I was speaking to a customer this morning about Windows management generally and this happened to come up in conversation. There are many ways to manage servers remotely in Windows, but the customer was asking if there was a way to avoid his nightmare of having six or more remote desktop sessions open to different servers. The RDP client by default isn't an MDI (Multiple Document Interface) application. [By the way, I never use Start/Programs/Accessories/Communications/Remote Desktop Connection to start up the client - there's simply too many clicks involved. Start/Run/mstsc is a lot quicker :-)]
You can get round having multiple instances of the client application open by using the remote desktops snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console which available out of the box in Windows Server 2003. Unfortunately though, you don't get to see it directly under administrative tools.
To fire up this snap-in, perform the following actions:
- From the File menu, select Add/Remove Snap-in
- Click the Add button
- Scan down the list to "Remote Desktops", select it, click add and then close
- Click OK
Once the Remote Desktops snap-in is added, you can right-click on "Remote Desktops" on the left hand side and start adding your favorite servers to be managed. Once you've got the console setup and running, remember to save it somewhere easy to find, such as your desktop. Now it's not a true MDI application as such, but it saves a lot of space on your task bar, and it's much easier to go straight to the right server with a simple click in the treeview on the left hand side.
Here's the link to find out more about Remote Desktops on the TechNet site. From the menu navigation on this site, up one notch will give you lots more information about Remote Administration generally.