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How do I connect to my Windows server via RDP?

This tutorial will show you how to connect to your Windows VPS or dedicated server at Contabo via RDP from different operating systems.

The following scenarios will be covered:

Connections from desktop operating systems:

  • Establishing a RDP connection from WindowsOS (e.g. Windows 7, 8, 10)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from LinuxOS (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from MacintoshOS (e.g. Apple MacBook)

Connections from mobile devices:

  • Establishing a RDP connection from Android based systems (e.g. Samsung Galaxy)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from iOS based systems (e.g. Apple iPhone)


RDP connections from Windows
  • on Windows 7: Please navigate to the "Start icon" of the taskbar and search for "Remote Desktop Connection"
  • bei Windows 8/10: Please navigate to the "Windows icon" of the taskbar and search for "Remote Desktop Connection"

The RDP client should start as follows:

Now you should be able to connect to your server using its hostname (e.g. "vmiXXXXX.contaboserver.net" for VPS or "mXXXX.contaboserver.net" for dedicated servers) or the IP address (e.g. "173.xxx.xxx.xxx"). The RDP session will be established within a few seconds automatically.

Alternatively, you might choose a few options beforehand (e.g. screen resolution and audio settings). Therefore, please click on the "Show Options" button:


  • The screen resolution can be individually modified using the slider
  • If you would like to pass through the audio signal to your local PC, you have to set the "Remote audio playback" function to "Play on this computer"
  • If you would like to make your local printer available on your server, please enable the "Printer" option at the "Local devices and resources" section (Important: The printer device driver must be compellingly installed on your server!)
  • The clipboard is enabled by default, so STRG + C / STRG + V will always work. It can be disabled by disabling its checkbox



If you determine issues while connecting to your server, please find enclosed some information about how to fix them:

1. "Remote Desktop can't connect to the remote computer for one of these reasons":

Causes / Solutions:

2. "The remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop Licence Servers available to provide a license. Please contact the server administrator."

Causes / Solutions:

Obviously, a terminal service was installed on your server and no active licence server has been assigned yet. After the grace period of 90 respectively 120 days, all temporarily licences will be deleted and all further RDP logins will be rejected.

To fix this issue, you either have to delete the terminal service or the affected Windows Registry key

  • If you rent a VPS, you can connect to your server through VNC to perform the required steps:


  • If you use a dedicated server and you do not have a KVM device attached to your server yet, please get in contact with us at support@contabo.com

* The required server role "Remote Desktop Services" can be deleted at the server manager ("Remove roles and features")
* The affected Registry key can be deleted at the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\RCM\GracePeriod

Important: Please be careful while changing settings at the Windows registry! Please create a full backup of the registry beforehand.

* Now please perform a reboot of your server and you should be able to login to your server afterwards again


RDP connection from Linux

Alternatively, you can also connect from Linux to your Windows server via RDP. There is a command line based program called "rdesktop" and it is usable for all available linux distributions.

  • Installation:

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

  • Start the RDP connection:

rdesktop <IP address>

Now the RDP connection has been established and you can login to your server using the initial login credentials.

Important information:

  • In order to be able to establish a RDP connection, your Linux system must have an X11 server available. It should be installed by default if you already use a GUI (graphical desktop environment - e.g. "Gnome" or "KDE")
  • Please note, it is generally not recommended to establish a RDP connection through SSH
  • Alternatively, there is another program called 'freeRDP', which can be used instead of 'rdesktop'. Please find more information about it at http://www.freerdp.com/


RDP connection from MacOS

In order to be able to establish a RDP connection from MacOS based systems (e.g. Apple MacBook), a RDP client is also required. Please find enclosed a download URL to get the latest RDP client version:


Afterwards, you can start the RDP client following by entering the Windows login credentials (at the "Domain:" field, you can either use the server's IP address or the hostname):

Please always use the latest RDP client version from iTunes, so it is ensured that no connection issues occur!


1. "Remote Desktop Connection cannot verify the identity of the computer that you want to connect to":

=> This kind of error message is mostly caused by an old respectively outdated RDP client version

Causes / Solutions:

  • Please make sure, that you are currently using the latest RDP client version (download-URL above)


RDP connection from Android-based systems

To establish a RDP connection from Google-Android-based systems (e.g. Samsung Galaxy) please use the following RDP client directly from the Google App store. You can always download the latest RDP client version here:



RDP connection from iOS-based systems

Last of all, we would like to inform you about the possibility of how to connect to your Windows server via an iOS-based system (e.g. Apple iPhone).

Please find enclosed the download URL to get the latest RDP client version:


Very important: In order to use the latest RDP client above, iOS version 8.0 is required at least!

If you have any further questions about connecting via RDP to your server or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@contabo.com.

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