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Power Remote Desktop

Power Remote Desktop is a fully functional Remote Desktop Application entirely coded in PowerShell.

It doesn't rely on any existing Remote Desktop Application or Protocol to function. A serious advantage of this application is its nature (PowerShell) and its ease of use and installation.

This project demonstrate why PowerShell contains the word Power. It is unfortunately often an underestimated programming language that is not only resumed to running commands or being a more fancy replacement to the old Windows command-line interpreter (cmd).

Tested on:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11

Current version: 4.0.0 Stable

Performance

Enjoy better streaming performance and a better experience using PowerShell 7 instead of PowerShell 5.

You can install PowerShell 7 for Windows here


Highlighted Features

  • Remote Desktop Streaming with support of HDPI and Scaling.
  • Remote Control: Mouse (Moves, Clicks, Wheel) and Key Strokes (Keyboard)
  • Secure: Network traffic is encrypted using TLSv1.2 or 1.3. Access to server is granted via a challenge-based authentication mechanism (using user defined complex password).
  • Network traffic encryption is using whether a default X509 Certificate (Requires Administrator) or your custom X509 Certificate.
  • Server certificate fingerprint validation supported and optionally persistent between sessions.
  • Clipboard text synchronization between Viewer and Server.
  • Mouse cursor icon state is synchronized between Viewer (Virtual Desktop) and Server.
  • Multi-Screen (Monitor) support. If remote computer have more than one desktop screen, you can choose which desktop screen to capture.
  • View Only mode for demonstration. You can disable remote control abilities and just show your screen to remote peer.
  • Session concurrency. Multiple viewers can connect to a single server at the same time.
  • Prevent computer to enter in sleep mode while server is waiting for viewers.
  • Only pieces of desktop that was updated are sent to viewer to increase streaming speed.

Setup everything in less than a minute (Fast Setup)

Install-Module -Name PowerRemoteDesktop_Server

Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer -CertificateFile "<certificate_location>"

If you are even more lazy and want to avoid using your own certificate, remove CertificateFile option but you will need to run PowerShell as Administrator.

Install-Module -Name PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer

Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer -ServerAddress "<ip_address>" -Password "<the_one_displayed_on_server>"

Thats it 😉


Detailed Installation and Instructions

You will find multiple ways to use this PowerShell Applications. Recommended method would be to install both Server and Viewer using the PowerShell Gallery but you can also do it manually as an installed module or imported script.

Install as a PowerShell Module from PowerShell Gallery (Recommended)

You can install Power Remote Desktop from PowerShell Gallery. See PowerShell Gallery as the 'equivalent' of Aptitude for Debian or Brew for MacOS.

Run the following commands:

Install-Module -Name PowerRemoteDesktop_Server

Install-Module -Name PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer

AllowPrerelease is mandatory when current version is marked as a Prerelease

Your command prompt will show the following warning:

Untrusted repository
You are installing the modules from an untrusted repository. If you trust this repository, change its
InstallationPolicy value by running the Set-PSRepository cmdlet. Are you sure you want to install the modules from
'PSGallery'?

Answer Y to proceed installation.

Both modules should now be available, you can verify using the command:

Get-Module -ListAvailable

Example Output:

PS C:\Users\Phrozen\Desktop> Get-Module -ListAvailable


    Directory: C:\Users\Phrozen\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules


ModuleType Version    Name                                ExportedCommands
---------- -------    ----                                ----------------
Manifest   1.0.0      PowerRemoteDesktop_Server           Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer
Manifest   1.0.0      PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer           Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer

<..snip..>

If you don't see them, run the following commands and check back.

Import-Module PowerRemoteDesktop_Server

Import-Module PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer

Install as a PowerShell Module (Manually / Unmanaged)

To be available, the module must first be present in a registered module path.

You can list module paths with following command:

Write-Output $env:PSModulePath

Example Output:

C:\Users\Phrozen\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules;C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules;C:\WINDOWS\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules

Clone PowerRemoteDesktop repository or download a Github release package.

git clone https://github.com/DarkCoderSc/PowerRemoteDesktop.git

Copy both PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer and PowerRemoteDesktop_Server folders to desired module path

Example:

C:\Users\<USER>\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules

Both modules should now be available, you can verify using the command:

Get-Module -ListAvailable

Example Output:

PS C:\Users\Phrozen\Desktop> Get-Module -ListAvailable


    Directory: C:\Users\Phrozen\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules


ModuleType Version    Name                                ExportedCommands
---------- -------    ----                                ----------------
Manifest   1.0.0      PowerRemoteDesktop_Server           Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer
Manifest   1.0.0      PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer           Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer

<..snip..>

If you don't see them, run the following commands and check back.

