Automatic Remote Desktop Connection

Note: This tip requires PowerShell 2.0 or above.

As a PowerShell user, you probably have a PowerShell console or the ISE editor on standby. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just hack in a “Connect-RDP” and immediately be connected to a remote desktop when you need it? And let PowerShell deal with login credentials? Here’s how.

Securely Caching Credentials

To securely cache login credentials, you can use the command line utility cmdkey.exe. With this utility, you can save a username and a password for a given remote connection. Windows will then securely cache the information and automatically use it when needed.

Connect-RDP – Auto-Login for RDP Sessions

Here is a function called Connect-RDP that automates the RDP connection:

function Connect-RDP {

  param (


  # take each computername and process it individually
  $ComputerName | ForEach-Object {

    # if the user has submitted a credential, store it
    # safely using cmdkey.exe for the given connection
    if ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('Credential'))
      # extract username and password from credential
      $User = $Credential.UserName
      $Password = $Credential.GetNetworkCredential().Password

      # save information using cmdkey.exe
      cmdkey.exe /generic:$_ /user:$User /pass:$Password

    # initiate the RDP connection
    # connection will automatically use cached credentials
    # if there are no cached credentials, you will have to log on
    # manually, so on first use, make sure you use -Credential to submit
    # logon credential

    mstsc.exe /v $_ /f

Set or Update Cached Credentials

To cache credentials for a new remote desktop connection, this is how you’d call the function:

PS> Connect-RDP -Credential testdomain\Administrator

You would then be prompted for the connection password, and the RDP connection gets initiated. Internally, Connect-RDP stores the logon information in your credential cache. So from now on, to connect to the server via RDP, you no longer need the credentials. Next time, this is all you need:

PS> Connect-RDP

Using Multiple Connections

The function also supports multiple connections. If all of the connections require the same logon information, you can set it in one step:

PS> Connect-RDP,, -Credential testdomain\Administrator

If the connections require different logon credentials, then set the credentials individually:

PS> Connect-RDP -Credential testdomain\Administrator
PS> Connect-RDP -Credential testdomain\Testaccount12
PS> Connect-RDP -Credential testdomain\Tobias

Once you have set cached credentials for all your RDP servers, you can connect to one or many with just one call:

PS> Connect-RDP,,

PowerShell will use the appropriate cached credentials for each of these connections, and opens an RDP session for each server.

Manage Cached Credentials

To manage your cached credentials, use cmdkey.exe:

PS> cmdkey

Creates, displays, and deletes stored user names and passwords. The syntax of this command is:

CMDKEY [{/add | /generic}:targetname {/smartcard | /user:username {/pass{:password}}} | /delete{:targetname | /ras} | /list{:targetname}]


  To list available credentials:
     cmdkey /list
     cmdkey /list:targetname

  To create domain credentials:
     cmdkey /add:targetname /user:username /pass:password
     cmdkey /add:targetname /user:username /pass
     cmdkey /add:targetname /user:username
     cmdkey /add:targetname /smartcard

  To create generic credentials:
     The /add switch may be replaced by /generic to create generic credentials

  To delete existing credentials:
     cmdkey /delete:targetname

  To delete RAS credentials:
     cmdkey /delete /ras

PS> cmdkey /list:

Currently stored credentials for

  Type: Generic
  User: citrixdev\Administrator
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11 Responses to "Automatic Remote Desktop Connection"

  1. slestak says:

    Appreciate the tip. I left the credential parm out of mine. Did not want any caching of credentials.

  2. siddharth agarwal says:

    Hi, I am new to Powershell so here i have couple of doubts. Could you plz let me know that if i use the above PS script then where do i have to define the login credentials for multiple servers???

  3. Tobias Weltner says:

    Look at the examples please: if you have multiple servers that all require different login credentials, then call the function for each connection, and submit the appropriate logon credential. Once you have done that, you can use the function without -Credential for one or multiple servers. And slestak, if you do not want to cache logon credentials, then you can omit the -Credential parameter in the first place. However, then you could call mstsc directly, too.

  4. Peter Klumm says:

    line 23 brings me the error: CMDKEY: This command requires either the /u switch and a username or else the /smartcard switch with a smartcard
    Doing the command manually works fine..
    Any clue?

  5. Tobias Weltner says:

    Oh, blanks in passwords – did not think about that :-) Please quote the parameter in the code:
    cmdkey.exe “/generic:$_” “/user:$User” “/pass:$Password”

    Does that fix it for you?

  6. Hi, I new with user in PS but keep try so bginer in job. you have any *pdf about this case? #tks

  7. jason dumlao says:

    Hi Tobias! Good morning to you. I’m just a beginner so I might ask a dumb question. I have question regarding your script. I was testing it out the other day and your script works fine if the server your login to belongs to the same domain as the user account your using, but when you login to a server that belongs to another domain what ends up happening is it will still cache your credentials and will still go thru the rdp process but it will stop at the login screen and it will ask you again for your username and password. I tested this on a windows 2003 and windows 2008 server multiple times. Any thoughts on this problem?

  8. david dumlao says:

    Hi Tobias! Good Morning to you. I would like to ask for your help, I tried your powershell script and I found an issue in which the server/s that your log into is on a different domain it will rdp into the server/s but it will stop at the login prompt and ask you again for your username and password even if put on the username this “domain\username” but that issue is doesn’t come up if the username your using belongs to the same domain as the servers your log into. Can help me modify your script. Sorry I’m still new in powershell. Thanks

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