From Mac Mojo Guest Blogger David Liu of the MacBU RDC team

 

Greetings from the MacBU RDC team! My name is David Liu and I am the program manager for Mac RDC 2.0. I am very excited to announce the availability of the public beta2 version of Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) Client for Mac 2.0. You can download it today from Mactopia.

 

Thanks to the valuable feedback many of you submitted during RDC beta1 testing at the RDC MS Connect site and here at Mac Mojo, we were able to address some important issues in this beta2 release. For instance, the support for multiple sessions is now much improved. Many beta1 users told us they liked the ability to launch more than one RDC sessions, but wanted more convenient access to this feature. You have it now. In beta2 under File menu, File->New command allows you to start a new Remote Desktop connection directly from the RDC application; File->Open and File->Open Recent commands allow you to open a saved connection file and start a new connection without digging through your folders in Finder. You can still open a connection file without triggering a new session by using File->Edit… command. In the new design, you will never need to leave RDC to launch a new connection session. A less apparent, but nevertheless important benefit is that RDC 2.0 now manages multiple connection settings in connection files as atomic units. When you select a computer name from the dropdown list on RDC 2.0 Connect window, RDC automatically switches the preference settings that matches the computer name, as defined by the corresponding connection file. There are no more global settings that apply to all Windows computers on that list. Because it is now more important to preserve the settings for a particular connection in a connection file, RDC 2.0 will prompt you to save any changes on exit. Of course, on the other hand you may wish to provide a set of defaults that apply to all new connections you create. RDC 2.0 allows you to directly edit Default.rdp file to do that. You can find Default.rdp and other saved connection files in your Documents/RDC Connections folder. I think the tighter association of computer names and their specific settings provide a more natural mental model of use.

 

There is another major new feature in this release that I am also very excited about: Vista Network Level Authentication support. Network Level Authentication (NLA) is a new authentication method available in Windows Vista that completes user authentication before you establish a full Remote Desktop connection and the logon screen appears. NLA provides more secure authentication but required massive code changes in the Mac RDC 2.0 client to support it. As Windows Vista gains a larger install base, and users and sysadmins are becoming more concerned with safeguarding their computers and data, more and more Vista machines will turn on the NLA requirement and refuse connections from legacy clients. We added NLA support in RDC 2.0 so that your Macs can still connect to your PCs in the years to come. I would like to encourage you to try it out leave us your feedback at the RDC MS Connect site.

 

There are more improvements in this beta2 release. Read the Read Me file that comes with the RDC bundle to find out more. You can also find up-to-date information about beta2 at the RDC MS Connect site. As usual, we want to hear from you. Send us your feedback here. My team and myself will be reading!

 

We hope that you enjoy RDC beta2!

David