Coinciding with its release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft has released new versions of its Remote Desktop Client (RDC) for Android, iOS andMac. This is the first major upgrade to RDC for Mac since version 2.0 was released in June 2008 and last updated in May 2011 and the first releases for Android and iOS.
RDC 8.0 for Mac includes some long awaited features including support for Mac OS X 10.7 and later. While RDC 2.1.1 for Mac would run on Lion and Mountain Lion, Microsoft wouldn’t support it and the software was prone to crashing. RDC 8.0 officially supports Mac OS X 10.6.8 and later and connecting to Windows Server 2000 and higher systems including professional versions of Windows XP and higher.
Additional new features include:
- Support for Remote Desktop Gateway
- Support for Windows gestures
- Bookmarks for remote connections with the ability to duplicate a bookmark
- Export and import of bookmarks
- Support for practically unlimited screen resolutions
- Support for redirecting multiple local folders to the remote host
- Built-in option to connect to remote console sessions
- Support for Mac OS X Full Screen
- Keyboard shortcuts for scaling, full screen, editing bookmarks and starting sessions
Much of the new and newly updated RDC product line comes from Microsoft’s acquisition of intellectual property assets from Austrian company HLW Software Development with more than 1 million downloads of its products on Android and Apple platforms. According to Brad Anderson with the In The Cloud blog on Microsoft TechNext, these are “not v1 apps” but rather mature products that now fall under the Microsoft brand name.
Create a new connection
RDC 2.0 for Mac had a very simple interface, requiring only an IP address to make a basic connection. Maintaining multiple connections required saving each as a double-clickable file in the Finder. RDC 8.0 changes this behavior by presenting a main window with a bookmark list.
To create a new bookmark:
- Launch Microsoft Remote Desktop and click the New button.
- Under the General tab enter the connection details for the remote server or workstation. Note that RDC 8.0 now supports connections via Microsoft Remote Desktop Gateway servers, a new feature.
- Under the Sessions tab choose sound output options and whether to connect to a Console session (the same session logged in while sitting in front of the computer). Choosing to forward printing devices makes the Mac’s printers available from the Windows session and swapping mouse buttons is useful for left-handed users.
- Add one or more folders under the Redirection tab by clicking the + button (plus) and choosing a top level, user level or any other folder on the Mac. This enables the remote Windows system to copy files to or from the Mac when connected.
- Close the Edit Remote Desktop window when done and the new connection appears in the bookmarks list. Drag one or more bookmarks up or down to rearrange bookmarks.
- When ready to connect to the remote Windows server or workstation just double-click the bookmark in the list.
Export and import bookmarks
RDC 8.0 supports transferring connection settings via .rdp files to share with other computers or other users. The .rdp files contain most but not all information such as the connection password and settings specific to the Mac user account. These files not only work on other Macs but also work with RDC for Windows. And .rdp files saved by RDC for Windows work with RDC for Mac.
To export bookmarks:
- Select one or more bookmarks in the Microsoft Remote Desktop main window and select File menu > Export. Optionally, right-click or Control-click the selected bookmarks and choose Export.
- Select a location to save the file. By default new .rdp files save to the Desktop folder. Click the Browse button to change folders. Click the OK button when done.
To import bookmarks:
- In the Microsoft Remote Desktop application choose File menu > Import. Select the .rdp file and click the Open button.
- The new bookmark appears in the main window. Note the name itself doesn’t import and the new bookmark is only identifiable by its IP address. A future update may address this behavior.