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Getting Started with Remote Desktop Client on Mac

Published: November 20, 2013

Updated: November 20, 2013



Devices running OS 10.6.8 and newer are supported.

You can use the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client to connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience rich interactivity using a Remote Desktop client designed to help you get your work done wherever you are. For example, you can connect to your work PC and have access to all of your apps, files, and network resources as if you were sitting right in front of your work PC. You can leave apps open at work and then continue working on those same apps using the Remote Desktop Client.

Work with files and apps on another PC. If you want to work on files and access apps on another PC as if you were sitting right in front of it, the Remote Desktop Client is the way to go.

  1. Download the Remote Desktop Client from the Mac App Store.

  2. Set up your remote PC to allow remote connections.

  3. Create a Remote Desktop, or add a Remote Resource using the Remote Desktop Client.

A remote desktop connection summarizes all the settings for the remote desktop you want to connect to.

Remote Resources enables access to RemoteApp programs, session-based desktops, and virtual desktops published using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections. This feature is typically available in corporate environments.

WarningWarning
For a list of supported Windows versions, see Remote Desktop Client on Mac: FAQ

After starting the Remote Desktop Client for Mac the Connection Center opens. You can use the Connection Center to:

  • Connect to a Windows PC or server

  • Access work resources published using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections

  • Manage remote desktops

  • Modify settings

A remote desktop summarizes all the settings for the remote desktop connection.

Create a Remote Desktop

  1. On the Connection Center screen, click New.

  2. In the Edit Remote Desktops window, enter information for the remote desktop connection:

    • General

      • Connection name (Optional): The name of the remote desktop in the connection center. This can be any string. If this is field is empty, the PC name will be displayed.

      • PC name: The name of the PC you want to connect to. This can be a Windows computer name, an Internet domain name or an IP address. You can optionally append port information to the PC name, for example: MyDesktop:3389 or 10.0.0.1:3389.

      • Gateway: The Remote Desktop Gateway enables authorized users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops on an internal corporate network from any Internet-connected device. You can either select a gateway that is already configured, or add a new one. No gateway configured is displayed if no Gateway is selected. How to configure a gateway is explained in the section on the Remote Desktop Gateway. See your administrator for the name of your Remote Desktop Gateway.

      • Credentials: The user name and password to be used for the remote PC you are connecting to. If no credentials are displayed, the log on screen will be displayed after clicking the remote desktop. The user name can be entered in the following formats: user_name, domain\user_name, and user_name@domain.com.

      • Resolution: Select the display resolution for the remote session.

      • Colors: Select the color depth for the remote session.

      • Full screen mode: Choose between the OS X native full screen feature (Mac OS X 10.7+) or the custom full screen mode which enables the multi-monitor feature to provide a better experience for users of Mac OS X versions 10.7 and 10.8..

      • Start session in full screen: The remote session will start using the full screen. Disable this option if you prefer to start a remote desktop connection in windowed mode.

      • Scale content: Enable the aspect ratio to be fixed for the session content.

      • Use all monitors: Enable use of all monitors for the remote session.

    • Session

      • Sound: Select the device to play audio during the remote session. You can configure sound to be played on the local device, the remote PC or not at all.

      • Connect to console session: Connect to the console session on a server running Windows Server 2003 and newer.

      • Forward printing devices: Locally installed printers are available during the remote session.

      • Swap mouse buttons: Whenever a mouse gesture would send a command with the left mouse button, it sends the same command with the right mouse button instead. This is necessary if the remote PC is configured for left-handed mouse mode.

    • Redirection

      Folder redirection enables access local folders during the remote session. Click the + button at the bottom of the dialog and choose a folder you want to have redirected.

      Configure Folder Redirection

      1. Click the + button.

      2. In the Add Local Folder window, enter the following information:

        • Name: Set a name for the folder to be available during the remote session.

        • Path: Select the path to the folder to be available during the remote session.

  3. Click the close button to save the remote desktop.

Edit Remote Desktop Settings

To change the settings of a specific remote desktop, right-click the remote desktop and then click edit. When adding or modifying a remote desktop the following tabs are available:

  • General

  • Session

  • Redirection

Delete a Remote Desktop

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap the right-click the remote desktop to delete.

  2. Click Delete, and then click Yes.

Copy a Remote Desktop

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap the right-click the remote desktop to copy.

  2. Click Duplicate, to copy the remote desktop.

Remote desktops can be exported. Remote desktops are saved in separate files with an RDP extension.

Export a Remote Desktop

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap the right-click the remote desktop to export.

  2. Click Export.

  3. In the Export Options window, click Browse to select a path for the file.

  4. Click OK to export the remote desktop.

Exported remote desktop files can be imported.

Import a Remote Desktop

  1. On the menu bar click File, and then click Import.

  2. In the Import Bookmarks window, browse and select the remote desktop file.

  3. Click Open to import the remote desktop connection.

Search can be a useful tool when you have to manage many remote desktops.

Search for a Remote Desktop

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap the search text box.

