a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Remote Desktop Tips and Tricks


#1

I'm with K. Scott Allen: the pervasiveness of Remote Desktop functionality in Windows has fundamentally changed the way I work.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/04/remote-desktop-tips-and-tricks.html

#2

Each additional bit DOUBLES the amount of data that has to be transmitted.

Only if you start with a 1-bit display. (Classic Macs, anyone?)

Either you or I have a fundamental misunderstanding on this one. I hope it’s not me…


#3

Ach, you’re right. I was thinking of keyspace for some reason – 256-bit keys versus 257-bit keys. The 257-bit key would take double the number of brute force attacks. Amended.

I guess I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.


#4

It’s ok, we all have days like this! 16-bit is weird anyway, you get extra green.


#5

Your argument at the end is still a bit silly. There would be no actual difference in bytes submitted for 15 bit vs. 16 bit display, but you recommend 15 in favor of 16.

Also, why is my captcha always the same (orange)? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?


#6

a (perhaps unrelated) note on UI…

whenever I see a list of text and images like the one you put with description and keys combination, I get messed up and I don’t know if the description is at the top or the bottom of the image

another note… very few people use keyboard shortcuts (I’m one of those very few, I know)

and a third note
"Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: blogsp0t"


#7

ah… so your comments don’t accept the word bl0gsp0t?
not even in the URL field =o(


#8

Is it at all possible to set up remote desktop to use multiple monitors?

I have three monitors at work (dual head + laptop + synergy), but remote dektop only allows a single monitor worth of transfer, which makes working from home not quite so great (I have my ide (eclipse) maximised to two windows).

Any ideas, or do I just have to get over it?

thanks.


#9

When using multiple monitors, why wouldn’t you just un-maximize, drag it over to the target monitor, and maximize?


#10

There would be no actual difference in bytes submitted for 15 bit vs. 16 bit display

Sure there would-- the protocol is sending the video diffs over the wire. It wouldn’t be a big size savings, admittedly. But as Chris L pointed out, 15-bit is not only slightly less data, it’s more color-balanced: 5 bits of red, green, and blue. Compared to 5 6 5 for 16-bit.

very few people use keyboard shortcuts

So you never press CTRL+ALT+DELETE? Your computer must get very lonely… :wink:

why wouldn’t you just un-maximize, drag it over to the target monitor, and maximize?

Because the client desktop does not get resized.


#11

one thing about remote desktop that’s been annoying me to no end. it doesn’t support anything over 1600x1200 (or widescreen resolutions for the matter)! I have a dell 24" at home that runs at 1920x1200 …

whats even more irritating? I also run the remote desktop client on my mac. the osx version has NO problems displaying whatever resolution i want!


#12

Hi!

I wanted to know if there is any alternative to remote desktop for using in XP Home. VNC is one option, but I don’t really like it.

About Rem. Desktop, it’s really a killer app in XP, imo it only lacks one thing, refresh time. If you’ve tried to watch a movie on a remote computer, you know what I’m talking about… even using the fastest connection. Maybe there’s some way to change this…


#13

What I’d like to know is how to fix the full screen bug when using a widescreen client machine.
When I would connect to my work machine (1600x1200) on my old laptop (1400x1050) it would full screen to a 1400x1050 desktop.
I now have a widescreen 1620x1050 laptop and when I connect to the 1600x1200 machine at work it punts and give me a 1400x1050 window instead of a full screen.
This in itself would not be too bad, but since the task bar on my client machine and the Title bar on the window both use up a few pixels, the full 1050 of the remote window won’t display so I have to scroll. Even if I hide the task bar I’m still missing just enough of the remote window due to the Title Bar.
I love Remote desktop but this has been aggrivating me lately.
Any ideas?


#14

I now have a widescreen 1620x1050 laptop and when I connect to the 1600x1200 machine at work it punts and give me a 1400x1050 window instead of a full screen.

The maximum resolution on any display I currently own is 1600x1200. Let me research this using a widescreen monitor at work and get back to you.

VNC is one option, but I don’t really like it.

UltraVNC is what I recommend-- I’m not sure if you consider that vanilla VNC or not, but it’s the best of the alternatives IMO.


#15

I do use shortcuts

Sorry, you’re right-- I didn’t read closely enough! Mea culpa.

My post will now hide in shame.

Not at all! Your post was so good I had to steal it!

I now have a widescreen 1620x1050 laptop and when I connect to the 1600x1200 machine at work it punts and give me a 1400x1050 window instead of a full screen.

We tested this with one of the Apple 1920x1200 widescreen LCD displays here at work, and you’re right. Remote desktop just doesn’t support any widescreen resolutions! We tried a few quick hacks to get full-screen 1920x1200 but nothing worked. We had black bars on the side (effective 1600x1200) no matter what we tried.


#16

Here is how I reboot/shutdown when in a Remote Desktop connection:

From the run box:
shutdown -r -t 2

-r for reboot
-t for time to reboot, gives a buffer for some apps to close.

I remote desktop to and from my Media Center machine on my widescreen Dell monitor, always seems to work for me, as long as I always run full screen.


#17

Sure there would-- the protocol is sending the video diffs over the wire.

Sure, but that’s irrelevant for the amount of data per pixel, which is what we’re talking about.

It wouldn’t be a big size savings, admittedly.

Somehow, I doubt they’ll send over 15 bits and go through the trouble of using a shifting bitmask. My guess is they’ll just send the 2 bytes.

On the other hand, they’re probably using compression and I guess 15-bit data will compress better than 16-bit data, so you may be right after all.


#18

DameWare is pretty slick too. I don’t remember the cost, but it isn’t bad.

I usually use UltraVNC or RemoteDesktop, depending on if I want to control an existing session, or just use the machine.


#19

Your post is so well written, Jeff. My post will now hide in shame.


#20

Thanks for this info…super helpful. Can’t count how many times I go to alt-tab and, of course, utterly fail to do what I plan on doing.

I do use shortcuts, and now that you mention it, I’m the ONLY ONE in the office who blocks the computer everytime I walk away

I’m in the same boat. Note, though, that Win + L is a much faster way to lock your workstation. OK, not much faster, but at least somewhat faster :).