Remote Desktop Protocol Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol, or RDP for short, gives users the ability to remotely access the desktop of Windows servers and workstations running Terminal Services. RDP was originally introduced with Windows NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, but now ships with all versions of Windows 2003 and Windows XP Professional.

When running an RDP session, certain keyboard shortcut combinations such as CTRL-ALT-DELETE cannot be directly sent to the remote host. The local client will react to the keyboard combination, not RDP. To allow certain keyboard combinations to work with RDP, Microsoft has designed RDP to use alternate combinations. For example, to send CTRL-ALT-DELETE to the remote host, a user should press CTRL-ALT-END.

The following table lists the alternate combinations that RDP recogizes as well-known keyboard combinations.

Original CombinationRDP CombinationDescription
ALT-TABALT-PAGE_UPSwitch programs from left to right
ALT-SHIFT-TABALT-PAGE_DOWNSwitch programs from right to left
ALT-ESCALT-INSERTCycle through open apps
ALT_PRNT_SCRNCTRL-ALT-<NUMPAD_PLUS>Screenshot of active window
ALT-SPACEALT-DELETEOpen active window System Menu
N/ACTRL-ALT-PAUSEFull Screen/Window Mode Toggle