Microsoft Remote Desktop is as client side application that is used to access a server or computer over a remote link using the RDP protocol (Remote Desktop Protocol) which, incidentally, runs on TCP Port 3389 and the Microsoft remote desktop app is the mobile version of that application which runs on several mobile operating systems, but the one we will be concentrating on is the Microsoft remote desktop app for IOS.

The client application is available on most Microsoft client operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and can be found under start menu, all programs/program files, accessories on the earlier windows operating systems, and on Windows 8 it can be found in the same place as you find anything else (from the search box :-)).

clicking on the rmeote desktop app you will be prompted for the host name of your remote computer after which you will be able to connect to it, authenticate and then control it almost as if you were sitting in front of it – thats assuming you have opened port 3389 on the remote firewall and have that port forwarding traffic to the remote computer’s local IP address.

Uses for Microsoft Remote Desktop

Probably the most common use for Microsoft remote desktop is to control a server that is hosted in a data center – more often than not servers hosted in data centers – ie web servers, terminal servers and remote file storage servers – are not physically accessible by the server administrator – if you required physical access you would normally have to enroll a data center engineer (which can be expensive) or if you have a collocation agreement with the provider, you may be able to get on site yourself – but probably will have strict access restrictions as well as limited time on site.

For that reason, RDP can be set up on the server enabling you to do all of your management from a remote location whilst still having the same GUI (Graphical user interface) and experience as you would have when sitting in front of the server using a monitor and keyboard.

In fact the only situations where you cannot use remote desktop would be when the server is not booting to the desktop, or when the Internet connection has been lost – they are the most common reasons, but of course there could be other reasons such as firewall blocks and so on.

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Accessing your server from your iphone

So now comes the cool part – remote desktop is great when you are sitting in front of your home computer, or at your work computer (if you can get away with it) but what about when you are out – on the train, bus or elsewhere without computer access?

Thats where the smart phone comes in – whether you have an iphone, android phone or a windows phone you will probably be familiar with the fact that you can do almost as much on a modern smart phone as you can on your PC or laptop. Fortunately thanks to the Microsoft remote desktop app that also includes remote management of your server using the RDP protocol.

Microsoft Remote Desktop App

The Microsoft remote desktop app for IOS is a mobile application variant of the windows remote desktop application and enables you to control your remote server or PC in exactly the same way as you would on your home PC – the app is free to download and install from the Apple app store and once installed you are prompted for the same information as you would be on your PC – pretty much just the host name of the remote computer (you can of course use the public IP instead if you prefer).

Microsoft remote desktop app

Microsoft Remote Desktop App for iOS

The really cool thing with the Microsoft remote desktop app compared to the windows version is that you will also then be prompted for the user name which it will then save for you, and you can also save the password if you wish – you can do this on the Windows version as well, but on the IOS app its much more intuitive.

Once you are connected there are various display options – such as having a mouse that moves around the screen when prompted by your finger OR having the screen move whilst the mouse cursor remains stationary (Personally we prefer the former).

We often find this app and the ability to access systems on the move very useful – it basically means your server is manageable by you from literally anywhere – on the train, at the airport – if you need fast access to your system for any reason, the Microsoft remote desktop app is the best way to make it possible.