microsoft remote desktop

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Many people love the ease and elegance of Apple products, but did you know that with a bit of clever engineering, it is possible to access your Windows only Application from other devices? We do this for many of our clients through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service.

Apple ships a basic RDP client with the Mac, but this has limitations if you intend to use an RD Gateway like we do for additional security. However all is not lost. There are other applications out there, and here’s a brief summary of our experience:

The best Mac/iDevice app to use that supports RD Gateways is called Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD) and is available via the App store at no cost. This app currently requires OSX 10.7 or iOS 7.0 or later. This requirement usually changes when new OSs are released so be careful to check this before you install.
Recently we have seen this app have major problems with iOS 8.0 in that it will not work with the RD Gateway properly as well as causing session crashes due to some of the passed through touchscreen gestures. We do not know at this time if either problem is fixed in iOS 8.3.

For people that do have these problems the other two choices are apps called 2X and CoRD. Both are free and have similar OS requirements as MRD. However neither supports the use of the RD Gateway.

Our Customers have reported 2X is actually a lot more fluid and adjust the display settings better than MRD when connecting to the server, and it does not suffer from the session crashing issue either with the touchscreen gestures.

We no longer recommend CoRD. It appears to no longer being updated or may even now be removed from the app store. It’s ability to forward printing devices from OSX was also deprecated some time ago with official word from the developer that they essentially have no intention to ever fix it.
if you do try an OSX update keep in mind that you may be running other software that will not work with the new OSX version without also being upgraded (usually at a cost). One very good example of this is Parallels. We’ve not yet seen a version of Parallels that will run on multiple OSX versions. You will have to also upgrade their Parallels version or abandon their Windows VM.

Also note that upgrading OSX is only free of charge for users upgrading from 10.6.8 or later to 10.10.3 (Yosemite). Mavericks is no longer available on the Mac App store and if you do not wish to upgrade to 10.10.3 you will have to purchase the intermediary versions e.g. 10.7, 10.8 etc. as these are not provided free.
If connecting from an Android phone or tablet then Microsoft Remote Desktop is also available from the Play Store as is 2X. The required Android version varies between devices so best method is just to test it.

Microsoft Remote Desktop App – Apple and Microsoft play better together in the Cloud

Microsoft Remote Desktop App – Apple and Microsoft play better together in the Cloud 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

ipad-mini-apple-official-photo

Up until recently, the ability to connect to a Cloud Windows-based server from an Apple device was limited to relatively unsecure connections and fraught with headaches and issues of compatibility.

Whilst it was possible, the Remote Desktop (RD) client from an Apple device to a Windows-based Remote Desktop Server (RDS) had few options for creating any kind of security between the systems primarily due to the inability of the RD client to support connections via a secure gateway– meaning that if you were previously connecting to your RDS from a Windows-based device, you would not easily have had access to extra security.  As a result this lead to the development of a myriad of third-party tools and apps that attempted to provide these features.  Few of them did this well and the ones that did were not user-friendly and came with a price tag.

So users were left with few choices.  Either only being able to connect to their cloud service via relatively unsecured means, buy a third-party application for every device they would like to connect from or not be able to access their RDS environment from their Mac, iPad or iPhone at all.

Come a month ago however, Microsoft decided it was time for change and to give the Apple community the advantages and security that only Windows users had been able to enjoy.

In mid-October Microsoft released their new, polished and aptly named Microsoft Remote Desktop tool that finally provides the long needed and secure means for Apple device users to easily connect to their Windows-based cloud environment.  Built on customised acquired technology Microsoft Remote Desktop allows Apple users to connect as easily as Windows users with all the same benefits such as RD gateway security, printer and drive redirection and without the previous incompatibilities between the two systems.

The Microsoft Remote Desktop App is now available on the App Store and also works on your iPad and iPhone– and best of all, it comes absolutely free.

Greenlight has developed a Cloud Based Remote Desktop Server platform called inCloud.  This is a robust, proven, secure environment where you can host your line of business applications and data at a per user / month price point.