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Microsoft Terminal Services  Questions

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  Q & A     
Q.01 I lose connection to TS periodically.   How can I make an intermittent or flaky TS connection a little more stable?
A.01 Before attempting to follow the guidelines presented here,  please be certain that you are running the latest MS service pack, as well as a recent version of ManageMore.  There have been several major corrections (now in W2k TS Service Pack 2 or greater) that improves TS stability for database applications like ManageMore.   Furthermore, a known issue with dual processor servers running ManageMore has been corrected (Version 4.0 Rev D or greater) which also caused ManageMore to exit suddenly while in a TS session.  If you are still experiencing intermittent TS connection problems after upgrading both TS and ManageMore, then read on.

Using a few registry hacks, you can stabilize your terminal services network connection and reduce the number of disconnected sessions you get from weak WAN connections. These tweaks will also serve to prevent disconnects from occurring when network devices kill off sockets that are idle too long.  NOTE: Editing the OS registry should be done by IT personnel or advanced computer users.

Prerequisites:
•A running terminal server that needs to have its connection stabilized
•A registry editor, like regedit.exe

Section 1: Indicators:
Many WAN connections can vary in quality and latency, and often times these two characteristics will manifest themselves in disconnected terminal services sessions. By doing two relatively easy registry hacks, you can reduce these disconnects and improve the overall experience of your users.

Section 2: Keep Alives:
In the registry at HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server, create or edit the DWORD value of KeepAliveEnable and set it to 1. This will turn Keep Alives on. This will serve to stabilize the connection by sending 'heartbeat' packets to the client every so often. This will cause an idle connection to be probed every so often just to be sure that the connection is still alive and that the client is still listening on the other side. This will also help prevent disconnects by preventing network devices from killing off sockets that it assumes to be idle. Because terminal services is such a low bandwidth protocol, when a user is idle, no network activity will occur. Some network devices will interpret a connection that is in the idle state for an extended period of time to be a dead connection, and thus will terminate the socket. However, when the user comes out of the idle state, the terminal services client can no longer contact the terminal server because the socket is dead. By turning on Keep Alives, the connection will not appear idle, and therefore the network device will not attempt to terminate the socket.

For more information about Keep Alives, check out this
link.

Two other registry entries to look at are at HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\KeepAliveInterval and HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\KeepAliveTime. Both are DWORD entries. These two registry entries typically do not need to be changed, but I've included them here for completeness.

KeepAliveInterval determines the interval separating keep alive retransmissions until a response is received. If a response is received, the delay until the next keep alive transmission is again controlled by the value of KeepAliveTime. The connection will be aborted after the number of retransmissions specified by TcpMaxDataRetransmissions (which will be discussed in the next section) have gone unanswered. KeepAliveInterval is set by default to be 1000, which is one second.

KeepAliveTime controls how often TCP attempts to verify that an idle connection is still intact by sending a keep alive packet. If the remote system is still reachable and functioning, it will acknowledge the keep alive transmission. KeepAliveTime is set by default to be 7,200,000, which is 2 hours.

For more information about KeepAliveInterval and KeepAliveTime, check out this
link


Section 3: TcpMaxDataRetransmissions:

In the registry at HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters, create or edit the DWORD value of TcpMaxDataRetransmissions. By default it is set to 5, but I would recommend doubling that value, to 10. The value of TcpMaxDataRetransmissions is the number of times TCP retransmits an unacknowledged data segment on an existing connection. TCP retransmits data segments until they are acknowledged or until this value expires. Basically, when a client doesn't respond to a packet from the terminal server, the server will attempt to retransmit the packet up to TcpMaxDataRetransmissions number of times. By increasing this value, you are giving the client more time to respond to the server, which will help improve flaky connections or connections with high latency or higher than normal packet loss.

If you have numerous servers you need to migrate this out to, you can hack this registry entry, export the changes to a .reg file, then silently import it (regedit.exe /q) onto your all your servers.

Q.02 How do I force one login session per user and reconnect them to their previous session if possible?
A.02   Under TS for Windows 2003 Server, this setting can be found within the TS Configuration tool. From the Start Menu, Go to Administrative Tools, Terminal Services Configuration. Choose the Server Settings Folder from the Tree Console. On the right pane view, you will see a setting for "Restrict each user to one session." Click on this and change to Yes.
 

 

Q.03 How do I schedule a nightly reboot of Terminal Services?
A.03   Rebooting the Terminal Services Server is a very good idea to ensure that the system runs at optimum performance. We recommend that you reboot your server at least weekly.

Terminal Server comes with a command-line tool called TSSHUTDN on TS 2000 and SHUTDOWN on TSE 4.0. This command can be used in conjunction with the Scheduler Service and the AT command to schedule an automatic shutdown and restart of your Terminal Servers at any interval you desire.

For TS 2000,
• TSSHUTDN /reboot
•Shutdown /reboot •Scheduled…. •at 23:00 /every:M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su "tsshutdn /reboot"
 

or TSE 4.0
•at 23:00 /every:M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su “shutdown /reboot"
 

Either of these commands would reboot the server every day at 11:00 PM

 

Q.04 When using Terminal Services, should I have hyper-threading technology enabled on the server and/or local workstations that have HT capabilities?
A.04   Intel does not recommend it for Terminal Services.  Please refer to http://www.intel.com/support/platform/ht/os.htm
 
Q.05 Performance when running the application is great, but I am experiencing poor remote printing performance using Terminal Services?
A.05   Unfortunately, printing is probably Terminal Services biggest weakness. 

Printing often seriously degrades an otherwise economical server based IT environment.

In some cases, the slow performance problem comes from poor configuration.  Terminal Services is not as user-friendly in this area as its big brother Citrix Metaframe.  Improperly configured printer drivers or incompatible printer drivers can certainly make print jobs much slower than normal.  

However, even if everything is configured correctly, you may still experience poor printer performance due to unintelligent bandwidth optimization on Terminal Services behalf.

Due to this, it is not uncommon to experience:

Poor application performance due to heavy bandwidth traffic when transmitting print jobs

Heavy load to server resources like memory and CPU caused by rendering print data

Threat to system stability from printer driver conflicts and incompatibilities

Higher online costs from transmitting large print jobs

Higher demands on administration for the necessary management of a multitude of printers and printer drivers

Overwhelmed client machines because of insufficient resources

Limited flexibility for mobile users and home offices

If you have tried everything and are still experiencing printer slowdown,  you may have to consider a a third party product on the market that specifically addresses the printing woes of this otherwise fantastic operating system.  Please look into ThinPrint from ThinPrint Corporation at www.thinprint.com

 

 
Q.06 While working in TS 2000/2003, I occasionally get an error message that says "Access denied. Could not get write access to <Filename> so trying read-only".  What is this and can it be corrected?
A.06   Our research on this indicates that TS sometimes has problems with following its own security policies.  By forcing explicit write permissions to all the files contained inside your data folder, this error message seems to go away.
Although this is not a confirmed issue with TS, it appears that setting rights at the folder level only doesn't always propagate correctly.
Also, in TS 2003,  you have to set the rights at both the NTFS level and also in the Sharing security options.
 
Q.07 Any references to other common Terminal Services Issues?
A.07   There are plenty of great references on the internet for implementing Terminal Services and Citrix correctly.

Please check these out:

http://thethin.net/faqs.cfm?category=2&sortby=date

 






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