Deploying A RDSH 2008 R2 Server to a RDS 2012 R2 Environment

For all those with application compatibility issues why not deploy a RDSH 2008R2 server to a RDS 2012 environment. In this article I will show you how to deploy a RDSH 2008R2 server to a RDS 2012/R2 environment.

I will be showing you how to deploy IE8 to RDWeb 2012 using Server 2012 R2 and Server 2008 R2. I will not be configuring certificates in this article, as this is out of scope of what i am trying to demonstrate.

Point to note: I cannot confirm that this is supported, so i would recommend contacting Microsoft before deploying to a production environment.

Configuring RDS 2008R2 Server Role

You first need to add the RDSH role



Select the Remote Desktop Services Role.


Select the Remote Desktop Session Host.


If you are using versions of windows older than windows 7 don’t use NLA. I would recommend using this if you are running Windows 7/8 as it provides better security.


The configuration of licensing is not required at this point and can be configured latter.


Add the required user groups that you want to access RDS.


You may want to add desktop compression to improve the desktop look and feel.


Click Install.



Restart the Server.


Installing the Desktop Experience Feature

As we are configuring a Remote Session Host , we will need to configure the server for use with end users. So we will need to install the Desktop Experience Feature.


You first need to set the execution policy to remote signed

Set-executionpolicy  remotesigned


Import all Modules into PowerShell.

Get-Module -ListAvailable | Import-Module


Add the Windows Feature Desktop-Experience

Add-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience


Grant the RDWA server access to the 2008 RDSH Server

To allow the RDWA server access to the RDSH server, we need to grant access.

Add the RDWA server into the TS Web Access Group. I would also add the Gateway Server if installed on a separate server.


Configure RDS 2012 R2 RDWeb for WS2008R2 Remote Desktop Session Host

This is the important part… We now need to configure the RDS 2012 Web Server to publish the Remote apps from the RDSH 2008R2 Server.

Navigate to the RDWeb folder located C:\windows\web\RDWeb\Pages

and edit the web.config file.



Scroll down or find the </appSettings> section.

And as shown in the above screenshot, add the following Key above the </appSettings> :

<add key=”ws08r2rdserver” value=”<Server FQDN>” />

You will not be able to save the file, so i would recommend saving to the desktop and copying and replacing back into the rdweb directory.

Point to note: if using multiple RDWA servers (load balanced solution) ensure that you copy the config to all RDWA servers.

Adding the Remote APP

Before installing applications, i would recommend reading the following article (Click Me).

For this article i have chosen to roll back IE 11 to IE 8 and publish this as a alternative for users using legacy applications requiring IE 8.


Select  Browse… and navigate to the internet explorer directory.

C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe


You can edit the Remote App program Name and the Alias.

The location path will default to a UNC path, change this to the local path as shown in the screenshot.


Accessing the newly created Remote App

As you can see from the screenshot below, IE8 is now published. The shortcut is showing as a RDP file.

I havent configured certificates in this article so you will see that there will be certificate prompts and a sign in request when launching 2008R2 Remote apps.



The publisher cannot be identified as certificates have not been configured.


Single sign on requires certificates to be configured, hence why we have a Windows Security Prompt.


There you have it , IE 8 hosted on Server 2008 R2 Session host accessible from RDS 2012 RDWA.

6 thoughts on “Deploying A RDSH 2008 R2 Server to a RDS 2012 R2 Environment

Add yours

  1. This does work but unfortunately, for mobile devices that use Microsoft Remote Desktop, it does not show up in Remote Resources. It only shows 2012 locally published apps. Is there an alternate way to pull that in? Unfortunately, you can’t add in a 2008R2 Session Host except in the weburl..

    1. Actually nm I made the same change in the Feed config and it worked. Thanks for the information in the article.. saved me some time.

  2. Very nice! It works immediately. My only question is how to move the published applications into subfolders as one can do easily with Server 2012? As we already have a lot of them from other server this would help much.

  3. This worked perfectly for me, so thanks for this article! However, we have a heavily used app by over 100 users that requires an additional server for load balancing. I have tried adding the second server to the web.config file, as well as creating a farm of the two 2008 servers and putting the farm name in the file but both just break the connection. Any suggestions? Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: