How to view list of active remote desktop Users in Windows Server ?


👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 Nov 12 2021    📁 Fix    📜 0 comment

If you're curious about who is currently connected to a remote desktop connection, you've come to the right place. There are numerous methods for determining the number of remotely connected users.

RDP, which stands for Remote Desktop Protocol, is a protocol developed and owned by Microsoft that allows a user to connect to another computer via a network connection using a graphical interface. To connect to the server, the user uses RDP client software, whereas the server uses RDP server software, which is included with the Windows Server operating system. When a client connects to a server, Windows Servers keep track of the logged-in user's information, which we can view.
So let's get started.

Using Task Manager

Using Task Manager, we can see a list of active remote desktop users on a Windows server. This method of checking Active User works for every version of Windows Server.
Here are the steps:

  1. Goto Run and type taskmgr.exe and press the Ok button
    This will open Task Manager.
  2. Just navigate to the Users tab there you will get Users currently active.

It will display a list of users currently logged in. Here, I have only logged so it is showing one user information. Also, it contains information like what application the user is using, its current status, CPU usage, and memory usage.

taskmanager

Using Query User Command

With the help of the query command, we can find information about active user sessions on the Remote Desktop Session Host Server. This command can be used to determine whether a specific user is logged in to a specific Remote Desktop Session Host Server or not.

This command will work Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, etc. So, this command will not work for Windows Server 2008.

Syntax:

query user [ | | ] [/server:]

Example:

query-name

It will return the following information:

  • Username: Name of the User.
  • sessionname: Name of the session on Remote Desktop Session Host Server. Here, I have rdp-tcp#45
  • Id: This is the session ID
  • STATE: This is the state of the session either active or disconnected.
  • Idle Time: the number of minutes since the session's last keystroke or mouse movement.
  • LOGON Time: THis is the login time of the user at the server.
Note: You must have Full Control Authorization or special access permission to use this command.

query session

It displays information about not only active sessions but also other sessions that the server is running.

 

query-session

Using quser command

This is the same as the Query User command. This command will also work for Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 only.

 

Syntax

quser [ | | ] [/server:]

quser

Using qwinsta command

Query WINdows STAtion is abbreviated as qwinsta. It displays information about sessions on a Remote Desktop Session Host server. The list includes information not only about active sessions but also about other sessions that the server runs.

Syntax

qwinsta [ | | ] [/server:] [/mode] [/flow] [/connect] [/counter]

Example:

 

qwinsta

Look at the state column and you will see whether the user is active or not. You can see here User with ID 6 is active

Also Read: Debug IIS hosted web application in visual studio

Using Get-RDUserSession commandlet

The Get-RDUserSession cmdlet returns a list of all user sessions in a collection or in a Remote Desktop deployment. Note that this may not work in some servers like Windows R2 2012.

Import-Module RemoteDesktop
Get-RDUserSession

Output:

getusersandsessions

Using WMI 

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a PowerShell subsystem that provides administrators with powerful system monitoring tools.

By simply typing the following command you will know a lot:

Get-WmiObject Win32_LoggedOnUser

If you just want to know the username just type the below command:

Get-WmiObject Win32_LoggedOnUser | Select Antecedent -Unique | %{"{0}\{1}" -f $_.Antecedent.ToString().Split('"')[1],$_.Antecedent.ToString().Split('"')[3]}

Using PsLoggedOn  Tools 

PsTools is a small Sysinternals command-line tool that can help in the administration of local and remote systems. It aids to determine currently logged-in users in local as well as remote systems.

Because PsLoggedOn requires a logon to access the Registry of a remote system, it will show you as logged on via resource share to remote computers that you query.

Note that this tool's command will only work for Windows Server 2008 and above.

