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Remote Desktop using C#.NET

, 11 Nov 2009 CPOL
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This article is about showing how to create a .NET application to perform remote desktop operation using Microsoft Terminal Services Client ActiveX control.


Remote Desktop Services is one of Microsoft Windows components to access a remote computer through the network. Only the user interface of the application is presented at the client. Any input is redirected over to the remote computer over the network.

At work, we use Remote Desktop a great deal. It allows us to login to a remote server to perform health checks, deploy applications, troubleshoot problems, etc. We also use remote desktop often when we do WFH (work from home).

Why do you want to write a .NET application to do this when you have the MS Terminal Services client available from OS? Well, consider if you want to work on 3 different application servers at the same time and want to toggle between these 3 servers quite often. With the MSTSC, we will be running 3 different clients for the 3 servers and it is difficult to manage the working environment. In .NET, you can develop an application with tab control to load remote desktop sessions in different tabs in one window.


We will be using AxMSTSCLib an ActiveX component in our program to connect to the remote computer. It’s not that hard to build a remote desktop application in .NET. Microsoft has a “Microsoft RDP client control” ActiveX control that we will be using in our application.

This is How We Do It

We will start by creating a Windows application in the Visual Studio IDE.

Add a reference to “Microsoft Terminal Services Control Type Library” from the COM tab. This will add MSTSCLib.dll to the project.

Sample Image - maximum width is 600 pixels

To add MSTSC to the toolbox, right click the toolbox and select “Choose Items…”. Now add “Microsoft Terminal Services control from the COM tab.

Sample Image - maximum width is 600 pixels

Drag the newly added control from toolbox to the form.

Add 3 textbox and 2 button controls to the form:

Sample Image - maximum width is 600 pixels

Connect Button - Click Event

Here is how we write the Connect button click event.

rdp.Server = txtServer.Text;
rdp.UserName = txtUserName.Text;
IMsTscNonScriptable secured = (IMsTscNonScriptable)rdp.GetOcx();
secured.ClearTextPassword = txtPassword.Text;

Now assign the properties (Server, UserName) of RDP control with the textbox values.

Here’s how easy it is to login to remote machine. However there is one catch, there is no direct method in RDP control through which you can pass the username and password to login to the remote desktop.

Due to security reasons, you have to implement an interface (IMsTscNonScriptable) to cast it separately.

IMsTscNonScriptable secured = IMsTscNonScriptable)rdp.GetOcx();
secured.ClearTextPassword = txtPassword.Text; 

Disconnect Button – Click Event

To disconnect from the remote desktop session, we just need to call the Disconnect() method.

Before disconnecting, we want to ensure that the connection is still available. We don't want to disconnect if it is already disconnected (very clever, huh).

if (rdp.Connected.ToString() == "1")

That’s all folks!


  • 5th November, 2009: Initial version


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Thiagarajan Alagarsamy
Web Developer
India India
Thiagu is living in Bangalore, India. He has started coding when he was 12 years old. His native is Madurai, a historic city in south India. He loves to code in C#. He frequents code project when he is not coding. Thiagu loves reading Dan Brown and Michael Crichton novels. He is very much interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI). To view his blog -

Comments and Discussions

QuestionServer Name can be a remote IP? Pinmemberalmendietamor19-Feb-15 12:54 
Questionthe code doesn work PinmemberMember 1133148628-Dec-14 22:31 
AnswerRe: the code doesn work PinmemberGarth J Lancaster28-Dec-14 22:42 
GeneralRe: the code doesn work PinmemberMember 1133148629-Dec-14 22:42 
GeneralRe: the code doesn work PinmemberGarth J Lancaster30-Dec-14 0:17 
QuestionImpressoras Locais PinmemberMember 806117212-Nov-14 4:32 
QuestionNot able to connect to win server2008 r2 from local win 7 PinmemberDebasis Chattopadhyay21-Oct-14 4:22 
QuestionDynamically adding tabs Pinmemberstephenpe12311-Sep-14 20:55 
QuestionNO Desktop View PinmemberPkcse6-Sep-14 4:17 
QuestionAudio Recorder Remote PinmemberMatBot8829-Aug-14 1:51 
QuestionIsolated environment running in a sandbox type Pinmemberjungyeol park17-Aug-14 17:11 
QuestionConfiguration Protocol RDP - MSTC with medium trust PinmemberMember 100225477-Aug-14 3:18 
BugUnable to get the window handle for the 'AxMsTscAxNotSafeForScripting' control problem PinmemberMember 1086155112-Jun-14 0:42 

Thanks for your article.

I created a program like yours in C ++ (VC++ 2008 express).
The difference is I have 2 panels (main panel and remote desktop control panel).
When I click on a button to display remote desktop control panel, it works well the first time but not after.

I have this error :

Unable to get the window handle for the 'AxMsTscAxNotSafeForScripting' control

Thanks anybody for helping me
Questionconnection Pinmemberantonio_l20-May-14 0:15 
Questioninvoke RDP client from a web application (ASP.NET) PinmemberRamkumar Vasudevan9-Apr-14 0:21 
QuestionRDP Successful Login Check PinmemberJustin Nichsolson11-Mar-14 20:39 
QuestionRemote desktop only with shell? Pinmemberchathu03j26-Feb-14 20:28 
Questionthank you! could this program support win 8? Pinmemberramip2-Feb-14 22:45 
AnswerRe: thank you! could this program support win 8? PinmemberJustin Nichsolson11-Mar-14 20:43 
AnswerRe: thank you! could this program support win 8? PinmemberboobssMan19-Mar-14 1:45 
Questionremote desktop Pinmemberjelani dejonge7-Dec-13 7:30 
QuestionRemote desktop Pingroupkuldeep singh201221-Oct-13 4:02 
QuestionCompatible with Windows 8? PinmemberMember 91121273-Oct-13 21:47 
AnswerRe: Compatible with Windows 8? PinmemberJustin Nichsolson11-Mar-14 20:44 
Questioncan we writing such app with mvc? if yes, can you share the code PinmemberMember 84904062-Sep-13 0:30 

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