The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped

As a follow up from an older article in which I showed you how to enable Remote Desktop manually or via script, you can now go ahead and read about a policy which might prevent a vital service for RDP called Terminal Services.

The older article can be found here: and it’s about how to enable Remote Desktop with basic Windows XP settings if the computer is newly installed or hasn’t been tampered with, especially with registry and policy settings.

The error I’m talking about occurs when trying to access a computer by using Remote Desktop Protocol (Start – Run – “mstsc.exe” without the quotes and hit enter).

I can’t render the exact error you will get when trying to connect to such a computer using RDP but if I remember well, it should be a small pop-up window with two lines saying that the remote desktop is not enabled or something similar. I can’t simulate it now because it implies a reboot and I lack resources (time, equipment, etc.) but I will add it in the future. What you should know is that this computer can’t be accessed via RDP, even if RDP is enabled with the ways presented in my older article. You will also find an error in the System section of event viewer on the computer that fails to be accessed via RDP (the target computer) – not the computer you are trying to access it from (start – run – “compmgmt.msc” without the quotes, hit enter, expand Event Viewer, select System section). This error will show something like this:

The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped - Computer Management Error

When you will double click the error for details, it will say: “The terminal service server failed to start because this is not a terminal server computer”.

The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped - Event Properties Error

This has nothing to do with permissions or user rights. This is not an error you would get if, for example, the user doesn’t have permissions to access this computer because he is not an administrator on the remote computer or he isn’t added to Remote Desktop Users. If that was the case, you would get a message saying something about Terminal Services User Access or Permission missing.

You should know RDP depends on “Terminal Services” service and it should be started for RDP to work. This Terminal Services depend on “Remote Procedure Call” as a system component to function in order for him to work too.

SOLUTION for ” The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped ” :

To start with our actual solution you will have to try to start the services in the following order:

Remote Procedure Call

Terminal Services

Fast User Switching Compatibility

If any of them fail to start, your RDP connection will probably fail.

The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped - Terminal Services Properties

To interact with services, the faster way is to open the services management console by going to Start – Run – type in “services.msc” without the quotes and hit enter. This window will show up:

The terminal services service on local computer started and then stopped - Services Local

By right clicking the Services (Local) on the left top pane and using connect to another computer, you can remotely administer the services of a remote computer, as long as you have administrator account on that computer. In most cases, this is for system/network administrators and you will know what to do further without me mentioning it.

In this “services.msc” window, you can check those services and try to start them one by one and follow up on errors they might display using the provided output or event viewer.

When you will reach the step to start “Terminal Services” service you might get this error:

“The terminal Services service on Local computer started and then stopped. Some services start automatically if they have no work to do, for example the Performance Logs and Alert Service.”

You can also try to start the Terminal Services service from a command prompt window, just to strengthen the theory and you will get the following error:

net start TermService

The Terminal Services service could not be started.

The service did not report an error.

If this is your case too, the Terminal Services service is disabled by a policy or simply via registry either intentionally by your IT department/security or if you are part of the IT could be a faulty application, software malfunction or corrupted settings. This is irrelevant to our issue so I won’t go any further into details here.

Open a registry editor, for example for Windows XP type in “regedit” without the quote and hit enter, just after you open up Start – Run window. Locate the following key: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server” by expanding each one of them until you find this entry: TSEnabled. Right click it and select modify or double left click it and MODIFY the value from 0 to 1.

REBOOT the computer. As soon as the computer starts you should see Terminal Services service started and you should be able to RDP this computer from another one.

If you have a particular case, please share the details with me and maybe we can fix it together. Try to mention the Operating system version you are using and the actions you’ve made.

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