How to Fix: VMWare RDP Protocol Error Session Disconnected

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Steve J. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm a certified PC tech and I have a lot of jobs where customers want to upgrade their PC to a new system. As part of the migration process, I convert the client's old physical machine to a virtual machine using VMWare Converter. Once that is completed, I copy the virtual machine to the new PC and run it. The virtual machine serves two functions: 1) it's essentially a 'live' backup of the old machine, and 2) users can export their data from the virtual machine (example: bookmarks from a web browser) to the new machine in ways that a regular backup would not normally allow because the data is buried deep within the operating system. The problem I'm having is that once in a while I come across an issue where VMWare Workstation 15 won't let me connect to the machine using Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP); instead, I get an error message that 'because of a protocol error this session will be disconnected', and then my RDP connection closes. I was wondering if you had any insight on this? "

My response:

It is advisable that once a physical machine is converted into a virtual machine that you run the VMWare Tools so that the video display inside the virtual machine (using the hypervisor view) is fluid and so that you can copy text from the hypervisor to the guest using the clipboard, etc.

That said, I have come across the 'because of a protocol error this session will be disconnected' issue once in a blue moon with VMWare Workstation, and it seems to be related to the video adapter settings of the virtual machine.

From what I gather, once VMWare Tools is installed and the video is enhanced, something gets corrupted along the way and when you RDP into the virtual machine, the dreaded 'because of a protocol error this session will be disconnected' error comes up and kicks you out of the connection.

How to Fix: VMWare RDP Protocol Error Session Disconnected

To fix this issue, do the following:

  1. Using the VMWare Workstation hypervisor, log into the virtual machine that is having the issue.
  2. Once you're logged in: click Start, then type in "devmgmt.msc" (no quotes) and press Enter on the keyboard.
  3. Locate "Display adapters" heading within Device Manager, and click it to expand. The "VMWare SVGA 3D" option should be listed; right click it, then select "disable".
  4. Once you disable the VMWare Display Adapter, it should default to "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter".
  5. You should now be able to login to the virtual machine using Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP).

I hope that helps.

About the author: Dennis Faas

Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With more than 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has authored six books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote/Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live online chat through this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen) or you can contact Dennis using the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (4 votes)