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RDP: An internal error has occurred

Problem overview

One of my colleagues hit me up about an issue they were seeing when trying to RDP into a DC. The error from RDP was “An internal error has occurred”. Totally useful right :-).

We could console in so that was a slight sigh of relief.

Other symptoms

When I consoled into the system and look at the event logs, the following event entry was created after each RDP attempt.

Log Name:      System
Source:        Schannel
Date:          5/11/2020 12:11:39 PM
Event ID:      36870
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      
User:          SYSTEM
Computer:      Blah
Description:
A fatal error occurred when attempting to access the SSL server credential private key. The error code returned from the cryptographic module is 0x8009030D. The internal error state is 10001.

The solution

Googling didn’t return a lot, honestly there were so many random answers to each of these event logs. Some blaming GPO, some totally unrelated to RDP.

Deleting the cert

I suspected some sort of certificate issue, so I went ahead and started my research on how to whack the remote desktop cert. That’s what lead me to this article.

Rename

Of course, after deleting the cert, I was lucky enough NOT to have cert recreated when restarting RDP.

New error in the system event log was:

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-RemoteConnectionManager
Date:          5/11/2020 1:17:46 PM
Event ID:      1057
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      Blah
Description:
The RD Session Host Server has failed to create a new self signed certificate to be used for RD Session Host Server authentication on SSL connections. The relevant status code was Object already exists.

Off to Google again, since this seem to have been a well-known error, the solution laid out here, was the final solution.

I don’t want to take traffic away from this person, so follow the link to them for the solution. I only needed to perform the rename action in that article. After that, things started back up and were fine.