Syntax:

psloggedon [- ] [-l] [-x] [\\computername | username]

Here,

Parameter Description
- Displays the supported options as well as the units of measurement for output values.
-l Displays only local logins rather than both local and network resource logons.
-x Don't Show Logon times.
computername Specifies the name of the compute for which logon information is to be displayed.
username PsLoggedOn searches the network for computers where that user is logged in if you specify a user name. This is useful if you don't want a specific user to be logged in when you're about to change their user profile configuration.

Download 

Also Read: Why Windows OS is popular?

Steps to use PsLogged.

  • Download PsLogged from the above link
  • Extract the files
  • Goto extracted links and an open the command prompt on the same location.
  • Then use the syntax mentioned above.
PSLoggedOn requires the Remote Registry Service to be running on the target computer. This service is not enabled by default.

How to Enable Remote Registry Service in Remote Server?

Steps for enabling remote registry service in remote server as follows:

  • Goto the services manager.
  • Look for the "Remote Registry" service.
  • Double click on the service.
  • Set the "Start Type" to "Automatic," then press the "Start" button.
  • Click OK to save your settings.

Or you can simply run following line by line in Powershell.

Set-Service RemoteRegistry –startuptype automatic –passthru
Start-Service RemoteRegistry

Set-Service is the cmdlet that can modify the StartupType, Status, Description, and Displayname properties of a service. You can start, stop, and suspend service with the help of the Set-Service cmdlet.

Here, Set-Service is looking for RemoteRegistry Service and set this service to start automatically. And -passthru indicates that if you are already running this service then ignore it else runs it automatically.

Powershell Script File which displays List of all User RDP connection

The below script will list all users' RDP Connections History.

Steps:

  • Open Text File and paste the below code.
  • Save the file as <anyname>.ps1
  • Open Powershell and type:  Powershell.exe -File file_location_path and press Enter
    where file_location_path is the actual location of the file

Scripts:

$AllUser = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_UserAccount
foreach($User in $AllUser)
{
    $RegPath = "Registry::HKEY_USERS\"+$User.SID+"\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Servers\"
    Write-Host "User:"$User.Name
    Write-Host "SID:"$User.SID
    Write-Host "Status:"$User.Status
    $QueryPath = dir $RegPath -Name -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
    If(!$?)
    {
        Write-Host "[!]Not logged in"
        Write-Host "[*]Try to load Hive"
        $File = "C:\Documents and Settings\"+$User.Name+"\NTUSER.DAT"
        $Path = "HKEY_USERS\"+$User.SID
        Write-Host "[+]Path:"$Path 
        Write-Host "[+]File:"$File
        Reg load $Path $File
        If(!$?)
        {
            Write-Host "[!]Fail to load Hive"
            Write-Host "[!]No RDP Connections History"
        }
        Else
        {
            $QueryPath = dir $RegPath -Name -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
            If(!$?)
            {
                Write-Host "[!]No RDP Connections History"
            }
            Else
            {
                foreach($Name in $QueryPath)
                {   
                    $User = (Get-ItemProperty -Path $RegPath$Name -ErrorAction Stop).UsernameHint
                    Write-Host "Server:"$Name
                    Write-Host "User:"$User
                }
            }
            Write-Host "[*]Try to unload Hive"
            Start-Process powershell.exe -WindowStyle Hidden -ArgumentList "Reg unload $Path"        
        }
    }
    foreach($Name in $QueryPath)
    {   
        Try  
        {  
            $User = (Get-ItemProperty -Path $RegPath$Name -ErrorAction Stop).UsernameHint
            Write-Host "Server:"$Name
            Write-Host "User:"$User
        }
        Catch  
        {
            Write-Host "[!]No RDP Connections History"
        }
    }
    Write-Host "----------------------------------"    
}

Script Credits goes to gstudent@3gstudent

What is happening in the above script?

Ans: To begin, use "reg load" to load the hive. Then, from "HKEY_USERS\"+$User.SID+"\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Servers\", read the RDP Connections History.Finally, use "reg unload" to unload the hive. To get the history of login users, data are read from NTUSER.DAT file