Remote Desktop Connection tool resolves Vista and XP snafu

If you've worked with Windows Vista and Windows XP together in the same environment, you've probably noticed

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that when you attempt to connect to Windows XP via Remote Desktop from a Windows Vista machine, you get a warning message:

This warning is generated whenever you use Vista's Remote Desktop client to connect to another computer that's running an earlier version of the Remote Desktop protocol. Yes, it's possible to connect anyway and get all the same functionality, but you'll always get the warning unless you upgrade the XP machine's Remote Desktop components. In fact, you'll get the same warning if you attempt to connect to a Windows Server 2003 Remote Desktop session as well, since it uses the same revision of the Remote Desktop components as XP.

To address this problem, Microsoft just released Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 client tools for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. Both 32- and 64-bit editions are available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The changes to version 6.0 are fairly broad, but here's a rundown of the key features:

Network Level Authentication is a new method that performs user authentication before the full GUI appears on the client side, which saves network resources and makes it harder to perform a remote attack on the server.

Server authentication verifies that you're connecting to the correct remote computer by double-checking the credentials of the remotely connected machine.

Resource redirection lets you redirect Plug and Play devices that support this function, although it's only supported in the Vista device driver model. For instance, you could plug in a USB key on your local workstation and have it seen by the remote server.

Support for Terminal Services gateway servers. Terminal Services gateways allow authorized users to connect to a Remote Desktop session on a computer that's behind a corporate firewall or hidden from the public Internet in some other fashion, and doesn't need a VPN to work.

Multiple monitor support. Remote Desktop 6.0 can support multiple monitors with a total resolution of 4,096 x 2048 pixels across multiple display devices.

The new version also supports font smoothing and 32-bit color support.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the  Windows Power Users Newsletter, which is devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP users and administrators. He has more than 10 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

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This was first published in January 2007

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