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March 29, 2020

Remote Desktop App Worth Checking Out


I’ve been a huge fan and everyday user of the built-in Win10 Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) for years and years. Recently, in reading about a UWP alternative named Microsoft Remote Desktop (MSRD), my initial reaction was “Ho hum. Who cares?” I do, as it turns out. And should you try it out, you may find that you care, too. As far as I can tell, MSRD does almost exactly the same things that RDC does, but in a more visual and intuitive way. There’s a summary Remote Desktop window (appears as the lead-in graphic for this story) that shows you all the desktops you have defined and (potentially) available to you. Desktops with open connections show up with a thumbnail version of what’s on the remote desktop; closed desktops simply show a white terminal icon against a medium-gray background.

Remote Desktop App Worth Checking Out.ms-store

If you follow the MS Store link in the preceding paragraph, this is what you’ll see. Grab the app using the “Get” button.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Working with MSRD

As with most UWP apps, download is quick, install is easy, and typing “remote” into the Start menu will get you where you need to go in a flash. Warning! Pick the start menu item that reads Remote Desktop (App), not the item that reads Remote Desktop Connection. Otherwise, you’ll wind up running the old-fashioned RDC application instead of the new-fangled MSRD app. Subtle? Perhaps not. But still needs watching out for anyway.

To see the new app at work, it’s important to make the right Start menu selection.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

From there on out, a little exploration and play will set you straight. That goes double if you, like me, are already an old hand at working with the Remote Desktop Connection application. Maybe there is something to this gradual switchover from applications to apps? I’ve really started to like this particular app alternative, anyway. Give it a try, and see what YOU think.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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