How to use Session Shadow in Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS

Remote Desktop Services can be very useful tool for IT Pro. Day by day more companies swap the Local Workstations in Thin Clients and users connected in Remote Desktop Servers in a farm or standalone base on the size of the company.

Sometimes can be difficult as IT Pro to support the users with Remote Desktop Connection. When a user call you must ask him for the password , find the username , most of the times the password will be wrong .

After 3,4 times finally connect in Remote Desktop session of the user to check his error.

Windows Server 2012 R2 has a feature that can shadow the user session. However this removed from Windows Server 2012.

Today i would like to show you ho can use this feature and be your favorite tool in Remote Desktop Servers.


First of all Session Shadow works only in Windows Server 2012 R2 with Remote Desktop Session Host Role installed.

Try with GUI

So after has install Remote Desktop Session Host in Windows Server 2012 R2 and has create the Collection then follow the steps to use Session Shadow.

  • Connect in Remote Desktop Session Host Server
  • Open Server Manager
  • Click in Remote Desktop Services from the left side.

  • Below of the Collections find the name of the Collection that you have create for the Remote Desktop Users.

  • In the right side you can see all the users that are connected in the specific Collection.

  • Right click in the user that you want to connect remotely and click Shadow.

  • As you can see you have some options for the Shadow Connection.
    With View you can only View the Session of the user without can do any change
    ​With Control you can take full Control of the session.

  • Last option is the prompt for user consent. By default you can't use the Shadow without user consent because it's enable in Group Policy. If you try you will get the following error.

  • Now when select the option that you want to use between View and Control when click OK .Then user will get the following message in his monitor.

  • Of course you must have inform the user to accept the request.

Try with Powershell

Of course you have the option to use Powershell for Session Shadow.

How can start?

  • First of all we must determine the Session that we want to connect.
  • Type the command to see all the sessions in the Server
    Get-RDUserSession | ft Username, UnifiedSessionId, HostServer, ApplicationType 

  • When you find the user that you want to connect use the mstsc to create the shadow session.
  • Type
    mstsc :/shadow:<session id> \control 
    mstsc :/shadow:<session id> \view

That's it. It will open the Remote Desktop Connection in the user that you have select.

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