Passing the Windows key to a remote RDP session with #WindowsServer2012


Question overheard at a recent user group meeting …

The Windows key is so important with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 … how do I pass the Windows key to a remote RDP session running Windows Server 2012 in a window?  Unless I’m in full-screen mode, the Windows key doesn’t pass-through to the remote session!?

Great question!  The Windows key can be passed through to a remote RDP session running in a window using the Alt-Home key.  In addition, Ctrl-Alt-End passes the Ctrl-Alt-Del key sequence to the remote RDP session to bring up the Windows Security dialog options screen. 

Alternatively, you can also launch the RDP Connection client (mstsc.exe) and configure the following setting in the “Local Resources” connection options tab:

  • Keyboard > Apply Windows key combinations: Set to “On the remote computer”

Here’s the full list of RDP shortcut hot keys for future reference:

Shortcut key Description

ALT+PAGE UP

Switches between programs from left to right.

ALT+PAGE DOWN

Switches between programs for right to left.

ALT+INSERT

Cycles through the programs in the order they were started.

ALT+HOME

Displays the Start menu.

CTRL+ALT+BREAK

Switches the client between full-screen mode and window mode.

CTRL+ALT+END

Brings up the Windows Security dialog box.

ALT+DELETE

Displays the Windows menu.

CTRL+ALT+MINUS SIGN (-)

Places a snapshot of the active window, within the client, on the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server clipboard (provides the same functionality as pressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on the local computer).

CTRL+ALT+PLUS SIGN (+)

Places a snapshot of the entire client windows area on the RD Session Host server clipboard (provides the same functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on the local computer).

 

Comments (4)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Blake,

    Interesting – are you running the RDP 8.0 Update?  If not, you might want to try applying it from here support.microsoft.com/…/2592687 to see if that helps.  The Windows + R key combo works like a charm for me!

    Best regards,

    Keith

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Doug,

    I've updated the blog post above with an additional tip to accommodate the other Windows key combinations when running in Windowed mode to reference setting the following "Local Resources" option in your RDP client:

    Keyboard > Apply Windows key combinations: Set to "On the remote computer

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  3. Doug says:

    This doesn't address things like "Windows+F" key combinations through RDP. Microsoft should work on that.

  4. Blake says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the post – much appreciated. I have the same issue as Doug though… even after changing the setting you mentioned above in the RDP client, pressing Alt+Home+R does not bring up the "Run" dialog. Nor does pressing Windows + R

    I'm happy at the moment because the "Run" dialog is almost not required in Win8/Svr 2012 because pressing Alt+Home and instantly typing the command will work (eg, appwiz.cpl or cmd.exe). So in fact there's actually no more keystrokes required to achieve the same thing.

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