As an IT administrator, the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) available in Windows is your best friend, and it is one of the Windows infrastructure management mechanisms that are employed daily for managing both cloud-based and local virtual machines (VMs) using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). In Windows Server 2016 and Windows10, you will find the RDC on the Start menu under Accessories. Here are a few essential tips to help you work with the RDC efficiently.
Enable the Remote Connection
Before you start using the remote desktop, you need to enable the inbound remote connections on a machine. You can do this by going to the Control Panel and clicking the Remote tab. Select ‘Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.’ To check if the RD is enabled, run netstat and look for a listening TCP connection on port 3389.
Set up the Firewall Preferences
If your computer is running a firewall, configure the firewall to allow RDP connections. You can achieve this by going to the Control Panel and clicking on Windows Firewall. Ensure you clear the ‘Don’t allow exceptions’ checkbox and select the RD checkbox under the Exceptions tab.
Save Your Usual Connections as RDP Files
One of the obvious things to do is to save your frequent connections as .RDP files, which you can save to your desktop or folders. It is more convenient to use .RDP files to access the systems you frequently use because you just need to click on the .RDP file. Remember, you don’t need to fill in your connection credentials. To save your RDC settings, open your RDCs, click on Show Options, then find the General tab and choose the Save As option. Here, you can name your file and select the storage location for your .RDP file.
Save Your Login Information for Quicker Connections
If you want to speed up logging on to your remote sessions every time you need to connect, save your login credentials. Doing this can save you a lot of time when accessing virtual machines that you connect to often. To save your RDC login information, click the General tab and select the ‘Allow me to save credentials’ option. After this, you will be requested to enter your login credentials the next time you want to connect. However, for your subsequent connections, you will not be prompted to enter this information again. But if you want to remove this option, simply click the ‘Always ask for credentials’ checkbox.
You can redirect the remote system sounds to your local machine. To accomplish this, locate Options on your RDC dialog box then click the ‘Local Resources’ tab. Click the ‘Remote computer sound’ drop-down list and choose ‘Bring to this computer.’ This option allows you to access the audio feedback and desktop beeps on your remote machine.
Optimize the Display Settings
The ability to personalize the display settings of your RDC is another crucial management tip. Some people prefer to run their RDC sessions with several windowed displays while others prefer the full-screen option with a connection bar positioned at the top of the screen. To customize your display settings, locate the Display tab then use the Display Settings slider to resize your RDC window. To set up a full-screen display, draw the slider to the extreme right until you see ‘Full Screen,’ then ensure you select the ‘Display the connection when I use the full screen’ checkbox to enable you quickly switch between your local desktop and the remote machine.
Connect Your Local Devices
Among the most overlooked things is the ability to seamlessly connect to local resources such as local ports, smart cards, PnP devices, printers, clipboard, and disk drives. To redirect your local devices, locate the ‘Local Resources’ tab and click on the ‘Local devices and resources’ option to choose the resources you wish to employ in your RDC sessions. In the front pane, you will find Printers and Clipboard listed. If you want to add ports, drives, PnP devices, and smart cards, click on the ‘More’ button. You can control the enabled resources through the Group Policy.
Tune Your WAN Performance
You can maximize your WAN performance by controlling the types and number of displays settings sent from the host to the remote computer. To achieve this, open the RDC dialog box and select the ‘Experience’ tab. For over-the-internet connections, locate the ‘Broadband’ option from the drop-down list then deselect the Themes, Desktop background, Menu and window animation, and ‘Show contents of window while dragging’ checkboxes.
Learn Your RDC Keyboard Shortcuts
Using the keyboard on your RDC sessions slightly differs from how you use it on your local machine. To send your usual Windows shortcut commands to your RDC session, use the keyboard panel and the Local Resource tab to determine where the keyboard shortcuts will be applied. You can set them to be all remote or all local, or you can choose the ‘Only when using full-screen’ option. So, take advantage of these shortcuts to enhance your remote sessions. Remember, CTRL-ALT-BREAK switches the full window on or off. On some keyboards, the BREAK key is substituted by PRNTSCR, FN-SCRLK, or PAUSE. If you have enabled the clipboard, use CTRL-C, CTRL-X, and CTRL-V to copy, cut, and paste information between your remote computer and local computer. Using CTRL-ALT-HOME displays or hides the connection bar.
RDP, which enables you to set up RDCs, is a handy tool for IT administrators and computer users for accessing information in the cloud or on remote computers. Thus, as you set up your RDC sessions, you need to know the tips and tricks to ease your task as you work on your remote machine. These tips will help you simplify the task of running your RDC sessions.