As a Windows systems administrator, there are plenty of situations where you need to remotely view who is logged on to a given computer. Many times you not only need to check who is logged on interactively at the console, but also check who is connected remotely via a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP). Fortunately Windows provides a way to do this. In fact, there are at least three ways to remotely view who’s logged on.
Each of these methods for remotely viewing who is logged on to a Windows machine assumes your Windows login has sufficient permission to connect remotely to the machine. It’s also worth pointing out that each of these ways is non-invasive. This means you can use them to check on the given machine remotely without impacting any of the users currently logged on to the remote machine.
Remote Desktop Services Manager
The Remote Desktop Services Manager is part of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) suite of tools, so you’ll need to install RSAT before you can use the Remote Desktop Manager. We also touched on the Remote Desktop Services Manager in our article about how to manage remote desktop connections.
After you have RSAT installed with the “Remote Desktop Services Tools” option enabled, you’ll find the Remote Desktop Services Manager in your Start Menu, under Administrative Tools, then Remote Desktop Services:
Once the Remote Desktop Services Manager MMC is up and running, simply right click on the “Remote Desktop Services Manager” root node in the left pane tree view:
Then when prompted, enter the hostname of the remote computer you want to view. After the MMC connects to the remote computer, you’ll see a list of users logged on to the machine and which session they’re each using:
If you’ve read some of our previous articles you know that we’re big fans of the SysInternals suite of system utilities. Included in the PsTools set of utilities is a handy little command line app, PsLoggedOn.
As with other SysInternals tools, you’ll need to download psloggedon.exe and place it somewhere accessible on your local computer (not the remote computer), for example, in C:\PsTools.
Then, open a command prompt on your local machine and from any directory execute: C:\PsTools\psloggedon.exe \\server-a
This of course assumes you put psloggedon.exe in C:\PsTools on your local machine, and replace “server-a” with the hostname of the computer you want to remotely view who is logged on.
Last but not least, there’s the built-in Windows command, “query”, located at %SystemRoot%\system32\query.exe.
Just open a command prompt and execute: query user /server:server-a
As usual, replace “server-a” with the hostname of the computer you want to remotely view who is logged on.
For more information on the query command see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/186592
As you can see there are at least three ways to get the information you need to remotely view who is logged on in a totally non-intrusive way.