How do I start a working role using Remote Desktop with Windows Azure?

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I now have my Windows Azure environment set up so that I can access my Worker Role with Remote Desktop. However, I'm not sure how to proceed at the moment. After much digging I found a web site that was offline but in Google's cache there was mention of attaching to the Worker Role running in the Azure Cloud from the Visual Studio debugger. But I only have Visual Developer (not studio) 2010 and I have searched all over and as far as I can see there is no such option to attach to a remote server. I am able to publish my project to the Azure Cloud without error and I have a "healthy" instance of my Worker Role showing as active and running.

I did connect with RDP through the Azure Management portal. The login worked fine and up came the remote desktop window. I searched through much of what I could find and was unable to find my Worker Role. I must have the wrong impression of RDP, because I had hoped to see the Worker Role's main display form when I logged in, just like I do when I debug it locally in the Cloud Emulator. But instead all I saw was a blank desktop with some base level server inspection and management routines. I even checked the Event Viewer for Application related messages and saw none.

So now I'm stuck wondering if my Worker Role is actually running or not, despite the seemingly positive status messages from the Management Portal, and I still want to attach to my Worker Role for debugging through Visual Developer, if it's possible, but I am unable to figure out how.

Anyone with experience in this area that can give me some solid tips on what to do next, please respond.

UPDATE: I believe my worker role may be running because I opened a command window and did a Netstat and saw it listening on the correct port. However, that may just be my Worker Role shell class that starts the custom EXE I have it launch as a spawned proces. I still haven't confirmed if my custom EXE is running yet.

UPDATE-2: Just ran TaskList from a command window and the custom EXE is listed.

UPDATE-3: Everything is working as I just ran a remote test of the service so that's not a problem. Still want to know how to attach to the Worker Role from Visual Developer 2010 for remote debugging, and if it's possible to see the custom EXE's display form like I do when doing local debugging in the Cloud Emulator.

-- roschler


When you say:

But instead all I saw was a blank desktop with some base level server inspection and management routines.

this is exactly what you get with an Azure VM. It's a basic OS install, plus the bare minimum of Azure stuff it needs to run and the code you've uploaded. There's no fancy monitoring or health checks available on the machine by default, you're expected to have provided those yourself to have them available without having to RDP into the machine to check on it.

RDP is very good for tracking down certain problems, like checking that a startup task will run, checking which directories items are installed in and just generally being nosey. If you need extra tools to track down a problem, you can just install them while you're connected to the server. For example I have RDPed into a server and installed the Microsoft Debugging Tools, to track down a memory issue.