Key sequence tasks were introduced years ago in Royal TS V2 and since then, many of our users have been heavily relying on these tasks to automate their daily work.

In Royal TS V7 for Windows, we have completely rewritten the implementation to further improve the existing key sequence tasks features while also adding some new features in the process.

Execution Modes

Before we dive into the good stuff, here is a quick summary:

Key sequence tasks have two Execution Modes:

  • Keyboard Input Simulation, which simulates actual keyboard input. This mode works with almost all connection types but requires the user to keep the input focus on the session during task execution.
  • Direct Mode, which sends characters directly to the remote session, even if the input focus is somewhere else. Please note that this mode only works when we have tight control or deep integration; an example being the Rebex-based terminal connection.

Direct Mode for PuTTY

The most important improvement is that you can now use "Direct Mode" for key sequences in PuTTY-based terminal connections. In the past, the "Direct Mode" was only supported in Rebex-based terminal connections and if you executed a direct mode task in PuTTY, Royal TS automatically switched back to keyboard simulation.

In Royal TS V7, each embedded PuTTY window will receive the characters, regardless if it has input focus or not. As a result of this, Royal TS no longer needs to wait for the key sequence to finish in one connection before moving on to the next one. The key sequences are still started one after the other but since there's no wait time, they can all be completed in parallel. Needless to say that this will lead to a huge productivity boost!

Limited Support for External Applications

Why "limited"? What does that mean?

Our traditional "Keyboard Input Simulation" in Royal TS uses special Windows APIs similar to what the on-screen keyboard uses. Unfortunately, these APIs do not support "targeted" keyboard simulation. It literally simulates any keyboard entry as if a user were typing on the keyboard, hence the input focus is important in such cases.

Our new implementation can now also use a different API to send characters to specific "targeted" windows; depending on how the external applications handle these API calls, it will work or not. There are still many applications where this method does not work and unfortunately, we cannot detect if this is the case so there is very little we can do about it. In such cases, you will have to switch to "Keyboard Input Simulation" mode again to make it work.
The good news, processes like cmd.exe or pwsh.exe do work (at least at the time of this writing).

Other Improvements

There was a recent change in Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022 which caused key sequences to fail in some scenarios. Certain windows just wouldn't accept the keyboard input from the key sequence task. With the new implementation, these should now work again.

Another scenario where sending keyboard input could fail was when sending it to an HTML canvas of a Chromium-based web page connection. Remote web consoles in VMware are prime examples of this. According to our tests, we believe that most of them should now work.


"Keyboard Input Simulation" and sending keyboard events to specific application windows is quite complex and depending on the application, it may or may not work. Depending on the scenario, you might also see issues related to the keyboard layout. If, for example, the host machine where Royal TS is running has a different keyboard layout than the "receiver" (window with a remote session), you may see the wrong characters being transferred. In this case, please make sure the keyboard layouts match.

Last but not least, there is one more limitation of the "Direct Mode": since it sends characters instead of keyboard events, keyboard shortcuts or key combinations cannot be sent to the remote session. For example, automating the "File->Open" command, you need keyboard tokens like {HOLD:ALT}F{RELEASE:ALT}O. Please note that this is only possible when using "Keyboard Input Simulation".

Availability / Download

As of this writing, Royal TS V7 is still in beta and can be downloaded here.
Should you have questions or issues, let us know and open a support ticket.
Also, send us a tweet if you like the new improvements in Royal TS.

Feedback is always welcome!

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