I work with remote Windows Servers on an intermittent basis, and occasionally I need to send a “CTL+ALT+DEL” command to a remote Windows OS where the desktop interface has stopped responding.
As you may have noticed, “CTL+ALT+DEL” is reserved to the host machine. As a result this key combination won’t flow thru to the remote server when using an MS Remote Desktop Session (aka RDP).
However, the RDP client does offer a solution. When accessing a remote Windows Servers via RDP, use the key combination “CTL+ALT+END”. Unless the machine is totally hosed, this will bring up the familiar Windows Security dialog box. From there, you can try troubleshooting steps such as:
- access the TaskManager and try to identify a hung process
- use TaskManager | File | New Task (Run…) to manually restart the Windows Explorer (aka desktop) or other process.
- Or just give it this equivalent of the ol’ three fingered salute and shutdown/restart command.