JSI Tip 5810. How do I manage the automatic Terminal Services reconnection feature in Windows XP SP1 and .NET Server?

The Automatic Reconnection feature will automatically reconnect to the same session, without re-typing logon credentials, if the session is disconnected because of network problems. A maximum of 20 reconnection attempts are made at 5 second intervals.

When a client loses network connectivity, Automatic Reconnection informs you that it is trying to reconnect to the broken session. The session appears in grayscale, and you receive:

The connection has been lost. Attempting to reconnect you to your session.

Automatic Reconnection will count down the remaining reconnection attempts, starting at a default of 20 times.

When the connection is re-established, the Reconnecting window disappears. If the connection cannot be re-established, the session closes.

The Automatic Reconnection feature is turned on by default in Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1). You can use Group Policy or the Remote Desktop Connection tool to manage this feature in .NET Server, but you must edit the registry to manage it in Windows XP.

When you loose connectivity in Windows XP:

Your session appears in a grayscale.
A small blinking square icon with a computer network connection marked with a red X appears.
You don't see the countdown.

Configure Automatic Reconnection in Windows XP SP1 by using the registry:

1. Use the Registry Editor to navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services.

2. Add the fDisableAutoReconnect Value Name, a REG_DWORD data type. A data value of 1 turns off Automatic Reconnection. A data value of 0, or a missing Value Name, turns on Automatic Reconnection.

3. You must restart WIndows XP for this setting to take effect.

Configure Automatic Reconnection in Windows XP SP1 by using the Default.rdp File:

1. Open "%UserProfile%\My Documents\Default.rdp" in Notepad.

2. Add autoreconnection enabled:i:n to the list, when n is 0 to disable Automatic Reconnection and 1 to enable Automatic Reconnection.

NOTE: The Windows .NET Server Remote Desktop client has an automatic reconnection checkbox, which you can clear or check. If you used it, the autoreconnection enabled:i:n may exist in the Default.rdp file.

Configure Automatic Reconnection in Windows .NET using the Remote Desktop Connection tool:

1. Start the Remote Desktop Connection tool ( Mstsc.exe).

2. Select the Experience tab.

3. Check or uncheck the Reconnect if Connection is Dropped option.

4. Press Connect to start your session.

Configure Automatic Reconnection by using Group Policy:

1. Start / Run / MMC / OK.

2. Add the Group Policy snap-in and select Local Computer Policy.

3. Navigate to Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Terminal Services.

4. Double-click Automatic Reconnection and configure Enable, Disable, or Not Configured.

NOTE: If Enabled, all clients will attempt Automatic Reconnection. If Disabled no client will will attempt Automatic Reconnection. If Not Configured, the client default will prevail.

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