Windows XP Remote Desktop
One of the features built into Windows XP Professional is the “Remote Desktop” feature. It allows you to use a graphical client to log into your computer and use it from a remote location as if you were sitting at the keyboard. It is similar to VNC, which is a cross-platform method for accessing a graphical interface from a remote location. Prior to upgrading my Windows 2000 box to XP, I had used UltraVNC, a Windows-specific implementation that was supposed to be faster. This allowed me to use my Windows box from a “Window” under my Linux box, which is my primary OS.
Why would I want to use a remote desktop tool when the computer I want to access is basically sitting right next to me? The major reason: concurrent access. On one screen, I can see what two different computers are doing. I can cut and paste information back and forth between my Linux box and my Windows box.
VNC, while nice, still isn’t perfect on the server side in the Windows world. Screen redraws are a bit hit and miss at times. Cut and paste between the local and remote computer is also a bit hit and miss. It also takes a significant amount of CPU for some reason.
Remote Desktop on Windows XP just works. Screen redraws are flawless. If I use the latest release of the rdesktop client on Linux to connect to my XP box, I can also get sound transmitted across the network! Way cool!