RDCMan (Remote Desktop Connection Manager) is a convenient tool for Windows system administrators that allows to manage multiple RDP connection sessions in a single window, create tree-like structures with the remote Windows hosts (you are constantly using or managing), use different RDP connection settings for separate servers or groups and save administrator (or user) credentials to automatically authenticate on RDP/RDS servers.
How to Download and Install RDCMan?
RDCMan is free tool and you can download it from Microsoft website. The up-to-date version is 2.7.1406.0. Download rdcman.msi (1.1 MB) following this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44989
RDCMan installation is standard, there are no tricks. Run it, click next-next-next and it’s done. The icon on your desktop is not created, so find the program in the Start menu.
How to Configure RDP Host Groups in RDCMan?
When we start RDCMan.exe we see an empty console. First of all, you must create a configuration file to store your settings by pressing Ctrl+N or in the menu: File –> New. Enter the file name *.rdg (actually, it is a text XML file that you can edit manually). In a single configuration file you can save any number of RDP connections for your remote servers. The tool allows to structure RDP connections by any criteria you choose: use this feature to create groups.
For example, you can create a group of Hyper-V servers or your AD domain controllers group. You can group your remote servers by their location, role or customer.
You can save your RDP credentials to connect to the servers in a group. In the Group Properties, go to the Logon Credentials tab and specify your credentials. All servers in this group inherit the group settings. To change any server option different from the specified group settings, uncheck “Inherit from parent” and configure it individually.
Don’t forget to click the Save button.
Configuring RDP Connection Settings in RDCMan
Go to RDP connection properties in the “Connection Settings” tab. By default, the standard port 3389 is used for RDP connection. You can change the port, if your RDP server listens on non-standard port. Uncheck the option “Inherit from parent” and change the RDP port number.
If you check the “Connect to console” option, you will be connect to your server’s console. The console mode simulates direct connection to the local monitor of your server and is used to connect to the RDS server without using client CAL license or if the licensing server is not available or the RDSH licensing mode is not configured.
Configure the screen resolution to be used in the RDP session in the “Remote Desktop Settings” tab (I recommend to set it to “Full screen”) and local resources in the corresponding tab to be redirected to the RDP session (for example, you can redirect to your RDP session clipboard, local printers, use a local drives sharing, etc.).
In order you don’t need to scroll and the RDP window fits your screen, do check the option “Scale docked remote desktop to fit window”.
Right-click the group and add a server:
- Server Name – specify host name or its IP address;
- Display Name – server name displayed in the RDCMan console.
Finally, you will get this kind of console with remote server tiles updated in real time.
When you double-click a server, you will access a server using RDP with a saved password.
You can use the “Connect Group” option, thus, RDP consoles will be opened for all servers in a group.
You can do standard things with your server, they are intuitive.
- Reconnect server – reconnect if a remote session is disconnected;
- Send keys – send standard keyboard shortcuts to a server;
- Disconnect server – disconnects from a server;
- Log off server – logs off a server;
- List sessions – view server active sessions;
- Undock – brings a server to a separate RDP window;
- Dock – returns a server to the console.
The main thing: don’t forget to save the configuration file.
The next time you start RDCMan, you will see the following window where you will need to select servers or groups you would like to reconnect.
How to Import Servers to RDCMan?
Unfortunately, you cannot import your server directly from Active Directory. It looks quite strange since RDCMan is a tool developed by Microsoft.
However, you can import servers from a text or a CSV file (you can export the lists of computers or servers from AD using the Get-ADComputer cmdlet).
To import server list, select “Import Servers” in the Edit menu. In the next window, specify the path to the text file containing the list of servers and click Import.
To break the imported list of servers into groups, use Edit -> Add smart group. Type the group name and set the rules, according to which the servers will get into it (e. g., the common part of the name or IP addresses).
Accessing Hyper-V Virtual Machine Console in RDCMan
In RDCMan 2.7 you can configure direct connection to the console of virtual machine running on Hyper-V host (when Enhanced Session Mode is used). To do it, you have to get the virtual machine ID on your Hyper-V host. Use this PowerShell command:
Get-VM -Name WS2016 | select ID
After you have got the VM ID, you can use it to configure a connection in RDCMan. When adding a new server in the RDCMan, specify the name of your Hyper-V host, check “VM console connect” and paste the VMID into the ID field. You will be connected under an account with Hyper-V administrator privileges over VMBus (it means that you don’t need the network access to the FQDN or IP address of a guest OS – the access is provided through the Hyper-V host bus using Port 2701).
RDCMan has a simple user interface and is very easy to use. There is also a Linux version of the tool. If you just need an RDP connection manager, this is an excellent and easy-to-use everyday tool for a Windows administrator.