Introducing the Remote Desktop Windows Store App

Introducing the Remote Desktop Windows Store App

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Hi everyone,

I’m Rishad Madhura Kuzhiyil, a lead software developer on the Remote Desktop Virtualization (RDV) team. Our team is responsible for developing Microsoft RemoteFX in the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 release.

In this blog, I will introduce the new Remote Desktop app that’s available in the Windows Store.

This app offers a rich, touch-friendly user interface (UI) that will help you conveniently access your remote PCs from anywhere. Accessing your RemoteApp and Desktop Connections resources is very easy when using this app. In addition to the Remote Desktop app, the Remote Desktop Connection client, which has been available in Windows for many prior releases, has also been significantly enhanced for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 with powerful new features.

As an underlying design principle, we optimized the Remote Desktop app for tablet devices. We have kept the UI simple to use, intuitive, and touch-friendly. The number of interactions required to make a connection were kept to a minimum, and many enhancements were made to keep the connection customization natural. We have also followed the new Windows UI design principles to conserve system resources and thus enhance the battery life. Another important goal for us was to enable seamless access from a single app to your remote PCs and published corporate resources.

What do you get with the Remote Desktop app?

With the new Remote Desktop app, you can:

  • Organize all your remote connections in one central location with the most recent connections and published resources displayed as touch-friendly tiles.
  • Customize settings for all remote connections at once or individually by using the new Edit feature.
  • Connect to multiple remote desktops at the same time and keep an eye on your sessions while you multi-task with the Windows 8 Snap feature.
  • Easily interact with applications in your remote session by using the Touch Keyboard, Touch Pointer, and Zoom features.
  • Automatically detect and optimize your connection quality with RemoteFX for WAN transport enhancements.
  • Access corporate resources published via RemoteApp and Desktop Connections with your corporate email address.
  • Enjoy a fast and fluid experience in your remote session by using RemoteFX technologies, including RemoteFX Multi-Touch, RemoteFX Media Streaming, Remote Desktop Easy Print, and more.

I will discuss some of these features in this post to get you started. Following this post will be a series of blog posts that will go through the details of many new features included in this app.

How do you get the Remote Desktop app?

You will find the Remote Desktop app under the Productivity section of the Windows Store. Alternatively, you can use the Search charm of the Store to locate the app. By selecting the app’s tile in the Store, you
will see the following listing page.

image

Listing page for the Remote Desktop app in the Windows Store

On this page, tap or click Install. After the installation has completed successfully, the Remote Desktop app tile will appear on the Start screen.

image

Remote Desktop app tile

What is the launch experience?

Launch the Remote Desktop app by tapping or clicking the app’s tile on the Start screen. If you have not made any prior remote connections with this app, you will be presented with the first-run page. 

image

App's first-run page


On this page you can quickly customize a few important settings:

  • Access RemoteApp and Desktop Connections: This setting will help you to quickly subscribe to the desktops and applications published by your administrator (by using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections). You will need to supply your corporate email address or a URL provided by your administrator. When the subscription process has completed, your RemoteApp programs and desktops will appear on the Home page of this app and also on the Start screen.
  • Use a Remote Desktop Gateway server: This setting is important if you want to connect to your PCs in a corporate network. This is most useful when you do not have a VPN set up on your tablet device and you frequently roam between different networks.

You can also customize the above configurations by using the Settings charm of the app. More details about this will be described in later blog posts.

If you have already made a prior connection to at least one remote PC or you have subscribed to some published corporate apps and desktops, you will no longer see the first-run page. Instead the following Home page will be presented to you whenever you launch the app.

image

Home page of Remote Desktop app

How do you connect to a new PC?

To make a new connection to a remote PC, go to the Home page and enter the name of the PC you wish to connect to in the PC name field.

If you have previously connected to this remote PC, you can simply tap or click the PC’s tile from the Home page.

Either of the above actions will initiate the connection process, and you will be presented with the progress status for the connection. After all of the steps in the connection sequence have completed, you will be connected to the remote PC.

If you had an active connection to this remote PC, the above actions will simply switch you back to your active session.

