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How to do Ctrl + Alt + Del on Remote Desktop

What is the key press combination you need to enter to do a Ctrl + Alt + Del while working on a Remote Desktop (RDP) Session?

As a Windows Server Administrator, you will know how useful the Ctrl + Alt + Del keypress combination is.  It can be used to lock the computer, bring up the Task Manager, change your password, log off the current user, switch the current logged in user, amongst other things.

What is Remote Desktop?

Remote Desktop Protocol, often referred to as simply Remote Desktop or RDP, provides a means of loging in and managing a server remotely.  This involves communicating between the Terminal Server running on the server or remote machine and the Terminal Server Client running on your local computer.

Doing a Ctrl + Alt + Del on Remote Desktop

When you are logged in remotely to a server via Remote Desktop and you want to perform a Ctrl + Alt + Del on the remote server, you will soon discover that you usually can’t just hit that key combination, depending on the Client software your are using.  If you press Ctrl + Alt + Del, what happens is that your local computer receives this keypress and interprets it as a local Ctrl + Alt + Del rather than transmitting that keypress combination to the remote computer.

To transmit this signal to the remote computer via RDP, you need to use the key combination Ctrl + Alt + End instead.  The local computer sends this through the Remote Desktop connection and it is interpreted at the remote computer as a Ctrl + Alt + Del.

Once you remember this key sequence, it makes sense.  After all, the End key is right beside the Del key on a standard keyboard.  But it’s one of those things that’s really easy to forget if you haven’t used it in a while.










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