If you often use the Mstsc shortcut for your RDP sessions with Windows, especially during those times of telecommuting, you might need to send a Ctrl + Alt + Del combination on your remote desktop session. Useful to change the password on an Active Direcotry domain or to open the Windows task manager in case of a problem.

Note that not all Windows shortcuts work in remote desktop. Copy / paste will work for example. On the other hand, if you simultaneously press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys on your keyboard from your RDP session, this combination will interact with the local machine rather than the remote machine.

Also read: How to activate remote desktop on Windows?

Do a Ctrl + Alt + Del in remote desktop with the keyboard

To send Ctrl + Alt + Del instructions on a Windows remote desktop session, you must perform a combination with the following keys on your keyboard:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Ctrl+Alt+End or Ctrl+Alt+End

Using the visual keyboard

The on-screen keyboard is an interesting solution to know for sending remote control keyboard commands. You can use it to send Ctrl + Alt + Del commands to remote desktop, but also for other keyboard shortcuts that would not work in RDP.

On your remote desktop session, open a Run window then type osk.exe. Or search Visual keyboard in the Windows 10 search bar.

Hold the keys Ctrl + Alt on the host machine then click on the Delete on the visual keyboard.

With Powershell

PowerShell can be used to open the Windows security interface.

Open a Powershell window then type the following command:

(New-Object -COM Shell.Application).WindowsSecurity()


You can also do without these key combinations in remote desktop to access certain options on this screen.

  • Lock or Change user: click on the start menu then the icon User and finally Lock.
  • Disconnect: click on the start menu then on the icon User and finally on Sign out.
  • Change a password: Use one of the methods to send Ctrl + Alt + Del to the remote machine.
  • Task Manager: See ๐Ÿ‘‰ 6 Ways To Open Windows Task Manager
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