How do I connect to and control a Windows user's Remote Desktop (RDP) session?


By default, VNC Server runs in Service Mode which will display the console session of the computer that you connect to. The console session is what you would see if you were physically sat in front of the computer running VNC Server.

When there are active RDP sessions, the console session will display a lock screen, which is what you will see when connecting to VNC Server in Service Mode.

To connect to an RDP session, you need to run VNC Server in User Mode. Note: User Mode requires an Enterprise subscription.

To start VNC Server in User Mode, run the vncserver.exe application located in C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server. This will start a User Mode instance for the user that runs it.

Note that running vncserver.exe will open a Command Prompt window, do not close this or the User Mode instance will stop. To run User Mode without a Command Prompt window, run the following command:

start "" "C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server\vncguihelper.exe" "C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server\vncserver.exe"

User Mode will attempt to listen on port 5900 by default. This can be changed in VNC Server's Options. If you are running Service Mode already, you must change the port for User Mode. You can connect to a different port in VNC Viewer by adding ":port" to the end of the connection address, e.g.

You can automate User Mode starting when a user logs in to their account, by saving the previous command as a script (.bat) file and saving it to

%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

for each user. Note each user must have a unique port if running multiple User Mode instances concurrently.

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  • Grrrr ... another RealVNC "solution" that fails to mention it's only available in a higher tier pricing module. Yes, the information on this page probably does work but you have to have an Enterprise subscription. It will not work with a Home or Professional subscription. Having the right subscription plan is an essential part of this solution ... why would you not mention the requirement in the article?

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  • Hi Donnie,

    Thanks for the comment, I've updated the article.

    Jack N

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