Skip to content
Windows Server Blog

This blog post was co-authored by Jonathan Federico, Product Marketing Manager, Desktop Virtualization and Christian Montoya, Program Manager, RDS.

Updated on October 12, 2018: We have temporarily removed all media for Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809. We have also paused the rollout of the latest feature update to Windows 10 inclusive of versions 1809, as we are investigating isolated reports of users missing some files after updating. If you have already downloaded media, please don’t install it and wait until more information is available to proceed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We will provide an update when refreshed media is available. For reference, we also have a support article with additional information.


We released the newest version of Remote Desktop Services (RDS), RDS 2019, on October 2, 2018. RDS 2019 builds on the strong foundation of RDS 2016, letting you rapidly deploy on-premises or in the cloud. RDS 2019 is generally available with Windows Server 2019.

RDS 2019 will give customers the opportunity to leverage fantastic enhancements that make it the optimal version of RDS, to date, with several areas of innovation to improve the administrative and client experiences.

We brought innovation centered around three areas in RDS 2019 – Simplify IT management, User experience, and Improved security.

Simplify IT management

We have time and again heard from customers that license management should focus on simplification to scale deployments. Over the past few years, we have focused on improving management of Remote Desktop (RD) Licensing servers and entitlement through Active Directory (AD).

  • Now, you will be able to leverage high availability RD Licensing servers with forward-compatibility for future versions of Windows Server to enable easier management of licenses from a variety of RDS releases.
  • We have also made it easier to manage licenses for your employees by bringing the ability for the RD Licensing servers to update RDS user Client Access Licenses (CALs) into AD objects without accessing AD directly.
  • Lastly, we added perfmon (Performance Counters) APIs to provide partners an easy way to access data to build monitoring dashboards and deliver a consistent user experience.

User experience

We have also invested in providing an enhanced user experience where end users will be able to leverage desktops and apps through RDS 2019 to maximize productivity.

  • To start, we have added modern notifications for RemoteApp in the Action Center to improve productivity with applications like Microsoft Outlook.
  • We have improved upon innovations in Discrete Device Assignment in RDS 2016 to bring better security, virtual machine (VM) isolation, and performance for your graphic-intensive workloads. These improvements in GPU virtualization technologies will result in reduced network traffic and smooth video playback.

  • In addition to the GPU virtualization technology, we added high-level redirection of built-in or attached video cameras to deliver optimized video stream at higher frame rates in new and legacy remote applications and desktops. Users can now have a better experience with video-intensive interactions.

  • Lastly, we have reduced CPU usage on the client and server and bandwidth with better image quality to bring a faster end-to-end web client experience.

Security

One of our primary goals as the Remote Desktop Services product team is to help improve your security posture for your desktop and app virtualization environments. We have improved security through several enhancements.

  • With Windows Admin Center integration, it is easy to consolidate all local and remote server management into a single pane.
  • We have brought several Windows Defender optimizations for multi-session to give you more confidence in bringing a secure, scalable and cost-effective desktop experience to end users.
  • We also added web client support for Single Sign-on (SSO) to deliver a streamlined authentication experience for users connecting via the web client.
  • A few additional features include easy-to-configure DTLS-based encryption, all of which, work toward providing a trusted end-to-end RDS deployment.

Deploying RDS 2019 on Azure

We recognize that giving you the ability and making it easier to deploy RDS on Azure gives you a lot of flexibility, scalability, security and several other advantages of Azure. To improve flexibility and ease of cloud adoption, we also support hybrid deployments where the infrastructure roles can be in Azure while the host Virtual Machines (VMs) can be on-premises.

Key enhancements for deploying RDS 2019 on Azure include using Azure Key Vault for simplified certificate management and using Azure SQL DB for the RD licensing high-availability feature.

Lastly, later in October we will announce the availability of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) subscriptions through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. The availability of RDS in CSP addresses customer needs for additional cost-effective solutions that support desktop and app virtualization.

With RDS Subscriptions, partners can directly sell RDS subscriptions through our CSP program, eliminating the extra step of customers and partners acquiring different licenses through various programs. With this model, customers can enjoy a faster licensing cycle due to CSP integration with other Microsoft licenses including Windows Server, SQL Server, and Office to make it easy for partners to simplify the buying process.

For more technical information on RDS 2019, please refer to the RDS documentation page.

Download Windows Server 2019 that includes RDS 2019 now.

Frequently asked questions

Q: When will I be able to download the final version of Windows Server 2019?

A: Windows Server 2019 that includes RDS 2019 became generally available on October 2, 2018. It is available for evaluation and download through Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

Q: Is Remote Desktop Server included in Windows Server 2019?

A: Yes. Remote Desktop Server 2019 will be a server role in Windows Server 2019.

Q: How do we view this announcement with Windows Virtual Desktop announcement at Ignite?

A: This is the most up-to-date version of RDS to enable running the latest on-premises multi-session virtualization available with Windows Server. Windows Virtual Desktop is a desktop and application virtualization service on Azure. Read the blog post Microsoft 365 adds modern desktop on Azure for more information.

Q: How is RDS on Azure different from Windows Virtual Desktop?

A: RDS is the ideal on-premises desktop and application virtualization solution, with a Windows Server operating system to provide a multi-session desktop experience. When deployed on Azure, you can scale your deployment and manage RD infrastructure roles in your own subscription. Windows Virtual Desktop enables customers to deliver a brand-new multi-session capability with a full Windows 10 experience, with the scale and flexibility of Azure. With this new service, Microsoft manages the infrastructure roles. Windows Virtual Desktop will be available for public preview later this calendar year. For more information, please visit the product page.

Q: Will there be a path to go from RDS to Windows Virtual Desktop?

A: Yes, we are developing Azure documentation guidance for this migration path as Windows Virtual Desktop gets closer to public preview later in calendar year 2018.