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Log-off vs sign-out in a remote desktop environment

Dec 2, 2021 Tech blog

Working in a terminal server environment is becoming commonplace for employees of companies that have multiple sites or many remote users. It's when the company's server infrastructure is located at one central location and users log in via a VPN (virtual private network) connection to do their work. Advantages of this setup are that IT maintenance is easier (and therefore less expensive) because all the server hardware is in one location. Also, maintenance of each user's device is simplified to just managing windows updates and antivirus - all applications are stored on the network, not on individual PCs.

We're noticing with clients using this setup that educating end-users about the difference between 'disconnecting' from the remote desktop and 'logging off' makes an impact on resource usage and this, in turn, affects the speed and efficiency of the network and, importantly, support calls.

Sign-out/log-off vs disconnecting makes a difference to resource allocation

In the remote desktop environment, Windows shows a blue ribbon across the top of the screen market by an 'X' for disconnecting from the remote session. However, it's important for users to understand that while this disconnects from the remote desktop it leaves their session live and consuming resources on the terminal server. Depending on the CPU and RAM of the remote server we notice an increase in support calls related to resource issues towards the end of the day as the system gets clogged with inactive users that are still holding live sessions.

The solution is for users to log-off rather than disconnecting when they have finished, freeing up server resources. This is done in the remote desktop environment the same way as you would log off from your PC: go to the Windows icon in the bottom left of the remote desktop screen and choose 'sign out' rather then disconnecting by using the 'X' in the blue bar across the top.

Of course, if users are signing out correctly and there are still resource issues the capacity of the network needs to be assessed.

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