Fixing Remote Desktop Connections to VMs

Remote Desktop connections are a lifeline for managing virtual machines (VMs), especially when physical access is impractical or impossible. However, it's not uncommon for these connections to suddenly stop working, leaving you scrambling for solutions. Here’s a rundown of the top fixes for this frustrating issue, capped off with a personal triumph that might be the solution you're looking for.

1. Check Network Connectivity

The first step is always to check the basics. Ensure your VM is powered on and there is no downtime or connectivity issues on your network. This simple but often overlooked step can save you a lot of time.

2. Verify Remote Desktop Services

Ensure that the Remote Desktop Services on your VM are running. You can check this by accessing the VM through an alternative method (like console access in your hypervisor) and navigating to the Services app to see if the Remote Desktop Service is running.

3. Firewall Settings

Firewalls can often block Remote Desktop connections. Verify that your firewall is configured to allow Remote Desktop traffic (typically on port 3389) both on your local machine and the VM.

4. Network Level Authentication (NLA)

NLA provides an extra layer of authentication before a connection is established. If there's a mismatch in NLA settings between your client and the VM, it could prevent a connection. Try adjusting these settings on your client or ensuring the VM is configured to allow connections with or without NLA as needed.

5. Update Your Virtual Machine

Sometimes, the issue can be resolved by simply updating your VM's operating system and the Remote Desktop client. This can fix known bugs and compatibility issues hindering the connection.

6. Reset Your VM’s IP Configuration

Changes in network settings or IP conflicts can disrupt connections. Resetting your VM’s IP configuration or renewing its IP address can often resolve these issues.

Personal Triumph: The Unexpected Solution

After trying all conventional fixes with no luck, what finally resolved my issue was a bit unconventional. I ran the following command:

runas /u:MicrosoftAccount\ winver

This command runs the "winver" command (which shows the Windows version information) as a different user—specifically, a Microsoft Account. It might seem unrelated to Remote Desktop issues, but here’s why it worked for me:

  • Account Synchronization: Running a command as the Microsoft Account forced Windows to perform a check-in or synchronization with my Microsoft Account. This process can sometimes resolve underlying account permission issues affecting various services, including Remote Desktop.
  • Credential Refresh: It effectively refreshed my credentials and permissions on the VM, clearing any anomalies that might have been preventing the Remote Desktop connection.

While this fix might not be widely documented, it underscores the importance of thinking outside the box when troubleshooting. Technology can be quirky, and sometimes, the most effective solution is the one you least expect.


When Remote Desktop connections to VMs stop working, the fix might require a mix of basic checks, configuration adjustments, and updates. However, don’t underestimate the power of unconventional solutions. My triumph with a seemingly unrelated command highlights the importance of creativity in troubleshooting. Always keep an open mind and remember: the solution might just be one unexpected command away.