Last month, the Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 client was released.  It has some nice new features in it, which I've listed below.  Being able to log into a machine on a private network without having to use a VPN sounds really cool (TS Gateway servers), but I haven't been able to try that out.  I found an internal page where folks could sign up for access, but unfortunately the list was full.  Being able to span multiple monitors (mstsc /span) is really nice too.

The change that I like the most right now, though, is a really simple one.  It now uses the same credentials dialog that you see in IE and elsewhere in Windows that lets you save and managed your credentials.  It's a small change, but I've found it really handy.

Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 client

Monitor spanning

Remote Desktop Connection supports high-resolution displays that can be spanned across multiple monitors. However, the total resolution on all monitors must be under 4096 x 2048 pixels. The monitors must have the same resolution. Additionally, the monitors must be aligned side-by-side.

To have the desktop of the remote computer span multiple monitors, type Mstsc /span at a command prompt.

Visual improvements

Remote Desktop Connection now supports 32-bit color and font smoothing.

TS Gateway servers

A TS Gateway server is a type of gateway that enables authorized users to connect to remote computers on a corporate network. These authorized users can connect from any computer by using an Internet connection. TS Gateway uses the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) together with the HTTPS protocol to help create a more secure, encrypted connection.

However, earlier versions of Remote Desktop Connection cannot connect to remote computers across firewalls and network address translators. This behavior occurs because port 3389 is typically blocked to enhance network security. Port 3389 is the port that is used for Remote Desktop connections. However, a TS Gateway server uses port 443. Port 443 transmits data through a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) tunnel.

The advantages of a TS Gateway server are as follows:

  • It enables Remote Desktop connections to a corporate network from the Internet without setting up a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
  • It enables connections to remote computers across firewalls.
  • It helps you share a network connection with other programs that are running on the computer. This enables you to use the Internet service provider (ISP) connection instead of the corporate network to send and receive data over the remote connection.
Network Level Authentication
Network Level Authentication is a new authentication method that finishes user authentication before you establish a full Remote Desktop Connection and the logon screen appears.
The advantages of Network Level Authentication are as follows:
  • It requires fewer remote computer resources at first because remote computer uses a limited number of resources before it authenticates the user. In earlier versions, the remote computer starts a full Remote Desktop Connection.
  • It can help provide better security by reducing the risk of denial of service attacks (a denial of service attack attempts to limit or prevent access to the Internet).
  • It uses remote computer authentication. This helps protect users from connecting to remote computers that are set up for malicious purposes.

Server authentication

In Remote Desktop Connection, server authentication verifies that you are connecting to the correct remote computer or server. This security measure helps prevent you from connecting to a different computer or server than you intend to connect to. This also prevents you from unintentionally exposing confidential information.

Resource redirection

The Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 client update helps you redirect Plug and Play devices that support redirection.

Terminal Services Remote Programs

Remote Programs are a feature of Windows Server Terminal Services that lets client computers connect to a remote computer and use programs that are installed on it. For example, a workplace may have a remote computer to which employees can connect and run Microsoft Word. An administrator must first publish the programs for end-users to access them. The experience is the same as running a program that is installed on the computer.

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