Import-Module PowerRemoteDesktop_Server

Import-Module PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer

Notice: Manifest files are optional (*.psd1) and can be removed.

As a PowerShell Script

It is not mandatory to install this application as a PowerShell module (Even if file extension is *.psm1)

You can also load it as a PowerShell Script. Multiple methods exists including:

Invoking Commands Using:

IEX (Get-Content .\PowerRemoteDesktop_[Server/Viewer].psm1 -Raw)

Loading script from a remote location:

IEX (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadString('http://127.0.0.1/PowerRemoteDesktop_[Server/Viewer].psm1')

etc...

Usage

Client

PowerRemoteDesktop_Viewer.psm1 needs to be imported / or installed on local machine.

Available Module Functions

Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer
Get-TrustedServers
Remove-TrustedServer
Clear-TrustedServers 

Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer

Create a new remote desktop session with a Power Remote Desktop Server.

⚙️ Supported Options:
Parameter Type Default Description
ServerAddress String 127.0.0.1 Remote server host/address
ServerPort Integer 2801 Remote server port
SecurePassword SecureString None SecureString object containing password used to authenticate with remote server (Recommended)
Password String None Plain-Text Password used to authenticate with remote server (Not recommended, use SecurePassword instead)
DisableVerbosity Switch False If present, program wont show verbosity messages
UseTLSv1_3 Switch False If present, TLS v1.3 will be used instead of TLS v1.2 (Recommended if applicable to both systems)
Clipboard Enum Both Define clipboard synchronization mode (Both, Disabled, Send, Receive) see bellow for more detail
ImageCompressionQuality Integer (0-100) 75 JPEG Compression level from 0 to 100. 0 = Lowest quality, 100 = Highest quality.
Resize Switch False If present, remote desktop will get resized accordingly with ResizeRatio option.
ResizeRatio Integer (30-99) 90 Used with Resize option, define the resize ratio in percentage.
AlwaysOnTop Switch False If present, virtual desktop form will be above all other window's
PacketSize Enum Size9216 Define the network packet size for streams. Choose the packet size accordingly to your network constrainsts.
BlockSize Enum Size64 Define the screen grid block size. Choose the block size accordingly to remote screen size / computer constrainsts (CPU / Network)
LogonUI Switch False Request server to open LogonUI / Winlogon desktop insead of default user desktop (Requires SYSTEM privilege in active session).
Clipboard Mode Enum Properties
Value Description
Disabled Clipboard synchronization is disabled in both side
Receive Only incomming clipboard is allowed
Send Only outgoing clipboard is allowed
Both Clipboard synchronization is allowed on both side
PacketSize Mode Enum Properties
Value Description
Size1024 1024 Bytes (1KiB)
Size2048 2048 Bytes (2KiB)
Size4096 4096 Bytes (4KiB)
Size8192 8192 Bytes (8KiB)
Size9216 9216 Bytes (9KiB)
Size12288 12288 Bytes (12KiB)
Size16384 16384 Bytes (16KiB)
BlockSize Mode Enum Properties
Value Description
Size32 32x32
Size64 64x64
Size96 96x96
Size128 128x128
Size256 256x256
Size512 512x512
⚠️ Important Notices

Prefer using SecurePassword over plain-text password even if a plain-text password is getting converted to SecureString anyway.

Example

Open a new remote desktop session to 127.0.0.1:2801 with password urCompl3xP@ssw0rd

Invoke-RemoteDesktopViewer -ServerAddress "127.0.0.1" -ServerPort 2801 -SecurePassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -String "urCompl3xP@ssw0rd" -AsPlainText -Force)

Enumerate Trusted Servers

When a fingerprint is met for the first time, viewer will ask you if you want to trust this new remote server fingerprint.

When you choose the [A] Always option, this fingerprint will be saved to local user registry. If you change your mind, you can revoke trsuted fingerprint at any time using dedicated functions.

Get-TrustedServers

Example output:

PS C:\Users\Phrozen\Desktop\Projects\PowerRemoteDesktop> Get-TrustedServers

Detail                           Fingerprint
------                           -----------
@{FirstSeen=18/01/2022 19:40:24} D9F4637463445D6BB9F3EFBF08E06BE4C27035AF
@{FirstSeen=20/01/2022 15:52:33} 3FCBBFB37CF6A9C225F7F582F14AC4A4181BED53
@{FirstSeen=20/01/2022 16:32:14} EA88AADA402864D1864542F7F2A3C49E56F473B0
@{FirstSeen=21/01/2022 12:24:18} 3441CE337A59FC827466FC954F2530C76A3F8FE4

Permanently Delete a Trusted Server

Remove-TrustedServer -Fingerprint "<target_ingerprint>"

Permanently Delete all Trusted Servers (Purge)

Clear-TrustedServers

Server

PowerRemoteDesktop_Server.psm1 needs to be imported / or installed on local machine.

