The MSTSC command, short for Microsoft Terminal Services Client, is used to start a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) session to remotely access the graphical interface of another computer. This command is highly useful in business environments where administrators need to manage machines remotely, as well as for support personnel and telecommuting scenarios.


The basic usage of the MSTSC command is as follows:

mstsc [options] [connection file]
  • connection file: Specifies the name of an RDP file to open.


  • /v:<server[:port]>: Specifies the remote computer and, optionally, the port number to which you want to connect.
  • /admin: Connects you to the session for administering a server.
  • /f: Starts Remote Desktop in full-screen mode.
  • /w:<width> /h:<height>: Specifies the width and height of the Remote Desktop window.
  • /public: Runs Remote Desktop in public mode. In public mode, passwords and bitmaps are not cached.
  • /edit: Opens the specified .rdp file for editing.
  • /prompt: Prompts for username and password.
  • /span: Matches the Remote Desktop width and height with the local virtual desktop, spanning across multiple monitors if necessary.
  • /multimon: Configures the Remote Desktop session monitor layout to be identical to the current client-side configuration.

Each option modifies how MSTSC connects to remote machines, offering flexibility for various scenarios like administering servers or connecting using multiple monitors.


  1. Basic Connection Example:

    mstsc /v:

    Connect to the computer with IP address using the default settings.

  2. Full-Screen Mode:

    mstsc / /f

    Connect to in full-screen mode.

  3. Specify Window Size:

    mstsc / /w:1024 /h:768

    Start a session with a window size of 1024×768 pixels.

  4. Editing a Connection File:

    mstsc /edit mysettings.rdp

    Open the mysettings.rdp file for editing the connection settings.

Common Issues

  • Connection Refused: Ensure the target machine allows remote connections and the network settings are correctly configured.
  • Resolution Problems: Use /w and /h flags to set an appropriate resolution, especially if the default session window does not fit the screen correctly.


MSTSC can be used in scripts and batch files to automate the process of starting remote sessions. It can work seamlessly with other commands for various administrative tasks. For example, combining mstsc with cmd scripts to log into a server and execute maintenance tasks.

@echo off
mstsc / /f
  • ping: Useful to check the connectivity to a host before attempting to connect via RDP.
  • ipconfig: Helpful for troubleshooting network issues that might affect RDP connections.
  • netstat: Can be used to ensure the correct ports are open and listening for RDP connections.

For further reading and more detailed information, the official Microsoft documentation on Remote Desktop Services can be accessed here.