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Using Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDC Man) with Windows Azure Virtual Machines - Stuart Leeks - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

Stuart Leeks

Stuart Leeks - Application Development Consultant

Using Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDC Man) with Windows Azure Virtual Machines

Using Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDC Man) with Windows Azure Virtual Machines

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UPDATE: I've posted a follow-up with a PowerShell script to automate this :-)

If you find yourself using Remote Desktop to a number of machines then it is well worth checking out Remote Desktop Connection Manager. We’ve been using this in our load testing labs for a long time as it greatly simplifies working with a set of machines via Remote Desktop. I’ve also been using it for a while to manage connections to virtual machines in Windows Azure. In this post I’ll walk through the steps needed to add virtual machines in Windows Azure into Remote Desktop Connection Manager.

Step 0 – Install Remote Desktop Connection Manager

If you haven’t already, go grab Remote Desktop Connection Manager and install it!

Step 1 – Create a new connection settings file

From the File menu, click New, and select a location to save your new connection settings file.

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Step 2 – Add a server group

You should now have an empty settings file. At this point, you can right click on the node in the tree and Add Server. However, if you do this then you can’t add further groups later. Groups can be a powerful way to help navigate a large number of connections, as well as managing their settings (you can specify that certain settings should be inherited from the parent). I tend to create an initial group to hold my connections:

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Step 3 – Add a server

Now that you have created a group, right-click on it to add a server

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This will bring up the Add Server dialog where we need to enter a couple of details:

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Step 4 – Find the connection details

The details we are going to need are

  • Server Name (i.e. the address to connect to). This is the DNS name for the service
  • Port  - the port to connect to for RDP

There are a number of ways to get this information, but a couple of quick ways are:

  • the RDP file downloaded
  • directly from the Azure portal itself

 

RDP file

Sign in to the Azure portal and find your virtual machine. At the bottom of the screen, click Connect

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This will prompt you to download a .rdp file. Save this locally and locate it in Windows Explorer. From there, right-click and choose Edit. This will bring up the Remote Desktop Connection dialog:

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The Computer textbox has the information you need. In the screenshot above it contains rdcmandemo.cloudapp.net:62670, which gives rdcmandemo.cloudapp.net for the server name and 62670 for the port.

Portal

You can also get this information directly from the portal without downloading the .rdp file. Again, sign in to the Azure portal and find your virtual machine. On the dashboard page you can find the DNS Name in the “quick glance” panel on the right. This is the server name.

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Switch to the endpoints tab and you will find the Remote Desktop endpoint with the public port listed – this is the port number we need.

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Step 5 – Enter the connection details

Back in the Add Server dialog, enter the server name value from Step 4. This server value is the name of your Azure cloud service. Since you will likely have multiple virtual machines in a single cloud service it is worth putting a descriptive name in to help identify the virtual machine (the machine name is a good candidate, but you can put any description that you find useful!).

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Next, click on the Connection Settings tab and enter the port number from Step 4 (you will need to uncheck “Inherit from parent”):

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Click Add and you have added the server:

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To connect to a machine you can simply double click it.

Summary

This quick walkthrough shows how to add virtual machines from Windows Azure into Remote Desktop Connection Manager.

Once you’ve done this then you can configure Remote Desktop Connection Manager as normal. You can switch into Full Screen mode from the Session menu. Settings can be configured individually, or at the server group level. For example, you can configure settings around capturing of local Windows Keys at any level (group or server).

Enjoy!

  • Any chance of whoever it is in Microsoft to update RDCMan to support Windows 2008 and above (things like list sessions and logoff from the right click menu)?

  • @Tobie - I sent an email about updating RDCMan earlier as there are some features that I'd love to see released. I'll update if I hear anything!

  • @Tobie - watch this space :-)

  • Holding out for the 2.6 version that apparently was used by MS staff at a trade show. Would be great to get this tool updated.

  • @Rhys - it does feel like an update would be good, doesn't it? ;-)

  • Would love to see NLA support.  That is a big draw back for RDCM v2.2

  • Definitely would love to see an update to this tool.  Still use it daily after all these years.

  • Does the tool allow for the creation of FTP, PUTTY, telnet connections, or is it exclusively RDP? I use Remote Desktop Manager which allows for this, if RDCM supported these actions, I would probably switch.

  • Wish they would make a new version available.  the 2.2 version has issues with 2012 R2/8.1 machines after a few connections, and you have to restart the app to fix it.

  • Any news on RDCMan? It'd be great to get update to make it support dynamic screen size and other things in Win 8.1/2012R2.

  • ditto... are there any new updated version of RDCMan? for Win 8.1

  • I'm with Jason, we're running this tool for our IT team off of an RDS 2012 R2 server and it's a right pain when it crashes, roll on a new version!

  • Yeah, this is a really nice tool but I have over 1,000 Windows 2012 servers and this doesn't work well for that.

  • Just to be clear, I'm not connected to the team that produce RDCMan, I just happen to like & use the tool :-)

    I'm hoping that there will be an update soon too!

    @Matt - what is the issue you face? performance? navigation?

  • I use RDCMan on Win 8.1 and it's slow and freezes when connecting to my servers. Any ideas?

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