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Remote Desktop configuration

Some important options for Windows Remote Desktop connections.

by Office Watch

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Here’s a quick tour of some Remote Desktop options available when you click the Options button on bottom left of the opening dialog:

Remote Desktop - link to Options dialog image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

General

For the faster start of a remote connection, click ‘Allow me to save credentials’ and type a user name into the box. You’ll be prompted for the remote computer password during the next connection.

Remote Desktop - full client option - General image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

Click on Save … the computer name, user name and password, plus other settings detailed below are all saved in a RDP file.

When you next choose that computer, you have the choice to edit or delete the login credentials or just choose Connect to login.

Remote Desktop - login with saved credentials image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

Tip: put Remote Desktop on your Start menu and the saved, recently used connections should appear in the fly-out menu (just the same as recently used documents in Word).

Display

This is where you control the size of the display on the remote computer and therefore the amount of space it takes on the main computer screen. This is a setting you might tinker with before finding a size that works for you.

Remote Desktop - Display tab image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

A higher resolution and color depth takes up more network bandwidth. On a local network connection, 32-bit color should work OK.

You can make the remote computer take up the entire screen on the main computer. To return to the main computer click a button the connection bar that appears at the top of the screen.

Local Resources

Sound

When a sound is played on the remote computer, Remote Desktop gives you three choices

  • Play on the controlling computer
  • Don’t play at all
  • Play on remote computer

Remote Desktop - Local Resources - Sound image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

Which option you choose is up to you. Sometimes we play music from iTunes or Windows Media Player and let it play on the remote computer because both machines are in the same room and the remote computer has better speakers! Other times the remote computer is in another room so we get the sound to play on the main computer.

Keyboard

When you type a special Windows key shortcut like Alt+Tab, Windows needs to know whether you mean that command to apply to the main computer or the remote one.

Remote Desktop - Local Resources image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

By default, Windows key combos apply to the main computer except when you have the remote computer in full screen mode.

Local devices and resources

When you do a Print command on the remote computer it will normally print from a device connected to that computer. If you click on the ‘Printers’ choice, the printer/s on the main computer will be available to the remote machine.

With ‘Clipboard’ checked (the default) the remote and main computers share the same clipboard for cut/paste. This is very useful and highly recommended to leave on.

Most people don’t need to bother with the Programs tab.

Experience

There are predefined settings to change the display settings depending on the speed of the network connection. The full speed LAN setting turns on all the options listed.

Remote Desktop - Experience image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

We sometimes switch to ‘Low-speed broadband’ which turns off the fancier display choices (like showing windows while dragging) but still gives a good display. ‘Persistent bitmap caching’ should always be left on.

Make sure ‘Reconnect if the connection is dropped’ is always on. This lets Remote Desktop recover seamlessly from a short network break.

Advanced

Buried under Advanced is an important setting. For individual users there will be no server authentication (that’s for large corporate networks) but the default is to warn you every time.

Remote Desktop - Advanced image from Remote Desktop configuration at Office-Watch.com

Change the setting to “Connect and don’t warn me” to bypass the unnecessary dialog.

‘Connect from anywhere’ applies to people connecting to remote computers in an organization. Individual users can ignore this.

Article posted: Tuesday, 07 February 2012

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