After experiencing Terminal Services intermittently hanging after applying Microsoft Updates I’ve come across one way that gets the server back up and responsive most of the time and a backup plan for when it still doesn’t.
First, to cover yourself, it is a good idea to run a system state backup at minimum of the server before applying updates in case you need to get yourself out of a challenge resulting from the update. Then what I’ve started doing (wasn’t an original idea, got it from others in the community) is creating a restart.bat file that consists of shutdown -r -f and a hard return to bounce the server. I then create a one time scheduled task and set it for about 30 minutes out from when I figure the updates should have been applied and the server restarted and back online. Most of the time a restart will “jump start” the Terminal Services and get them running if they hang. If I don’t have to use it, I go into Scheduled Tasks and set the time back a day to disable it until next time. The other trick I ran across was the result of a desperate attempt to get a box back online one night as I was applying updates from my Vista Tablet PC. I’ve since tried this from XP Pro and it does not work, so seems to be a Vista only trick.
If TS/RDP hangs on the server, as Microsoft is beginning to admit is a problem finally, attempt to VPN from your Vista computer to the remote network using the remote domain’s administrator account (I’ve only tried this with Windows PPTP so no idea about IPSec or edge VPN devices such as SonicWALLs but I’m guessing it would fail since the reason this is working has to be because Vista is authenticating as the remote administrative account). Once you have established the Windows PPTP VPN from your Vista box, open a command prompt by selecting off of your start menu, “right clicking” and running as administrator. Once inside the command window, type shutdown -i and drop in the name or IP address of the remote server you are wanting to get back your Terminal Services from and do a restart in the graphical interface. I have had this work all but once or twice (hence the new addition of the scheduled task restart batch file). When the server comes back online TS is normally responsive and you can head off to bed versus getting in the car and taking off to a client site in the middle of the night!