How to lock down a Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Terminal Server session

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q278295
You can use Group Policies to lock down a Terminal Server session on a Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based or Microsoft Windows 2000-based computer. With the following settings, even the administrator account will have restricted access. It is highly recommended that you create a new organizational unit instead of modifying the policies on an existing one.

Note The use of these policies does not guarantee a secure computer, and you should use them only as a guideline.
Use Active Directory Users and Computers to create a new organizational unit (OU). Right-click the OU, click Properties, and then on the Group Policy tab, click New Policy. Edit this policy with the following settings:
  • [Computer Configuration\Admin Templates\System\Group Policy]

    Enable the following setting:
    User Group Policy loopback processing mode
  • [Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options]

    Enable the following settings:
    Do not display last user name in logon screen
    Restrict CD-ROM access to locally logged-on user only
    Restrict floppy access to locally logged-on user only
  • [Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Installer]

    Enable the following setting, and set it to Always:
    Disable Windows Installer

    Note The default setting for Disable Windows Installer prevents any non-managed applications from being installed by a non-administrator. Setting Disable Windows Installer to Always may prevent some of the newer updates from Windows Update from being applied. Therefore, we recommend that you only set Disable Windows Installer to Always if there is a specific need or an identified threat that you must address.
  • [User Configuration\Windows Settings\Folder Redirection]

    Enable the following settings:
    Application Data
    My Documents
    Start Menu
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Explorer]

    Enable the following settings:
    Remove Map Network Drive and Disconnect Network Drive
    Remove Search button from Windows Explorer
    Disable Windows Explorer's default context menu
    Hides the Manage item on the Windows Explorer context menu
    Hide these specified drives in My Computer (Enable this setting for A through D.)
    Prevent access to drives from My Computer (Enable this setting for A through D.)
    Hide Hardware Tab
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Task Scheduler]

    Enable the following settings:
    Prevent Task Run or End
    Disable New Task Creation
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu & Taskbar]

    Enable the following settings:
    Disable and remove links to Windows Update
    Remove common program groups from Start Menu
    Disable programs on Settings Menu
    Remove Network & Dial-up Connections from Start Menu
    Remove Search menu from Start Menu
    Remove Help menu from Start Menu
    Remove Run menu from Start Menu
    Add Logoff to Start Menu
    Disable changes to Taskbar and Start Menu Settings
    Disable and remove the Shut Down command or Remove and prevent access to the Shut Down command

    Note In Windows 2000, this setting is named Disable and remove the Shut Down command. In Windows Server 2003, this setting is named Remove and prevent access to the Shut Down command.
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Desktop]

    Enable the following settings:
    Hide My Network Places icon on desktop
    Prohibit user from changing My Documents path
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel]

    Enable the following setting:
    Disable Control Panel
    Important When you enable this setting, you prevent administrators from installing any MSI package on to the Terminal Server, even if the explicit Deny is set for the Administrator account.
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System]

    Enable the following settings:
    Disable the command prompt (Set Disable scripts to No)
    Disable registry editing tools
  • [User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon/Logoff]

    Enable the following settings:
    Disable Task Manager
    Disable Lock Computer
For more information about how to lock down Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Sessions, visit the following Web site:

The Dsacls.exe tool

Dsacls.exe is a command-line tool that you can use to query the security attributes and to change permissions and security attributes of Active Directory objects. It is the command-line equivalent of the Security tab in the Windows Active Directory snap-in tools such as Active Directory Users and Computers and Active Directory Sites and Services. You can use Dsacls.exe to lock out Terminal Services end-users from files and folders on a Windows Server 2003-based computer or a Microsoft Windows 2000-based computer.

For more information about how to use the Dsacls.exe tool (Dsacls.exe) to manage access control lists (ACLs) for directory services in Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281146 How to use Dsacls.exe in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000

Article ID: 278295 - Last Review: 03/01/2007 23:56:41 - Revision: 7.5

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86), Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server

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