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Chapter 24. Making Remote Network Connec... > Making the Connection to the Remote ...

Making the Connection to the Remote Desktop

On the client computer, you can now connect to the host computer’s desktop. Follow these steps:

Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Remote Desktop Connection. The Remote Desktop Connection dialog box appears.

In the Computer text box, type the name or the IP address of the remote computer.

If you don’t want to customize Remote Desktop, skip to step 10. Otherwise, click Options to expand the dialog box to the version shown in Figure 24.1.

Figure 24.1. Clicking the Options button expands the dialog box so that you can customize Remote Desktop.

The General tab offers the following additional options:

  • Computer— The name or IP address of the remote computer.

  • Save— Click this button to have Vista remember your current settings so that you don’t have to type them again the next time you connect. This is useful if you always connect to the same host.

  • Save As— Click this button to save your connection settings to a Remote Desktop (.rdp) file for later use. This is useful if you regularly connect to multiple hosts.

  • Open— Click this button to open a saved .rdp file.

The Display tab, shown in Figure 24.2, offers three options for controlling the look of the Remote Desktop window:

  • Remote Desktop Size— Drag this slider to set the resolution of Remote Desktop. Drag the slider all the way to the left for a 640×480 screen size; drag the slider all the way to the right to have Remote Desktop take up the entire client screen, no matter what resolution the host is currently using.

  • Colors— Use this list to set the number of colors used for the Remote Desktop display. Note that if the number of colors on either the host or the client is fewer than the value you select in the Colors list, Windows Vista will use the lesser value.

  • Display the Connection Bar When in Full Screen Mode— When this check box is activated, the Remote Desktop Connection client displays a connection bar at the top of the Remote Desktop window, provided you selected Full Screen for the Remote Desktop Size setting. You use the connection bar to minimize, restore, and close the Remote Desktop window. If you find that the connection bar just gets in the way, deactivate this check box to prevent it from appearing.

Figure 24.2. Use the Display tab to set the Remote Desktop size and colors.

The Local Resources tab, shown in Figure 24.3, offers three options for controlling certain interactions between the client and the host:

  • Remote Computer Sound— Use this list to determine where Windows Vista plays the sounds generated by the host computer. You can play them on the client (if you want to hear what’s happening on the host), on the host (if you want a user sitting at the host to hear the sounds), or not at all (if you have a slow connection).

  • Keyboard— Use this list to determine which computer is sent special Windows key combinations—such as Alt+Tab and Ctrl+Esc—that you press on the client keyboard. You can have the key combos sent to the client, to the host, or to the host only when you’re running the Remote Desktop window in full-screen mode. What happens if you’re sending key combos to one computer and you need to use a particular key combo on the other computer? For such situations, Remote Desktop offers several keyboard equivalents, outlined in the following table:

    Windows Key ComboRemote Desktop Equivalent
    Alt+TabAlt+Page Up
    Alt+Shift+TabAlt+Page Down
    Ctrl+Esc or Windows LogoAlt+Home
    Print ScreenCtrl+Alt+− (numeric keypad)
    Alt+Print ScreenCtrl+Alt++ (numeric keypad)


    Here are three other useful keyboard shortcuts that you can press on the client computer and have Windows Vista send them to the host computer:

    Ctrl+Alt+EndDisplays the Windows Task Manager (on a peer-to-peer computer) or Windows Security (on a domain computer). This is equivalent to pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which Windows Vista always applies to the client computer.
    Alt+DeleteDisplays the active window’s Control menu.
    Ctrl+Alt+BreakToggles the Remote Desktop window between full-screen mode and a regular window.

  • Local Devices and Resources— Leave the Printers check box activated to display the client’s printers in the host’s Printers and Faxes window. The client’s printers appear with the syntax Printer (from COMPUTER), where Printer is the printer name and COMPUTER is the network name of the client computer. Leave the Clipboard check box activated to use the client’s Clipboard during the remote session.

Figure 24.3. Use the Local Resources tab to customize how Remote Desktop handles the host’s sounds, Windows key combinations, and the client’s local devices.

Click More to see the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box shown in Figure 24.4. Use the following check boxes to configure more client devices and resources on the host (click OK when you’re done):

  • Smart Cards— Leave this check box activated to access the client’s smart cards on the host.

  • Serial Ports— Activate this check box to make any devices attached to the client’s serial ports (such as a barcode scanner) available while you’re working with the host.

  • Drives— Activate this check box to display the client’s hard disk partitions and mapped network drives in the host’s Computer window. (You can also open the branch to activate the check boxes of specific drives.) As shown in Figure 24.5, the client’s drives appear in the Computer window’s Other group with the syntax D on Computer, where D is the drive letter and Computer is the network name of the client computer (such as PaulsPC in Figure 24.5).

    Figure 24.4. Use this dialog box to customize how Remote Desktop handle more of the client’s local devices and resources.

    Figure 24.5. If you elect to display the client’s disk drives on the host, they appear in the Computer window’s Other group.

  • Supported Plug and Play Devices— Activate this check box to make some of the client’s Plug and Play devices available to the host, such as media players and digital cameras. (You can also open the branch to activate the check boxes of specific devices.)

Use the Programs tab to specify a program to run on connection. Activate the Start the Following Program on Connection check box, and then use the Program Path and File Name text box to specify the program to run. After connecting, the user can work with only this program, and when he or she quits the program, the session also ends.

Use the Experience tab, shown in Figure 24.6, to set performance options for the connection. Use the Choose Your Connection Speed to Optimize Performance drop-down list to set the appropriate connection speed. Because you’re connecting over a network, you should choose the LAN (10 Mbps or higher) option. Depending on the connection speed you choose, one or more of the following check boxes will be activated (the faster the speed, the more check boxes Windows Vista activates):

  • Desktop Background— Toggles the host’s desktop background on and off.

  • Font Smoothing— Toggles the host’s font smoothing on and off.

  • Desktop Composition— Toggles the host’s desktop composition engine on and off.

  • Show Contents of Window While Dragging— Toggles the display of window contents when you drag a host window with your mouse.

  • Menu and Windows Animation— Toggles on and off the animations that Windows Vista normally uses when you pull down menus or minimize and maximize windows.

  • Themes— Toggle’s the host’s current visual theme on and off.

  • Bitmap Caching— Activate this check box to improve performance by not storing frequently used host images on the client computer.

Figure 24.6. Use the Experience tab to set performance options for the connection.

Click Connect. Vista prompts you to enter your security credentials.

Type your User Name and Password, and then click OK.

If you activated the Disk Drives or Serial Ports check boxes in the Local Resources tab, a security warning dialog box appears. If you’re sure that making these resources available to the remote computer is safe, activate the Don’t Prompt Me Again for Connections to this Remote Computer check box. Click OK.

If a person with a different username is already logged on to the remote computer, Windows Vista lets you know that you’ll disconnect that user, which could result in data loss. Click Yes only if you’re sure that it’s okay to disconnect the current user.



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