Shared WTS Sessions Using VNC

Bill Anglea bill.anglea "at" oracle.com
Wed, 20 Mar 2002 08:09:53 +0000


Shared Windows Terminal Services Sessions Using VNC

Overview:
---------
One of the nice features of Windows Terminal Services (WTS) running in
Application Mode on a Windows 2000 Server 

is that you can have multiple users accessing the system.  However, one of
the drawbacks of WTS is that it does 

not natively support shared sessions that can be viewed by multiple
participants. 

This document addresses this shortcoming in WTS by using a slick,
undocumented feature of Virtual Network 

Computing (VNC) from AT&T Labs in the UK.  This feature will allow a WTS
session to be shared with a VNC session 

for as long as the WTS session is active. 

The one drawback of this capability is that VNC will not run as a service
on a Windows 2000 machine when WTS is 

installed.  This means that VNC can only be used and active while the WTS
session is active.  If you log off the 

WTS session, the VNC server dies with that session.  This issue can be
mitigated somewhat as WTS allows for 

disconnection of a WTS client without logging off the session.  You can
then return to that session later and all 

programs on the server for that session are still active and running.

Requirements:
-------------
- Windows 2000 Server with WTS installed in either Remote Administrator
Mode (Limited to 2 Users) or Application 

Mode (Limited to the Number of Licensed Users). 
       
- VNC Version 3.3.3r9_x86 from AT&T Labs 
http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/ 

Installation of VNC:
--------------------
Install VNC on the Windows 2000 Server.  If you are running WTS in Remote
Administrator Mode, then simply 

double-click on setup.exe.  If you are running WTS in Application Mode, you
MUST install VNC through the Add 

Remove Programs Icon in Control Panel.  This is a requirement of WTS. 
       
Do NOT install VNC as a Service on a Windows 2000 Machine running WTS.  You
MUST execute it in the VNC 

Application Mode. 
       
You can automate the invocation of a VNC Server for the Administrator
Account by dragging the Run WinVNC (App 

Mode) Icon to the Windows Startup folder, and then adjust its properties to
run minimized. 

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\VNC\Run WinVNC (App
Mode)

Setting VNC Password and Instance:
----------------------------------
To start the VNC Server, you must logon to the Windows 2000 Server using
WTS. 
       
Whether VNC is invoked automatically from the Startup folder, or manually
from the Run WinVNC (App Mode) Icon, 

you must manually set the password for the VNC Program.  Once set, the VNC
password remains with the Account, not 

the Session.  So, whether your session ID is 0, 1, 2 or 99, your VNC
password will remain constant once set. 
       
Ensure that a VNC Server is running for your account by observing the VNC
Icon on the Program Tray.  To establish 

the VNC password for your account, right click on the VNC icon in the
Program Tray and select Properties.  Set 

your password in the password field and ensure that the Auto CheckBox is
activated on the Display Number field. 

This will allow the VNC Instance number to automatically increment as users
establish sessions. Multiple active 

VNC sessions can be supported per account. 
       
Once you have started a VNC Server in App Mode and your password is set,
the only other piece of information that 

you need to connect with the VNC Client is the Session ID Number.  To
obtain this information, right click on the 

VNC icon in the Program Tray and select Properties again.  Your current
Session ID Number will be displayed. 

Use a VNC Client Connection to Share the WTS Session:
-----------------------------------------------------
Start your VNC client on another machine and connect to the
VNC_Server:Session_ID.  AS an example, if the server 

is ebcdell01 and the Session ID is 1, then you would connect to ebcdell01:1 
       
When prompted, provide your VNC Account Password and the client should
start. 
       
Now, here is the magic.  Every action in either the WTS or the VNC Session
for your account are now
mirrored to each other.  You now have a Shared WTS Session.  If other users
start VNC Clients and check the 

Request Shared Session option, you can have multiple viewers/participants
in your WTS session. 

Disclaimer:
-----------
The statements and opinions expressed here are my own and do not
necessarily represent those of Oracle Corporation. 

Last Updated: 20-Mar-2002
bill.anglea "at" oracle.com

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