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How not to use Remote Desktop

I finally got around to hacking Pivot to always display the (Read More...) link, so it's time to celebrate by posting a short entry.

One of the best features that Microsoft added to Windows XP is Remote Desktop, a.k.a. Terminal Services limited to one user. All you have to do to use it is to enable Remote Desktop in Control Panel > System and then use the Terminal Services Client (mstsc.exe) to connect. This is a godsend on a laptop, where I have to occasionally connect back to my desktop to get something. Since Terminal Services uses a GDI mirroring driver, it is faster for non-multimedia apps than VNC, which polls the screen. The downside is that you can't run 3D apps.

When you use Remote Desktop, make sure you never, ever create a loop. One day I was connected to my desktop via my laptop, and then after forgetting which computer I was working on, connected back to my laptop within the remote session. Both computers promptly went black with their keyboards locked and I had to hard reset one of the computers to recover the other!


This blog was originally open for comments when this entry was first posted, but was later closed and then removed due to spam and after a migration away from the original blog software. Unfortunately, it would have been a lot of work to reformat the comments to republish them. The author thanks everyone who posted comments and added to the discussion.