  2. Enter text included in the PC name, or the connection name of the remote desktop to filter remote desktops list.

Depending on your environment, the list of remote desktops can get quite long. The remote desktops in this list can be rearranged to bring frequently used remote desktops to the top of the list and remote desktops that are used less frequently can be moved towards the bottom of the list.

Rearrange Remote Desktop in Connection Center

  1. Click and hold a remote desktop.

  2. Drag and drop the remote desktop to a new position in the list.

These settings apply for all connections and session preferences:

Update Preferences: In the Connection Center, click Preferences.

  • Gateway: Display the list of available Remote Desktop Gateways. Select, configure, or add an RD Gateway.

  • Resolution: Select the display resolution for remote desktop sessions.

A Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) enables authorized users to connect to a remote computer on a corporate network from anywhere on the Internet. The Remote Desktop Client for Mac supports RD Gateway. You can create and manage your gateways using the Remote Desktop Client.

Set up a New Gateway

  1. On the Connection Center screen, click Preferences.

  2. In the Preferences window click Gateway. Enter information for the Remote Desktop Gateway:

    • Gateway name: The name of the gateway to be displayed. This can be any string. If this is field is empty, the server will be displayed.

    • Server: The name of the computer you want to use as gateway. This can be a Windows computer name, an Internet domain name or an IP address. You can optionally append port information to the server name, for example: RDGateway:443 or 10.0.0.1:443.

    • User name: The user name to be used for the RD Gateway you are connecting to. If a user name and password are not entered, the credentials for the remote desktop connection will be used.

    • Password: The password to be used for the RD Gateway you are connecting to.

  3. Click + to add the RD Gateway, and then click close.

Delete a Gateway

  1. On the Connection Center screen, click Preferences.

  2. In the Preferences window click Gateway.

  3. Click the RD Gateway to delete, click -, and then click close.

The resolution setting allows you to select the display resolution for the remote desktop session.

Add a Resolution

  1. On the Connection Center screen, click Preferences.

  2. In the Preferences window click Resolution.

  3. Click +.

  4. In the Add Resolution window, enter a resolution width and height and then click OK.

Delete a Resolution

  1. On the Connection Center screen, click Preferences.

  2. In the Preferences window click Resolution.

  3. Click the resolution to delete, click -, and then click close.

Displays have separate Spaces

Mac OS X 10.9 users who have disabled Displays have separate Spaces in Mavericks (System Preferences -> Mission Control) need to configure this setting in the Microsoft Remote Desktop client using the same option.

Remote Resources enables access to RemoteApp programs, session-based desktops, and virtual desktops published using RemoteApp and Desktop Connections.

  • The URL displays the link to the RD Web Access server enabling access to RemoteApp and Desktop Connections.

  • The configured RemoteApp and Desktop Connections are listed.

Add Remote Resources

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap Remote Resources.

  2. Enter information for the Remote Resource:

    • URL: The URL of the RD Web Access server.

    • User name: The user name to be used for the RD Web Access server you are connecting to.

    • Password: The password to be used for the RD Web Access server you are connecting to.

  3. Click Refresh and then click close.

Refresh Remote Resources

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap Remote Resources.

  2. Click Refresh and then click close.

Delete Remote Resources

  1. On the Connection Center screen, tap Remote Resources.

  2. Delete the URL.

  3. Click Refresh and then click close.

Drive Redirection for Remote Resources

Drive redirection is supported for remote resources. Save files created with a remote application locally to your Mac. The redirected folder is always your home directory displayed as a network drive in the remote session.

noteNote
In order to use this feature the administrator needs to set the appropriate settings on the server.

Once you start a remote desktop connection there are tools available that you can use to navigate the session.

Start a Remote Desktop Connection: Double-click the remote desktop connection.

If you are in full screen mode, the menu bar at the top of the screen will be hidden. This remote connection menu bar includes tools you can use to navigate the session.

Remote Desktop Menu Bar

  • Microsoft Remote Desktop: This menu enables you to manage the remote desktop session.

  • Window: Enables you to manage the windows.

  • Help: View web-based help.

Start a Remote Resource: Double-click the remote application.

Remote Resource Menu Bar

  • Microsoft Remote Desktop: This menu enables you to manage the remote desktop session.

  • Remote Desktop Client: Right-click the remote desktop client icon in the menu bar, to switch between active applications. You can also right-click the Remote Desktop Client icon in the dock to switch between applications.

Mac and Windows Keyboard Layouts

Mac keyboard layouts differ from the Windows keyboard layouts. The OS keyboard locale, is suggested to the remote PC. If the OS keyboard locale is not used, we recommend checking the keyboard setting on the remote PC and changing the setting manually.

  • The Command key on the Mac keyboard equals the Windows key.

  • All actions, which you perform using the Command button on the Mac, you need to use the control button in Windows (e.g.: Copy = Ctrl + C).

  • The function keys can be activated in the session by pressing additionally the FN key (e.g.: FN + F1).

  • The Alt key to the right of the space bar on the Mac keyboard equals the Alt Gr/right Alt key in Windows.

The following list provides additional resources for using Remote Desktop mobile clients.

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