Available Module Functions

Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer
⚙️ Supported Options:
Parameter Type Default Description
ServerAddress String 0.0.0.0 IP Address that represents the local IP address
ServerPort Integer 2801 The port on which to listen for incoming connection
SecurePassword SecureString None SecureString object containing password used to authenticate remote viewer (Recommended)
Password String None Plain-Text Password used to authenticate remote viewer (Not recommended, use SecurePassword instead)
DisableVerbosity Switch False If present, program wont show verbosity messages
UseTLSv1_3 Switch False If present, TLS v1.3 will be used instead of TLS v1.2 (Recommended if applicable to both systems)
Clipboard Enum Both Define clipboard synchronization mode (Both, Disabled, Send, Receive) see bellow for more detail
CertificateFile String None A file containing valid certificate information (x509), must include the private key
EncodedCertificate String None A base64 representation of the whole certificate file, must include the private key
ViewOnly Switch False If present, remote viewer is only allowed to view the desktop (Mouse and Keyboard are not authorized)
PreventComputerToSleep Switch False If present, this option will prevent computer to enter in sleep mode while server is active and waiting for new connections.
CertificatePassword SecureString None Specify the password used to open a password-protected x509 Certificate provided by user.
Server Address Examples
Value Description
127.0.0.1 Only listen for localhost connection (most likely for debugging purpose)
0.0.0.0 Listen on all network interfaces (Local, LAN, WAN)
Clipboard Mode Enum Properties
Value Description
Disabled Clipboard synchronization is disabled in both side
Receive Only incomming clipboard is allowed
Send Only outgoing clipboard is allowed
Both Clipboard synchronization is allowed on both side
⚠️ Important Notices
  1. Prefer using SecurePassword over plain-text password even if a plain-text password is getting converted to SecureString anyway.
  2. Not specifying a custom certificate using CertificateFile or EncodedCertificate result in generating a default self-signed certificate (if not already generated) that will get installed on local machine thus requiring administrator privilege. If you want to run the server as a non-privileged account, specify your own certificate location.
  3. If you don't specify a SecurePassword or Password, a random complex password will be generated and displayed on terminal (this password is temporary).
Examples
Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer -ListenAddress "0.0.0.0" -ListenPort 2801 -SecurePassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -String "urCompl3xP@ssw0rd" -AsPlainText -Force)

Invoke-RemoteDesktopServer -ListenAddress "0.0.0.0" -ListenPort 2801 -SecurePassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -String "urCompl3xP@ssw0rd" -AsPlainText -Force) -CertificateFile "c:\certs\phrozen.p12"

How to capture LogonUI

Since version 4.0.0, it is possible to capture LogonUI / Winlogon (UAC Prompt, Windows Login Window, CTRL+ALT+DEL etc...).

⚠️ To be able to capture LogonUI, you must run your server under the context of NT AUTHORITY/System in the current active session.

Multiple methods exists to spawn a process as SYSTEM User under active session (Ex: PsExec, Process Hacker)

For simplicity I recommend using one of my other projects called PowerRunAsSystem

You can install this module using your favorite method, for example with PowerShell Gallery

Install-Module -Name PowerRunAsSystem

Then run bellow command as Administrator.

Invoke-InteractiveSystemPowerShell

A new PowerShell terminal should appear on your desktop as NT AUTHORITY/System

You can now enter your Power Remote Desktop server command, future Power Remote Desktop viewer will now be able to use the option LogonUI to request LogonUI / Winlogon desktop on active session.

Generate and pass your own X509 Certificate

⚠️ Remember that not using your own X509 certificate will result in requiring administrator privilege to create a new server.

Fortunately, you can easily create your own X509 certificate for example with the help of OpenSSL command line tool.

