Remote Desktop is something I can't live without.
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Though Remote Desktop, I manage at least one server remotely (it's in a hosting center on the West Coast) and I often connect to my regular desktop PC from my laptop via Remote Desktop and I might even have a Remote Desktop session open to a virtual machine -- all at the same time.
But since each Remote Desktop connection is in a separate window, switching between them on the fly can get pretty unwieldy.
Recently I found a freeware tool to ameliorate this problem. It's called visionapp Remote Desktop (vRD 1.4) and it's available from visionapp, a company that comes up with server-based computing solutions. The tool lets you manage multiple Remote Desktop sessions through a single interface that's reminiscent of the Microsoft Management Console. It's freeware, but you do have to register with the visionapp website to download it.
The vRD program lets you manage connections and connection credentials separately, so you can apply one set of credentials across multiple connections. You don't have to create and save individual connection files, and the entire collection of connections you have can be backed up and restored as needed. Connections can also be organized into folders, and each folder can have a set of credentials associated with it so that any connection placed in that folder uses that set of credentials automatically.
The connections can be viewed full-screen or in a tabbed interface. The remote desktop can be sized automatically as well. You can also set connection options such as whether to have audio or smart-card interfaces available to the remote machine.
Note: If you select a remote desktop size that's larger than what can fit comfortably into the tabbed view, the remote desktop window's image is down-sampled to fit. This may make fonts a bit difficult to read, but the desktop remains fully functional without you having to constantly scroll the edges of the window.
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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