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Remote Desktop Connection

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Current Version: 1.0.3 (October 12, 2004) / 2.0.1 (August 12, 2009)

Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client enables you to connect from your Macintosh computer to a Windows-based computer and work with programs and files on that computer. Mac users who have access to a Windows-based computer on a network, can use Remote Desktop Connection as an alternative to Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac.

To connect to a Windows-based computer, you need network access and permission to connect to the computer. In addition, the Windows-based computer must be running Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Services. The following Windows products support Remote Desktop connections:

  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition

Version 1.0.3 - the latest version for Mac OS X 10.2.8 and later - added/changed the following:

  • Remote Desktop Connection Client 1.0.3 for Mac provides improved stability when you minimize the client window and when you copy and paste data from the client window to Macintosh applications.
  • Stability is also improved for users of Mac OS X 10.3 and later, and when Remote Desktop Connection Client is used on Macintosh computers with PowerPC G5 processors.

Version 2.0 - for Mac OS X 10.4.9 and later - added/changed the following:

  • Universal Binary - Runs natively on both Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs.
  • Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0 - Provides better compatibility with Windows Vista, improved security features, and many other improvements.
  • Multiple Sessions - Lets you connect to multiple Windows-based computers at the same time.
  • Improved User Experience - Provides a true Mac experience and improved usability.
  • Improved Customization Options - Lets you change application preferences, including keyboard shortcuts, while you are running a session. Changes take effect the next time that you connect.
  • Dynamic Screen Resizing - Lets you resize your session window or switch to full-screen mode during a session.
  • Improved Printing Support - Supports all configured printers on your Mac. No longer limited to PostScript printers.
  • Multiple Sessions - Improvements to File menu commands and connection files let you connect to multiple Windows-based computers at the same time.
  • Network Level Authentication (NLA) Support - Helps provide greater security when connecting to computers running Windows Vista.
  • Auto Reconnect - Supports automatic reconnection when a network connection to a remote session is lost.
  • Wide Screen Support - Supports optimal resolution settings for wide screen displays.

Version 2.0.1 makes the following additional changes:

  • This update improves security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code.

Remote Desktop Connection is truly a fantastic piece of free software for Mac users; there's nothing quite as nice as having access to a real PC from your Mac, bringing all the benefits of dedicated hardware and a truly separate environment that won't muck up your Mac with unnecessary files or other issues. If you have access to a machine with one of the Windows versions noted above, you owe it to yourself to give RDC a spin.

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These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!