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Remote Desktop HTML5 Web Client on Windows Server 2016 RDS

By August 28, 2019 October 30th, 2019 No Comments

Despite Microsoft has been porting its RDP client to different platforms (iOS, macOS, Android, there is also a separate UWP remote desktop app for Windows 10) in the recent years, many users would like to have the remote access to RDS servers and published RemoteApps from a browser. To do it, Microsoft has been developing its HTML5-based Remote Desktop Web Client for some years. Quite recently, the first official RD Web Client version has been released. In this article we’ll look at how to install and configure the Remote Desktop Web Client, as well as use it to access RemoteApp on an RDS server running Windows Server 2016 from a browser.

Remote Desktop HTML5 Web Client Requirements

Remote Desktop Web Client is available as a feature of the RD Web Access role on RDS servers running in Windows Server 2016/2019.

Prior to RD Web Client implementation, make sure that your infrastructure meets the following requirements:

  • A deployed RDS infrastructure, including RD Gateway, RD Connection Broker and RD Web Access on Windows Server 2016/2019;
  • Per User terminal licenses (RDS CAL) are used;
  • SSL certificates issued by a trusted CA must be used on the RDS Gateway and Web Access servers (self-signed SSL certificates are not allowed);
  • Only Windows 10 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (or higher) must be used as RDP clients;
  • The update KB4025334 (July 18, 2017) or any of the subsequent cumulative update must be installed on the RDS servers.

Installing RD Web HTML5 Client on Windows Server 2016 RDS

As we have already noted, the RD Web Client version for Windows Server 2016 / 2019 is currently available, but this component is not integrated into WS 2016 distribution, and you’ll have to install it separately.

Install the PowerShellGet module on a server with the RD Web Access role:

Install-Module -Name PowerShellGet -Force

Restart the PowerShell console. Now install the RD Web Client Management module:

Install-Module -Name RDWebClientManagement

Install-Module -Name RDWebClientManagement

To accept the terms of Microsoft Licence Agreement, press A.

Then install the latest version of Web Remote Desktop:

Install-RDWebClientPackage

After the RDWebClientPackage package is installed, check its properties with the following command:

Get-RDWebClientPackage

Get-RDWebClientPackage

As you can see, there appeared rd-html 5.0 package version 1.0.0.

Then export the SSL certificate used for SSO (Enable Single Sign On) as a .cer file (BASE64) on the server with the RDS Broker role. You can export it in the graphic snap-in of the computer certificate manager (certlm.msc). The certificate you need is located in Personal\Certificates section.

Import the certificate on your RD Web server:

Import-RDWebClientBrokerCert C:\RDBrokerCert.cer

Now you can publish the RD Web Client:

Publish-RDWebClientPackage -Type Production -Latest

Publish-RDWebClientPackage -Type Production -Latest

To test the RD Web Client, use this command:

Publish-RDWebClientPackage -Type Test -Latest

Connect to the RDWeb Access Server from a Browser with HTML5 Support

After you have deployed the Web Client on the RDS server, you can run a browser on a client computer. All latest versions of Edge, IE 11, Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox are supported (however, the RD Web Client doesn’t work on any mobile devices yet). To access RDS servers from the browser, just share the URL link to your RDWeb server with your users.

Open the URL address:

https://RDWebFQDN.server.name/RDWeb/webclient/index.html

To access the test environment, use this URL address:

https://RDWebFQDN.server.name/RDWeb/WebClient-Test/index.html

The server name must match the RD Web Access server name in the SSL certificate.

Sign in to the RDWeb server using your credentials.

sign in form to RD Web using web client

During sign-in you will be prompted what local resources should be available in your RD session. Only clipboard and printer redirection is available (currently the local drives and any USB devices cannot be redirected over the HTML5 RDP client, please, use the mstsc.exe client instead).

The list of published RemoteApps and RDP shortcuts appears. You can switch between them using icons at the top of the screen.

RemoteApps on RDWeb server over html5 client

You can print from the RD Web Client using the virtual PDF printer (Microsoft Print to PDF). Then you print something in the RD Web Client window, your browser prompts you to download the PDF file. You can open this PDF file and print on your local printer.

remote desktop web client - printer redirection

The dynamic changing of the RD window size and full screen mode are available in the HTML5 RD web client. You can copy only text via the clipboard to your Remote Desktop session (but not files or graphics).

It is interesting that you can see the memory size and CPU load on the RDS server in the RD Web Client. Just click the icon of a published app to view it.

rdp html5 web client resources

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