Windows Server

Deploy Remote Desktop Services using PowerShell

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In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to deploy Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2 using PowerShell.

In a previous Ask the Admin, Installing Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2, I demonstrated how to deploy Remote Desktop Services (RDS) using the standard deployment model. For more information on the RDS components and deployment models, take a look at Remote Desktop Services Deployment Options in Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Deploy RDS using PowerShell

Servers that you want to use in your deployment need to be added to the Server Pool in Server Manager before you start the process below. For more info, see Managing Windows Server 2012 with Server Manager on Petri. You’ll need an Active Directory domain and an account that has permission to install the server roles on your chosen server(s). The RD Connection Broker role can’t be installed on a domain controller, and installation should not be carried out on the server where the RD Connection Broker role will be installed.

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  • Log into the Windows Server 2012 R2 server where you want to run the PowerShell cmdlets. The account should have administrative access to the server(s) where the RDS roles will be installed.
  • Open a PowerShell prompt from the taskbar or Start screen.
  • In the PowerShell window, type Import-Module RemoteDesktop and press ENTER.
  • To install the three compulsory RDS components in a standard deployment, use the New-SessionDeployment cmdlet as shown below, replacing the values for the -ConnectionBroker, -WebAccessServer, and -SessionHost parameters with the name(s) of the servers on which you want to install these roles.

New-SessionDeployment -ConnectionBroker srv1.ad.contoso.com -WebAccessServer srv1.ad.contoso.com -SessionHost srv1.ad.contoso.com

If you want to manage the new deployment using Server Manager, you’ll need to add the server where the RD Connection Broker role is installed to the Server Pool and then click Remote Desktop Services in the list of options on the left of Server Manager. For more information on working with Server Manager, see Managing Windows Server 2012 with Server Manager on Petri.

Installing Remote Desktop Services using PowerShell in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Installing Remote Desktop Services using PowerShell in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

If you want to add an additional RD Session Host or RD Licensing, you can use the Add-RDServer cmdlet as shown below:

Add-RDServer -Server srv1.ad.contoso.com -Role RDS-RD-SERVER -ConnectionBroker

You should specify an existing RD Connection Broker server, although it is also possible to add an additional Connection Broker to your deployment (maximum 2), and the -Role parameter value should be set to RDS-RD-SERVER to install a RD Session Host, or RDS-LICENSING to install the RD Licensing role.

Installing Remote Desktop Services using PowerShell in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Adding a RD Session Host using PowerShell in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

If you opt to install RD Licensing, you’ll need to use the management console on the licensing server to activate the server and install your licenses from Microsoft. Once you have done that, you can use PowerShell to associate the new license server with your existing Connection Broker using the Set-RDLicenseConfiguration cmdlet. The -Mode parameter can be set to PerDevice or PerUser. Select ‘Y’ for yes to confirm the operation.

Set-RDLicenseConfiguration -LicenseServer srv1.ad.contoso.com -Mode PerUser -ConnectionBroker srv1.ad.contoso.com

In the next article in this series, I’ll show you how to configure RDS collections so you can get started publishing RemoteApps.

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.
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