged into the same account. By selecting Remote control, any two of the three devices can start unattended remote access to a third device at the same time.

Connect to My Devices

✍Note: You can upgrade your account to an Enterprise plan to initiate 10 concurrent connections, which means 10 remote connections can be initiated simultaneously.

Conclusion

This post primarily introduces how to allow multiple users Remote Desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2. After reading through, you may find that achieving multiple remote connections via RDP on Windows Server 2012 R2 is complicated, taking so many steps and configurations. Therefore, we recommended the free remote desktop software AnyViewer to you. With it, you can achieve multiple remote connections easily.