What Is mstsc exe and How to Use mstsc?

Have no idea of what is mstsc exe? This post explains the definition of mstsc and shows how to use mstsc in Windows 11/10/8/7 to connect to a remote computer.


By Annie / Updated on December 1, 2022

Share this: instagram reddit

What is mstsc.exe?

mstsc, the abbreviation of Microsoft Terminal Service Client, is an executable file. The mstsc exe location in Windows 10/11 is C:\system32/mstsc. 

MSTSC Location

It is a command interface to run Microsoft Remote Desktop Client (Remote Desktop Connection) in Windows. Then, you can establish a connection to a remote computer on the same network or different networks, if the Remote Desktop has been enabled on the remote PC. 

How to use mstsc command lines?

Before using mstsc to set up a connection, let’s have a basic understanding of common mstsc arguments.

  • : The name of the .rdp file required for the connection.
  • /v:server[:port]>: Specify the remote computer or server to which you need to connect
  • /g:: The RD Gateway Server to be used for the connection. Required only when the endpoint remote PC is specified with /v.
  • /admin: To set up the connection as an administrator.
  • /f: To access the remote desktop in full screen.
  • /w:: To Specify the width of the remote desktop window.
  • /h:: To specify the height of the remote desktop window.
  • /edit: To edit the specified .rdp file.

And the syntax of mstsc is:

MSTSC [ ] [/v: ] [/g: ]
[/admin] [/f[ullscreen]] [/w: /h: ] [/public] |
[/span] [/multimon] [/edit "connection file"] [/restrictedAdmin]
[/remoteGuard] [/prompt] [/shadow: [/control][/noConsentPrompt]]

Note: To display help in the mstsc command prompt, press Windows + R to open "Run" windows>  Input “mstsc.exe /?” and hit the “Enter” key. Then you can see a pop-up window that shows mstsc command line options. 


✍ Now, see how to use mstsc.exe to access another computer remotely in the same network. To access from an outside network using mstsc.exe, port forwarding is necessary.

Step 1. Press Windows + R, input "mstsc" and click OK to open Remote Desktop Connection window.


Note: If you want to establish a remote connection in full-screen mode, type the command "mstsc.exe /f". You can use other mstsc parameters listed " to achieve corresponding goals.

Step 2.  Just input all necessary information like the IP address of the remote computer and click "Connect". 



mstsc.exe crashes: What should I do?

mstsc.exe is essential for remote connection. Sometimes, events like Windows updates can break the Remote Desktop client. Then you may get kinds of RDP issues, like “Remote Desktop can’t connect to the remote computer for one of these reasons…”. To fix crashing mstsc, you can runsfc/scannowor restore the system to its previous status.

Solution 1. Run sfc/scannow to fix system files

System File Checker tool (SFC) is a command prompt-based tool and it requires administrator rights to open and run the app. With it, you can scan Windows system files and fix them by exacting the correct file and replacing the incorrect version. Here is how to use it.

Step 1. On the Search box, type “Command Prompt”, right-click it, and select “Run it as administrator”.

Step 2. Input "sfc/scannow" in the window and hit Enter key.

SFC Scannow

Then the Windows system will scan the interscan integrity of all the protected system files and repair the damaged files. This process can take several minutes and please wait patiently.

Solution 2. Restore your system to its previous status

Since the issue that mstsc.exe file is broken occurs after the Windows update, you can restore your system to a status where there is nothing wrong with mstsc.exe file, if you have created a system restore point. Here are the detailed steps to restore your system (Take Windows 11 as an example).

Step 1. Type "System Restore" in the search box and choose “Recovery”.


Step 2. Choose “Open System Restore” among the three options. And then click “Next”.

Open System Restore

Step 3. Here you can choose the restore point and restore your computer to the state.


Step 4. Then, you’ll need to confirm the operation.


Solution 3. Swtich to a third-party remote desktop software

Or you can try AnyViewer. A free, easy-to-use, reliable, and secure remote access solution for all editions of Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7, including Home and Standard Editions and Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012 R2.  And it is far more than remote desktop software but is also available for remote file transfer. You can click the following button to download it to have a try!

Download Freeware Windows PCs & Servers
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run AnyViewr on both destination and source computers. Sign up for an AnyViewr account and sign in to this account on both computers. 

Log in to AnyViewer

Note: Once signed in, the computer will be assigned to the account automatically. Between assigned computers, one-click remote control, screen view, and computer lock are available. 

Step 2. On your local computer, click "Device", and locate the target computer, click it. Then, click "One-click control" and you can get remote access to the computer quickly. 

Remote Access to Computer

Then, you can see the screen of the remote PC, edit files and run apps on it. 


More details about mstsc.exe

Surely you have known what is mstsc.exe, how to use it, and how to fix it. If you want to realize more, keep reading!

1. Is mstsc. exe a virus?

mstsc.exe isn't a virus. However, some viruses can pretend to be a mstsc.exe file. 

2. Where is mstsc.exe located?

As mentioned above, usually, the mstsc.exe file is located in  C:\Windows\System32. 

3. What is the difference between RDP and mstsc?

RDP is the protocol that Remote Desktop Connection uses and mstsc is the name of the file that starts Remote Desktop Connection.