10.3 Using Remote Desktop

One of the tools shipped with Windows XP Professional is Remote Desktop. Remote Desktop allows you to connect to a remote computer (see Figure 10-15) as if you were sitting right in front of it. This is useful in situations where you need to access the network resource in your office while you are on the road (in which case Remote Desktop should be used through a VPN; see Section 4.2 in Chapter 4).

Figure 10-15. How Remote Desktop works

Remote Desktop uses the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), the same protocol used by Terminal Server (also known as Terminal Services in Windows 2000). Remote Desktop works on low-bandwidth connections, since it transmits only keystrokes and mouse events to the host, which then sends back screen information for the client to display.

Remote Desktop is only available in Windows XP Professional. It is not included in Windows XP Home Edition.

10.3.1 Setting Up Remote Desktop

To allow remote users to connect to your computer:

  1. Click Start Settings Control Panel System and select the Remote tab (see Figure 10-16).

Figure 10-16. Allowing remote access to the computer

If your machine is located behind a firewall, you need to open up port 3389. See Section 5.4.12 in Chapter 5.

  1. Turn on the "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer" checkbox.

Remote Desktop Clients for Other Operating Systems

You can download Remote Desktop clients for operating systems other than Windows XP at the Microsoft web site, at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/rdclientdl.asp.

This download installs the remote desktop client for Windows 95, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows ME, Windows NT 4, or Windows 2000.

If you are using Mac OS X, you can download the Remote Desktop Client (RDC) from http://www.microsoft.com/mac/DOWNLOAD/MISC/RDC.asp. Figure 10-19 shows the RDC connected to Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

For Unix users, you can download rdesktop, an open source client for Windows NT Terminal Server and Windows 2000 Terminal Services, from http://www.rdesktop.org.

  1. By default, administrators are given access. Click on the Select Remote Users... button to give access rights to other nonadministrator users (see Figure 10-17).

Figure 10-17. Giving access rights to users

10.3.2 Using Remote Desktop

To use Remote Desktop to connect to the remote host:

  1. Go to Start Programs Accessories Communications Remote Desktop Connection (see Figure 10-18).

Figure 10-18. Using the Remote Desktop to log in to another XP computer
  1. Enter the IP address of the remote host and enter the username, password, and domain name (if required). You can click on the various tabs (Display, Local Resources, Programs, and Experience) to customize the options available (such as screen size, audio output, etc.).

  2. You can now view the remote display either in a window or full screen.

Figure 10-19. Using RDC (on a Mac) to connect to Windows 2000 Advanced Server

Using Remote Desktop, you can:

  • Enable the local filesystem to be made available to the remote host.

  • Redirect print jobs from the remote host to the local printer.

  • Allow local serial and parallel ports to be accessed by the applications running on the remote host.

  • Share the clipboard between the local and remote host.