Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview V8.1.1 app for Windows Phone 8.1 available for download

Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview V8.1.1 app for Windows Phone 8.1 available for download

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My name is David Bélanger, and I’m a program manager on the Remote Desktop team working on Remote Desktop apps for the different Windows platforms. A month ago, we released the first version of the Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview app for Windows Phone 8.1 and it’s been exciting to see the enthusiasm for the app from all your comments. While we continue adding more functionality to bring this app in alignment with our apps on other platforms (Windows 8.1, iOS, Mac OS X, and Android), we’d love to hear about your feature requests or questions in the Remote Desktop clients forum.

Today, we are releasing the first update to the app, which contains some exciting new features. Download the Remote Desktop Preview app from the Windows Phone Store to your Windows Phone device running the Developer Preview of Windows Phone 8.1.

This blog highlights some of the new features available in version 8.1.1 of the app.

Pin desktop connections to the Start screen

Is there a desktop that you connect to regularly and would love to get to faster? Then pin it to your start screen for single click access to the remote PC. First start by doing a press and hold on the specific desktop and then choose the pin to start option.


Figure 1: Pin to start option for desktops

After the desktop has been pinned, it will now be available on your Start screen with the appropriate display name (friendly name or PC name). Simply tap the tile to launch a connection to that PC.


Figure 2: Pinned desktop on the Start screen

Word flow and predictive text

One of the great new features in Windows Phone 8.1 is Word Flow, which allows you to glide your finger over the letters of a word and the system will do the rest. It is now possible to use Word flow and predictive text to quickly type in the remote session.


Figure 3: Using Word flow to insert text in a session

To accommodate the taller keyboard, it’s now possible to show and hide the extended keyboard, which provides useful keys for interacting with a Windows session. Tap on the chevron on the left side of the extended keyboard and it will slide to the right, out of the way. Tapping on the chevron again will bring back the extended keyboard.


Figure 4: Hidden extended keyboard

Disable thumbnails

Whether it’s for privacy reasons or because you would like to see a more compact list of desktops, a new option under SETTINGS allows you to show or hide the desktop thumbnails.


Figure 5: Show/hide the thumbnails for the desktops

After this option has been unchecked, the desktops on the Connection Center will be shown in a list with no thumbnails. The same options are still available through press and hold. Note that the existing thumbnails are deleted from the phone, so enabling the thumbnails again will show the default thumbnail until the first connection.


Figure 6: Difference between show and hide thumbnails

Start background support

A new feature in Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to set a Start background image visible through the tiles of applications that support it. With this release, the Remote Desktop app now supports this feature.


Figure 7: Start background image showing through the Remote Desktop tile

Improved Touch and Mouse Pointer modes

Throughout this release, we’ve continued refining the Touch and Mouse Pointer input modes. On top of general improvements, the following updates have been made:

  • Added the ability to pan the screen while dragging an item by either moving your finger to the edges of the screen in Mouse Pointer mode or using a second finger to interact with the pan knob in Touch mode
  • Mouse Pointer mode now allows horizontal scrolling (2 fingers left-right) when connected to PCs running Windows 8.1. This is similar to the existing vertical scrolling (2 fingers up-down)
  • Zooming and scrolling in Mouse Pointer mode has also been improved for a smoother experience

Connection experience

Lastly, we’ve also updated the connection and disconnection experiences to provide a better and more familiar experience to long time users of Remote Desktop Connection. During the connection process, you will now see the different stages as the app establishes the session.


Figure 8: Connection stages displayed during the connection

When the phone has no network connection available and you try to connect to a remote PC, the app will now notify you much faster and allow you to first fix the network issue. The disconnection process is also smoother and will notify you that the session is being terminated.

Try it now

If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to download the app preview today from the Windows Phone store and enjoy the rich Windows experience on your Windows Phone 8.1 device. To upgrade your Windows Phone 8 device to Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview and get access to all the tools, start with the following Windows blog post.

Stay tuned for future updates as we work on adding VPN and Microsoft Azure RemoteApp support this summer and more enterprise-focused features including Remote Desktop Gateway, RD Connection Broker, and Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections) later this year.

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 Remote Desktop clients forum. Thank you!

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  • Good stuff! I hope to see integration with the Windows Server Essentials role!

  • Nice. Yay for menu option to pin frequently accessed link to start.

  • When will support for RDS 2012 be expected to be implemented? I am very much looking forward to RemoteApp functionality.

  • I also second the request for RemoteApp support.

  • I hope rdgateway and remoteapp will arrive soon ...

  • I have difficulty with remooving apps branded and locked by carrier, also in the same vain disabling hardware functionnality.   How do I disable and free resources of applications , that I do not require, from my precious limitted devices.

    I want to fax verifyable data, direct link as with a modem my PC's for archive access, and forget google, faceb**, aps in general with little or no value to me.  Am a gamer, 4oo kbps, fine, 1x analog fine, watching a disaster broadcast for emergency prepardness invaluable.  I DO NOT NEED FB, tweet, and do need like in this day and age water/sweat proof devices.  It rains in my life.  More is better, dictating what I should use unnacceptable.

    thank you for listenning Microsoft, tame the signal carriers!

  • There does not seem to be support for and RDS gateway which to me is required as most people will not be on the same network as the destination?

  • Doesn't work on XP. Anyone know why that is?

  • Of little use to me until RD Gateway is supported. Why recommend higher security by using RD Gateway and then not support it in an RDP client?

  • here is a legit question David. as some people mentioned below. Why would you not support gateway support on your own Windows Phone platform. in October 2013, you supported remote app and remote desktop gateway on Android and iOS. that blows my mind. that's like Apple writing a better version of iTunes for windows. (which it never has and never will). 13 months later, and there is no word on remote gateway support, or even remote app. I had to purchase an app to do this, an app that has been around for a while on Windows Phone that allows me to do what this app should be doing already. Pinheads.

  • Don't understand why the iOS app has more features than the WP app. We are considering which mobiles we buy for our employees and RDS access would be nice to have... But seems that WP is then no option currently...

  • Hi we are also evaluating windows phone as a replacement for an aging iphone deployment, but I am surprised this app exists without remoteapp and rd gateway support. This means we need to either look at 3rd party apps or replace with newer iPhone's or Andros handsets. Do we have an inclination of when these essential features are likely to be added?

  • Same goes for me. Monitoring PC's at work from home without Gateway support is just not an option.

    Still having to turn to my Android tablet which has the Ms. remote App with gateway support.

    Why this is not supported on the WP platform is beyond me...

    Like the app though!

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