I Cannot Run EXE Files on the Terminal Server


The use of the terminal server in the Windows operating system facilitates remote workstation capability, allowing many different computers to access the same system files from a central server. Security access problems can create a situation where remote users cannot run certain files from their computers. This is likely an indication that the terminal server firewall has restricted a user's access to a program.

Terminal Server

  • The terminal server is an interface that connects many different devices to a single local access network, or LAN. Computers and other devices start a client session to log in to the terminal server and access programs stored there. The terminal server creates a local monitor simulation on a client computer, giving the impression that files are directly accessible from the computer rather than the central server. Terminal servers were introduced in the Windows operating system with the release of Windows XP, which allowed remote workstation logins.


  • PC users may encounter terminal server problems in several versions of Windows. Common issues involve the inability to access programs and executable (EXE) files stored on the network server, even when those applications were recently accessible. Often, the client monitor will return an error message that reads, "Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the items."

Internet Explorer Enhanced Security

  • Windows operating systems use a security protocol known as Internet Explorer Enhanced Security to protect computers that access the Internet. The default configuration restricts access to certain websites and controls access to applications through local area networks. Internet Explorer Enhanced Security can block client computers from accessing individual files or folders through a terminal server. Programs blocked by IEES can prevent workstation users from being able to access and run those programs on their computers.


  • A server administrator can change the IEES firewall security settings and allow a user to run a previously blocked EXE file through the client computer. This is accomplished by accessing the Control Panel from the terminal server. Click the “Internet Options” icon, select “Security” and then select the “Local Intranet Zone” option. Find the "Launching applications and unsafe files" setting and choose the “Enable” option.

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