Windows 10 22H2 Preview Update KB5031445 installs Remote desktop connection as feature

Windows[German]With the preview update KB5031445 for Windows 10 22H2, Microsoft has installed a new "Remote Desktop Connection" entry in "Programs and Features". This feature will then be rolled out globally on Patchday in November 2023. This change has led to controversial discussions in my German blog – it will not be met with enthusiasm by all users – especially if they are using Windows 10 Home Edition.


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Windows 10 22H2 Preview Update KB5031445

Update KB5031445 was made available as a preview for Windows 10 22H2 on October 26, 2023 (see Windows 10 22H2 Preview Update KB5031445 (October 26, 2023)). Users will only receive this update if they check for updates – the contents of this preview update will only be rolled out globally to all Windows 10 machines on the November 2023 patch day with the November 2023 security update.

However, some users have installed the preview update KB5031445 because it fixes some problems under Windows 10. It fixes two memory leaks in ctfmon.exe and TextInputHost.exe and fixes a printer error.

KB5031445 installs a Remote Desktop Connection

However, Microsoft has also installed a "Remote Desktop Connection" function in "Programs and Features" with the KB5031445 preview update, without documenting this in the KB5031445 support article. I first came across this in this German comment, where Jochen mentions the installation of Remote Desktop Connection in "Programs and Features" in addition to a very long installation time of this preview update. In his comment, he asks what the point is of pushing an unneeded component onto the system. This does not go down well with Windows 10 Home systems in particular.

Remote Desktop Connection is simply a Windows application with this name. The mstsc.exe program can be used to establish a connection with remote computers. The program is mostly used in company environments/servers. The application does not mean that a remote connection has been set up on the computer.

mstsc.exe has been onboard on Windows since ages (I guess Windows XP has been shipped with that program). What's now new, is the circumstance, that Remote Desktop Connection is now a separate entry in "Programs and Features" and can be installed.

Tom mentions in this German comment that the "Remote Desktop Connection" feature on devices with Windows 10 22H2 was already available at the end of August 2023 as part of the upgrade to Windows 11 22H2. And the update KB5031445 for Windows 11 (Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5031455 (October 26, 2023)) updated the mstsc.exe file to version 10.0.22621.2506 during the automatic installation. Under Windows 10, the mstsc.exe file now has version 10.0.19041.3636. The associated shortcut has also been updated.

I did some quick research and other people have noticed that the "Remote Desktop Connection" is simply pushed onto the system via an update. In this comment on deskmodder.de, someone complains about this "goodie" that was installed on Windows 10 Home. Someone on reddit.com also wonders in this post:


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"Remote Desktop Connection" was installed as well. I just wanted to check and see if anyone else had this install alongside these updates today/yesterday/whenever it came out really.

In this German comment Ben complains about Microsoft's practice of installing a remote desktop connection on all PCs. This has been deactivated for good reason in his environment, as it is unnecessary and represents an additional security vulnerability. In this context, I am reminded of my 2019 article RDP vulnerability puts Hyper-V at risk – and there are numerous posts on my German blog about issues caused by mstsc.exe.

Ben writes that Microsoft's approach is incomprehensible and inadmissible. They are currently having the process checked by the company's legal department and want to file a lawsuit against MS.

My thoughts

The original German article has sparked controversial discussions in my German blog. While home users and others wrote, that they never used this feature and won't have it on their systems, enterprise administrators came out, that mstsc.exe has been shipped with Windows since years. I think, both user groups are right.

First of all, it's no harm to have mstsc.exe on your system, because it's just there, but not active. But it's not the best idea – in my view – to add an entry "Remote Desktop Connection" to a system, when it's not required. Especially, if you can't establish an incoming remote desktop connection to a machine with Windows 10 Home Edition (only outgoing remote desktop connections are possible). As far as I remember, only Windows 10 Professional upward are able to receive an incoming remote desktop connection.

On the other side, the enterprise administrators are right – at the end of the day (nearly) nothing has changed, because mstsc.exe has been for a long time on Windows systems.

My point: I see another fail from Microsoft. Maybe there are good reasons to move the Remote Desktop Connection and provide an option to uninstall that feature via "Programs and Features". But the messed it again, because they missed it to document this within their support article for KB5031445.

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