What is mstsc.exe?

The genuine mstsc.exe file is a software component of Microsoft Windows by Microsoft.
Microsoft Windows is an operating system. The Microsoft Terminal Services Client is a remote management service. Mstsc.exe is the executable file that opens the Microsoft Terminal Services Client. This is a genuine software and should not be removed unless known to cause problems.

The Microsoft Terminal Services Client, currently known as Remote Desktop Services, is a component of Microsoft Windows that allows users to take control of a virtual machine or remote computer over a network connection. There are three Windows components that use RDS namely Windows Remote Assistance, Remote Desktop Connection and Fast User Switching. Remote Desktop Services comes with all versions of Windows NT since Windows 2000, and allows IT professionals to install applications on a central server rather than multiple computers.

Conceived in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the Microsoft Corporation generated a whopping $85 billion in revenue in 2016, making it the world's most valuable company for that year. Microsoft develops, sells and supports consumer electronics, computer software, personal computers and services and is known for its acquisitions such as LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016 and Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in 2016, and products such as the Windows range of operating systems.

MsTSC stands for Microsoft Terminal Services Client

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the mstsc.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for mstsc.exe related errors

Mstsc.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with mstsc
Mstsc.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Remote Desktop Connection belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System by Microsoft (

Description: Mstsc.exe is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Mstsc.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 677,888 bytes (50% of all occurrences), 1,068,544 bytes and 4 more variants. 
Mstsc.exe is a Windows core system file. The mstsc.exe file is a Microsoft signed file. Therefore the technical security rating is 2% dangerous; but you should also compare this rating with the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify mstsc.exe related errors

Important: Some malware disguises itself as mstsc.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the mstsc.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

I am using another computer with the Remote Desktop connection all set up and running, I terminated the process and ptute, gone.. no more connection... This file is fine in that sence, but if you didn't have Remote Desktop Enabled and setup and seen this running then I would have that Red Flag waiving high, someone could be using your computer, ONLY if you didn't set this up to begin with... My oppinion. But most cases It would only allow one connection to the Remote Desktop's computer at a time that I believe, whenever another user would try to log on, then a msg would popup if ok to logon
  SuD   (further information)
It's the Remote Desktop Client. You use it to connect to another computer's remote desktop.
I love that application - helps me with my research
Client's computer has mstsc.exe setup to run at startup. Points to %USER%\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows. Obvious fake. If this file is found anywhere but %windows%\System32, it should be considered very dangerous.
  Pawel Tarnowski  
I use mstsc on a daily basis at work to remotely work on computers. It is a core Microsoft application for remote connections. MSTSC - Microsoft Terminal Services Client. It is a useful tool when used properly. When you log into a remote computer with mstsc you must have a valid Username and Password for the computer that you are logging into, also it will log off anyone who is logged into that computer with a prompt. Therefore if you have your computer protected with password required accounts it should not be a concern that anyone can just log into your computer with mstsc.
  GentleBen_49   (further information)
it showed up on my desktop with a lightbulb icon the same day I was held hostage by Think Point.
  Ginger Parker  
comodo (firewall) alerted that IS malicious! one of the kids' friends put on puter; the SAME person whom also spilled beer on the keyboard ... BEWARE! microsoft ended support on win 2000, so .. pretty much open on ur own risk
  sun in alabama   (further information)
mstsc.exe provides access to terminal server’s functions using the commandline (dos prompt)
It showed up on my desktop, with a filesize of 510KB. Trend Micro's HouseCall program flaged it as a trojan. I certainly don't remember downloading it.
Essential for me to monitor systems on a SERVER FARM
I use ti every day to remotely access workstations & servers. I like it better than pcAnywhere. Simple but essential for work. Not essential for a home computer.
  Ed Lipchus  

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of mstsc.exe: based on 21 votes with 11 user comments. 8 users think mstsc.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. 4 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 5 users suspect danger. 2 users think mstsc.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it.

Do you have additional information?

Best practices for resolving mstsc issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with mstsc. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the mstsc.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

mstsc.exe [all]