5 Fixes: Could Not Load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX Control

This post primarily addresses how to resolve the "Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control" issue. It introduces five specific methods for fixing the problem. Additionally, it presents a Remote Desktop alternative in case you are looking for one.


By Ellie / Updated on January 18, 2024

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Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control


When I attempt to launch Remote Desktop Connection, I receive the following error: Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control. Make sure mstscax.dll is in the path. I'm at a loss for what to do. I desperately need to be able to connect to my work computer from home. Please assist!”

- Question from Microsoft Community

Could not Load the Remote Desktop Services Activex Control

This error message indicates that the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control cannot be loaded because the required DLL file, "mstscax.dll," is not found in the specified path. The ActiveX control is a component used for remote desktop connections, and its absence or inability to load can prevent the proper functioning of remote desktop features.

How to fix "Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control" [5 methods]

If you're facing "Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control" on Windows 7 when using Remote Desktop to remotely access another computer, don't worry. Here are five solutions to fix it.

Method 1. Re-register the mstscax.dll file

This issue might occur if the mstscax.dll file is not registered. You may try to follow these steps and try to re-register the mstscax.dll file.

Step 1. Search for Command Prompt in the Search box, and then click Run as administrator.

Run as Administrator CMD

Step 2. Type in “regsvr32 Mstscax.dll” without quotes and press Enter. Then click OK.

Re-register Mstscax.dll

Method 2. Replace the mstscax.dll file

Another way to resolve this problem is by replacing the mstscax.dll file with another working copy. Before this, you need to use two commands to take ownership of the file.

Step 1. Open an administrator Command Prompt. Use the following "takeown" command to take ownership of the file:

takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\mstscax.dll

Take Ownership of the File

Step 2. That will give you ownership of the file, but you still have no right to delete it. You need to run the following cacls command to give yourself full control rights to the file:

cacls C:\Windows\System32\mstscax.dll /G username:F (Replace the “username” with your username)

Full Control of the File

Step 3. At this point, you should be able to delete the file and then replace it with another known working copy. Navigate here: This PC > Win 10 (C:) > Windows > System32, follow the path to find mstscax.dll file.

Mstscax.dll File

Step 4. Right-click it and choose Properties.

Mstscax.dll Property

Step 5. Go to the Previous Version tab, wait for it to finish the search, then you’ll see another version of the file. Copy it and then paste it to the System32 folder.

Mstscax.dll Previous Version

Method 3. System File Checker (SFC) scan

Run the System File Checker tool to scan and repair corrupted system files. Follow the steps below:

Step 1. Open a Command Prompt as an administrator.

Run the Command Prompt

Step 2. Run the following command:

sfc /scannow

SFC Scannow

Method 4. Check for Windows updates

Ensure that your Windows operating system is up to date with the latest updates. Some updates may include fixes for issues related to Remote Desktop Services.

Step 1. Click on the Start menu (Windows icon) in the bottom-left corner of your screen. Select "Settings".


Step 2. Go to the "Update & Security" > "Windows Update" > "Check for updates".

Windows Update

Step 3. If updates are available, Windows will list them. Click the "Install" button to start the update process.

Windows Update Install Now

Step 4. Some updates may require a restart to complete the installation. Ensure you save your work and restart your computer when prompted.

Method 5. Reinstall the Remote Desktop client

Try reinstalling the Remote Desktop client. You can download the latest version from the official Microsoft website.

Step 1. From the Start menu, search for the Settings app and open it.

Step 2. Select Apps, then find or search for Remote Desktop Connection from the Apps & Features list, select the three dots on the right-hand side, then select Uninstall.

Uninstall Remote Desktop Connection

Step 3. Confirm you want to uninstall the app by selecting Uninstall. Restart your machine if the app prompts you to complete the installation.

Step 4. Download the Remote Desktop Connection installer file to reinstall it.

Free Remote Desktop alternative: AnyViewer

A permanent solution to the "Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control" error is to find a Remote Desktop alternative. An option is to utilize the quick and stable free remote desktop software AnyViewer, which allows you to access your work computer in the office from home without any further configuration. Besides, it has the following advantages over Remote Desktop:

Ease of Use:

  • AnyViewer is known for its user-friendly interface and easy setup process. It doesn't require complex configurations or network settings, making it accessible for both technical and non-technical users.
  • While Remote Desktop Connection is relatively straightforward for Windows users, it may involve more configuration steps, especially for users connecting from different networks.

No Network Configuration Hassles:

  • AnyViewer operates over the internet without the need for additional network configurations like port forwarding. This simplifies the remote access process, especially when connecting to devices behind firewalls or routers.
  • Remote Desktop Connection may require additional network configuration and port forwarding, which can be challenging for users who are not familiar with network settings.

Cross-Network Connectivity:

  • AnyViewer can connect across different networks without requiring a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This is beneficial for users who need to access remote devices over the internet without setting up a VPN connection.
  • Remote Desktop Connection may work better within a local network, and connecting over the internet may involve additional steps like setting up a VPN.
Download Freeware Win PCs & Servers
Secure Download

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AnyViewer on both your home and office computers.

Download AnyViewer

Step 2. On your office computer, 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 3. On your home computer, log in to the same AnyViewer account.

Free Editions

Step 4. Choose your office computer and then click One-click control to achieve unattended remote access.

Connect to My Devices

Step 5. Then you can see the screen of your office computer and take full control of it.

Remotely Control Another Computer

The free version lets you set up unattended remote access for three devices. Businesses with more extensive needs can opt for a Professional or Enterprise plan, enabling simultaneous access to multiple devices, group management, mass deployment, and other enhanced features.



In conclusion, the "Could not load the Remote Desktop Services ActiveX control" error can be resolved through various methods. Options include re-registering the mstscax.dll file, replacing the file, running a System File Checker scan, checking for Windows updates, or reinstalling the Remote Desktop client.

Alternatively, consider using AnyViewer as a hassle-free, cross-network remote desktop alternative with user-friendly features. Follow the recommended steps for a seamless resolution.