pcAnywhere Host, RDP, Terminal Server and Citrix don't work at the same time
Last Updated September 21, 2011
Attempts to establish an RDP or Terminal Server session to a computer which has the pcAnywhere host service running may not work as expected. Also, running and publishing a pcAnywhere host package as a Citrix application doesn't work.
When connecting to a computer in a Terminal Server session or Citrix server with a pcAnywhere host or starting a host in this environment may yield the following errors.
"The host cannot run in a remote terminal services session. Please run the host locally at the server."
"Could not start the Symantec pcAnywhere Host Service service on the local computer."
"Error 1053: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion."
After using RDP to connect to computer that has a pcAnywhere host in the Waiting state, it is not possible to connect to the pcAnywhere host again. Further investigation may show that the host icon is in the system tray and that the Symantec pcAnywhere Host service is in a running state. However, when trying to make a pcAnywhere connection to the host you may receive the following error.
Communications error: Unable to attach to specified device.
pcAnywhere Host is not supported on a computer that has more than one active windows session. Windows NT/2000/2003/2008 Terminal Services and Citrix servers allow for more than one user to have an active session running on the same computer. The pcAnywhere Host service will then try to initialize in each active session, the Symantec pcAnywhere Host Service (awhost32) may crash, and it may be necessary to reboot the computer to regain pcAnywhere functionality.
Remote Desktop protocol uses the same video, keyboard, and mouse resources that pcAnywhere uses. The act of connecting to a machine with a waiting pcAnywhere host with an Remote Desktop protocol session will cause the waiting host session to malfunction and require that the host session if running to be stopped and restarted.
Whenever the pcA service is restarted remotely via remote desktop or by another remote utility, pcAnywhere will try to bind to the same video, keyboard, and mouse resources that have already been taken by remote desktop or another remote utility. The pcAnywhere host service will not be able to be restarted while in a Remote Desktop protocol or Terminal Server session.
The pcAnywhere Host service cannot be started or restarted while in a remote control session. The pcAnywhere Host service must be restarted locally on the computer when no remote sessions or remote control actions are being made to the computer.
pcAnywhere is not supported in an environment where other remote control services are running. To avoid undesirable behaviour, uninstall or disable other remote control services. Or, stop the Symantec pcAnywhere Host Service prior to using other remote control services.
Symantec has acknowledged that the above-mentioned issue is present in the current version(s) of the product(s) mentioned at the end of this article. Symantec is committed to product quality and satisfied customers.
There are currently no plans to address this issue by way of a patch or hotfix in the current or previous versions of the software at the present time. This issue may be resolved in a future major revision of the software at a later time. However, this particular issue is not currently scheduled for any release. If you feel this issue has a direct business impact for you and your continued use of the product, please contact your Symantec Sales representative or the Symantec Sales group to discuss these concerns. For information on how to contact Symantec Sales, please refer to the following Web site: