Set the idle time out settings for RDP session

Terminal Services using RDP is great for sharing a computer among multiple users who may be dialing in from a remote location to use the resources on the network. However, if a user forgets to log out after they use the computer, the next person won’t be able to log in until the last user logs out of the system. You can make the terminal server automatically disconnect if the user does not use the system for a set period of time, thus allowing other people to log in and use the system resources.

From the remote workstation start the Group Policy Editor.
Go to Start –> Run and type mmc in the run dialog box.

Load the Group Policy Editor
From the File Menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in. Choose the Group Policy Object and load into system.


The settings are located in Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session\Session Time Limits

The settings you need to change are
Set time limit for disconnected sesions
Set time limit for active but idle Remote Desktop Service Sessions
Terminate session when time limits are reached.
NOTE: I do not set the Set time limit for active Remote Desktop Service Sessions value. If you set this value, the active users will be disconnected from the session after the time out value is reached.


On Windows XP computer, the values are found in Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Terminal Services\Sessions




4 thoughts on “Set the idle time out settings for RDP session

  1. Pingback: Set idle timeout for RDP session on Windows Server | Andrew's blog of things

  2. My windows 7 system does not have a “Remote Desktop Session” under “Remote Desktop Services”. I only see RD Licensing, RD Connection Client, and RD Session Host and none of these have time limit options. I am connecting to Ubuntu 12.04 from Win7 using Microsoft RD. My session always times out after 10 minutes of idle time. Other users from different windows computers do not have this problem. Also, i can connect to other Ubuntu server with no idle time out problems. None of our IT folks can solve this.

    • I am not sure why your Ubuntu session times out. This post describes how to set time out values on the server end and and not on the client. So, you would set the time out value on the server and everyone who connects to will be disconnected if they are idle for a set time. If you connect to Ubuntu differently, do you still get time out (i.e. SSH or telnet to Ubuntu and see if you get time out). If so, then it’s not the RDP issue but some other issues you have with your Ubuntu account.

      • Thank you Andrew!
        1. My ssh sessions do not time out (I use Putty).
        2. My Win7 RD sessions to my Ubuntu server from another computer do not time out.
        3. I can use my Win7 RD client to log into other accounts on same Ubuntu server and do not have timeout issues.
        4. I can RD into other Ubuntu servers from my Win7 w/o time out issues.
        5. The Ubuntu sesman.ini file has timeout set to 0 (IdleTimeLimit=0).
        these observations seem to rule out everything. Can’t be sesman.ini, can’t be my Win7 RD client, Can’t be some xrdp session control for my account. Totally baffled. My IT folks have given up. Unfortunately, they are reluctant to let me use other RD systems like TeamViewer or Real VNC claiming security issues.

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