How do you interact with the remote PC?

After you’re connected, all of your input actions will be directed to the remote PC (including keyboard, mouse, and touch) with one exception: touch and mouse interaction that occurs at the edge of the screen will always go to the local computer.

The Remote Desktop app has app commands that will let you invoke charms, app commands, and more on the
remote PC. Details on this topic will be covered in future blog posts.

image

Session view: Connected to a remote PC

The overlay at the top of the screen indicates the name of the server that you are currently connected to. This overlay also acts as a command button to bring up the app commands. You can also bring up the app

commands by swiping in from the top or bottom of the screen.

image

Session view with app commands

Selecting the Home command will take you to the app’s Home page. From the Home page you can start a connection to another PC or return to an already connected PC.

Summary

In summary, the Remote Desktop app offers a fresh approach for accessing your remote PCs and RemoteApp programs. Please install this free Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store and try out the new experience today. With its rich features and touch-friendly UI, we hope you will have a pleasant RemoteFX experience.

NOTE: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the RDS & TS forum at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverTS/threads. Thank you!

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  • So how do you install this app if your systems are behind firewalls that prevent access to the internet? Is it possible to download it on an external system and then install it locally?

  • Hi Rishad,

    This looks great, and I'm sure will suit many business scenarios/infrastructures. We, however, use Micorsoft UAG as our Remote Access portal. Is there away to leverage this and expose the connections/Remote Apps through to the end users using this remote desktop app, but maintain the various policy control that UAG allows (e.g. hide/grey-out certain connections/applications if their machine doesn't meet the required policy compliance).

    How would this work?

    Chris

  • Hi, this is an excellent addition, and we're using it already, however, we have a snag:

    How do we pin remoteapps to the taskbar? The only option when we right click is “Close”

    I've read all over that this was a new feature.

    Thanks

  • Hi SamYeager,

    Its not possible to download elsewhere and install it locally on your system. You need to have internet access to download and install the app from the Windows store.

    -Divya

  • I been trying for some time to use this over a VPN connection but cannot get it to work.  I support multiple servers remotely over a single VPN connection.  When I VPN in, I can use the standard RDP client fine, but if I try to use this app and type in the IP address of a remote computer (that works over normal RDP) and click connect, I get an immediate failure with the message "Can't connect to the remote PC".  It doesn't appear to attempt a connection.

    Has anybody else experienced this or know if there is a fix/workaround?

    Regards

    Ant

  • I don't see the Store app in Windows Server 2012 Standard x64.  Is it an add-on?  Is it disabled by default?

  • Hi Michael,

    That's correct, the Windows Store app isn't installed by default in Windows Server 2012. You have to enable the Desktop Experience feature to install it.

    Regards

    Daniel

  • Is there a way to connect to the console/admin session with this product?

  • Where and how can we install this software to my android 4.0 tablet to control my pc?

  • I am using a touchscreen tablet and have setup the remote connection. No problems. However, when I am logged in to the remote PC, I can not access the programs because they require user name/password entry and my virtual keyboard is not available. How can I turn on the virtual keyboard?

  • @Mark Open up the charms side bar, go to settings, then open up the touch keyboard.

  • I use this application to get onto my work pc from home. What you need is a portal to get to your work network. My company uses Juno Pulse which allows me to connect to our network (from my Windows 8 desktop). I then use the RDP windows 8 app. It first ask me for the name of the computer I want to connect to. Then is prompts me to enter my active directory username and password.

  • This app is available at the Windows store and for Windows 8 or Windows RT only. For android devices you need to go to the Play store and download their Remote Desktop application.

  • Hello,

    I am unclear how to connect to a remote pc on a home network. I can do this when on the same network, but cant configure it when away from home, and it (obviously) doesn't recognise the pc name when I'm logged in on a different WiFi.  How do I contact a home network remotely?

  • hi,

    I just want to enable remote desktop on my win8 Machine. I want to access that win8 machine over network which is non win8 machine. This RDP client will enable me to make any remote desktop connection. I need reverse. Any idea, Please help.

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