Connecting to the console with Remote Desktop RDP

 2017-02-10 - -  ~3 Minutes

Connecting to a remote Windows computer

In order to connect to a remote Windows computer you most likely want to use remote desktop (RDP). Selecting Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Remote Desktop Connection will provide you with an input mask. Here you enter the name or ip address of the remote computer.

Sometimes it is necessary to connect directly to the console of the remote computer. One example is industrial automation software like Siemens WinCC or Rockwell Studio 5000.

Connecting to the console and problems

Especially Studio 5000 to program Allen Bradley PLC’s needs to be connected to the console. If you start remote desktop as described above and try to open a Control Logix project you will get a dialog from Factory Talk Network. It prompts you to insert a valid username and password. However this user and password will not be accepted at all, even if you provide the windows Administrator.

Checking all user rights gives no improvement. Reading documentation and searching the internet gives the solution: you need to be connected to the console, not just doing plain RDP connections.

How do you connect to the console? Just add “/Admin” after the computer name or ip address in the RDP connection dialog.

Testing alternatives

But it is still not working. What alternatives are there?

We can try VNC. This is another remote access software which is capable to only connect to the Windows console.

This worked immediately. Studio 5000 could be started without login dialog. So the problem must be with RDP. Why does it not connect to the console?

I still would prefer to use RDP over VNC because of performance reasons.

Trying again

Searching the internet again came up with another solution. It might be that the problem is with te RDP connection dialog under Windows 7.

Instead of starting remote desktop connection by using the start menu it can also be started in the command line.

Opening a command line (cmd.exe) and entering the following command:

mstsc /F /V: /Admin
  • mstsc is the command for remote desktop client
  • /F means full screen
  • /V means ip address or name of the remote computer to connect to
  • /Admin means connect to the console

Basically this command line is exactly the same as we had in the dialog. Pressing enter connects to the remote computer.

Opening Studio 5000 now works without having to give user credentials. This works as expected and as it should have worked by just using the dialog.


It seems that there is a special situation in the combination of Rockwell security authentication and RDP access.

The security needs to be connected to the console in order to work properly but the standard GUI RDP connection dialog does not work with the “/Admin” switch. The workaround is simple. Just use the command line and it works. At least in my case.