Let me tell you a story about a troubleshooting incident I encountered a few weeks ago.
I live in New York City.
The other day I was trying to use the Microsoft Terminal Services Client (mstsc.exe) to remotely connect to a PC in Los Angeles, California but for some inexplicable reason I couldn’t connect.
Well that’s not entirely true; the client actually crashed on connect.
After entering my credentials and clicking Connect, the remote computer would log me in but then would invariably flash and crash with this troublesome message:
The Remote Desktop connection has stopped working.
The error is pretty lame if you ask me. Here’s the thing: it’s already obvious that the Remote Desktop connection stopped working because the client was completely locked up. Therefore, why does Microsoft need to rub it in my face by telling me what is already undeniably true?
So yes, I was perturbed. I tried immediately connecting again (just to see if the error would go away) but I got the same result.
Rebooting didn’t fix anything so I asked a friend to attempt to connect to the same remote computer. Guess what? He didn’t have any issues. He connected fine and looked at me like I was stupid.
So there was something on my computer that was causing the Remote Desktop application to quit unceremoniously.
But what was it?
When I looked in the event logs I could see mstsc.exe was the faulting application name. But I already knew that.
There was also something in there about vorbis.acm.
Faulting module name: vorbis.acm
How odd… what is that?
Wait a second…
I thought to myself:
Vorbis… vorbis… where have I heard that before? Isn’t that an audio codec or something?
I started Googling around and noticed that vorbis, sometimes called Ogg Vorbis, is an open source audio coding format. But it wasn’t obvious to me what an audio codec and the Remote Desktop Client had in common.
How are the two related?
I started searching for clues through the Remote Desktop client tabs:
- I perused the General tab… nope nothing here.
- I scrutinized the Display tab… nothing relevant here
- I clicked through the Local Resources tab…
Oh wait.. what is this?
Remote audio… configure remote audio settings?
I mused to myself:
Ah, maybe there’s something in here I need to disable?
When I clicked in the Remote audio playback settings I noticed Play on this computer was selected.
Since I don’t care about the audio at the destination playing back on my local computer, I selected Do not play and attempted to reconnect.
And guess what?
That fixed it! I connected without any issues and the Remote Desktop client stopped crashing.
If you’re having a similar issue try poking around in the Remote Desktop settings to see what you can disable. I know some people were able to fix the Remote Desktop client problem by disabling Printers under Local devices and resources.
Maybe that will work for you?
P.S., one last thing:
You might be able to to solve the problem by backing up the cached bitmapped images of previous remote sessions.
Basically, if you repeatedly connect to the same computers that have the same desktop setups, the terminal service client will save a cached copy locally on your system so you don’t have to keep downloading it from the remote computer.
It’s located here:
%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Cache
You could rename the .bmc files to .bmc.old and then retry your terminal services connection efforts.
I have to be real with you though: I haven’t tested this bmc thing so I can’t tell you any expected outcomes!
Please let me know what worked for you.