Generate your Certificate
openssl req -x509 -sha512 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout phrozen.key -out phrozen.crt

Then export the new certificate (must include private key).

openssl pkcs12 -export -out phrozen.p12 -inkey phrozen.key -in phrozen.crt
Integrate to server as a file

Use CertificateFile. Example: c:\tlscert\phrozen.crt

Integrate to server as a base64 representation

Encode an existing certificate using PowerShell

[convert]::ToBase64String((Get-Content -path "c:\tlscert\phrozen.crt" -Encoding byte))

or on Linux / Mac systems

base64 -i /tmp/phrozen.p12

You can then pass the output base64 certificate file to parameter EncodedCertificate (One line)

Changelog

11 January 2022 (1.0.1 Beta 2)

  • Desktop images are now transported in raw bytes instead of base64 string thus slightly improving performances.
  • Protocol has drastically changed. It is smoother to read and less prone to errors.
  • TLS v1.3 option added (Might not be supported by some systems).
  • Several code optimization, refactoring and fixes.
  • Password complexity check implemented to avoid lazy passwords.
  • Possibility to disable verbose.
  • Server & Viewer version synchronization. Same version must be used between the two.

12 January 2022 (1.0.2 Beta 3)

  • HDPI is completely supported.

12 January 2022 (1.0.3 Beta 4)

  • Possibility to change desktop image quality.
  • Possibility to choose which screen to capture if multiple screens (Monitors) are present on remote machine.

Multi Screen Selection

Multi Screen Example

14 January 2022 (1.0.4 Beta 5)

  • Password is stored as SecureString on Viewer. I don't see the point of implementing SecureString sever-side, if you do see the point, please change my mind.
  • Server Fingerprint Validation.
  • Possibility to trust a server for current PowerShell Instance or persistantly using a local storage.
  • Possibility to manage trusted servers (List, Remove, Remove All)

Fingerprint Validation

Server Fingerprint Validation

18 January 2022 (1.0.5 Beta 6)

  • Multiple code improvements to support incoming / outgoing events.
  • Global cursor state synchronization implemented (Now virtual desktop mouse cursor is the same as remote server).
  • Password Generator algorithm fixed.
  • Virtual keyboard ] and ) correctly sent and interpreted.
  • Clipboard synchronization Viewer <-> Server added.
  • Server support a new option to only show desktop (Mouse moves, clicks, wheel and keyboard control is disabled in this mode).

21 January 2022 (1.0.6)

  • TransportMode option removed.
  • Desktop streaming performance / speed increased.

28 January 2022 (2.0.0)

  • Protocol was completely revisited, protocol is now more stable and modular.
  • Session concurrency is now supported, multiple viewers can connect at the same time to a server.
  • Possibility to stop the server using CTRL+C
  • Image quality is now requested by viewer.
  • Desktop resize is now made server-side.
  • Desktop resize can now be forced and requested by viewer.
  • Center virtual desktop glitch fixed.
  • Handshake calls (auth + session / worker negociation) will now timeout to avoid possible dead locks.
  • Virtual Desktop Form can now be set always on top of other forms.
  • Server finally use secure string to handle password-authentication.

9 February 2022 (3.0.0)

  • Prevent computer to sleep in server side.
  • Motion Update now supported in its very first version to increase desktop streaming speed.
  • Mouse move works as expected in certain circumstances.
  • Keyboard simulation improved.
  • Various Optimization and fixes.

10 February 2022 (3.1.0)

  • Code refactoring and improvement.
  • Desktop streaming improvement to gain few more FPS.
  • Support password-protected external x509 Certificates.

10 March 2022 (4.0.0)

  • Huge desktop streaming optimization, FPS rate increased by 65% (even more if tuning BlockSize)
  • Desktop resize is now made viewer-side and automatically to simplify the code and efficiency.
  • FastResize option is not required anymore.
  • Various code optimization / fix.
  • WIN Keyboard Key supported.
  • Virtual Desktop window opens above the terminal.
  • Server now support LogonUI / Winlogon (Beta)

List of ideas and TODO

  • 🟢 Mutual Authentication for SSL/TLS (Client Certificate)
  • 🟠 Interrupt sessions when local resolution has changed.
  • 🔴 LogonUI Support.

🟢 = Easy 🟠 = Medium 🔴 = Hard

Disclaimer

We are doing our best to prepare the content of this app. However, PHROZEN SASU and / or Jean-Pierre LESUEUR cannot warranty the expressions and suggestions of the contents, as well as its accuracy. In addition, to the extent permitted by the law, PHROZEN SASU and / or Jean-Pierre LESUEUR shall not be responsible for any losses and/or damages due to the usage of the information on our app.

By using our app, you hereby consent to our disclaimer and agree to its terms.

Any links contained in our app may lead to external sites are provided for convenience only. Any information or statements that appeared in these sites or app are not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise approved by PHROZEN SASU and / or Jean-Pierre LESUEUR. For these external sites, PHROZEN SASU and / or Jean-Pierre LESUEUR cannot be held liable for the availability of, or the content located on or through it. Plus, any losses or damages occurred from using these contents or the internet generally.


Made with ❤️ in 🇫🇷