Remote desktop

Remote desktop is a general term for a system which allows a user to interact remotely with a computer, as if physically working at it.


Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection is a proprietary application which can be used to control computers running certain versions of Windows remotely, using a proprietary connection called Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

The host machine must be set to not sleep or hibernate in order for Remote Desktop Connections to work bests.

Download Remote Desktop Connection


Remote Desktop is included with Windows, but you may need to update to the latest version (This version is already included in Windows 7/8/10).

What version of Windows do I have?

  • Right Click on Computer or My Computer and select Properties.
  • A dialog will pop up displaying the version of Windows you are running. On Vista/7 System Type, it will say either 64-bit or 32-bit

Windows XP

Both updates are required for Windows XP. Reboot your computer after applying these updates.

Note: If you receive the following error while connecting, please install the following patch:

An authentication error has occurred. The specified target is unknown or unreachable.

Fix: and reboot after installing.

Windows Vista

Windows 7/8/10

  • This version of Windows requires no updates to the RD client.

Note: These downloads are also available from Microsoft's website:

Macintosh Client

You must install the Remote Desktop Connection client to connect to the Remote Apps. The latest version from the App Store is required to connect.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client


Available through the App Store.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client


Apple Remote Desktop is a proprietary application for remotely controlling Mac OS X machines. Previous versions used a proprietary connection called Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) protocol, but Apple Remote Desktop 2, released in 2004, uses VNC instead.

Virtual Network Computing

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a platform-independent remote desktop system, using the Remote FrameBuffer protocol. Several open source and proprietary applications use VNC, including:

  • Apple Remote Desktop 2 (proprietary)
  • RealVNC (proprietary)
  • UltraVNC (open source)
  • TightVNC (open source, but potentially insecure)