Connect to a remote Windows PC with Microsoft’s own remote desktop mobile app. Available for iOS and Android devices, you can access your Windows PCs from anywhere. The applications for such an app are virtually limitless. Want to make sure your disk is defragmented till you get back home or want to access data stored in Windows Library? No problem, just fire up this app on your mobile and get it done.
There are already a few remote desktop apps in the market, but they are all 3rd party programs. With Microsoft releasing their own version of the app, it makes us wonder if they have special features planned for the future, to extend the remote access capabilities that other apps could never offer. For now, however, the features seem very simple and plain. You’re able to control the mouse and keystrokes with ease on Windows 7 or Windows 8.
We’ll start by taking a look at what it takes to create new connections from within the app and then we’ll see it in action.
Create New Remote Desktop Connections
When you launch the app, you can click “New Remote Desktop” to set up a new connection.
Connection name: Name the connection anything you like for your own reference. This field is optional.
PC name: This is either the host name of the computer or its IP address. Since I’m working locally, I’m going to enter the internal IP address. Take note that if you have specified a different remote desktop port for your computer than the default 3389, you’ll need to specify it as such: host:port, or 192.168.1.156:3385.
Username: Enter the username you normally use to sign on to this computer.
Open the “Sound” settings to decide whether the sound coming from the computer shall play on the actual computer, on the device you’re using to remote in, or not at all.
When you’re ready to remote into the computer, return to the main screen of the app and select the computer.
Operating the Remote Desktop App
Microsoft Remote Desktop App for iOS
iOS users can also download the app here.
You may be returned with a certificate notification like below. If you trust the computer, just select “Connect always.”
The below screenshots are on Windows 8. You can swipe from the right side of the screen at any time to pull up the Windows 8 charms bar. It’s here you can easily search the start menu, as usual, shut down the computer, etc.
Click the keyboard at the top of the screen to pull up the custom keys. Notice the Windows key is at the top with the function keys to the left if you press “Fn.” You can cycle through different keyboards to find the numbers and symbols as well.
Sometimes the image is just too small to see. You can press the arrows like below to zoom up for a much clearer view.
Then use the scroll button as a joystick to move around the screen. You must scroll your finger over that point on the screen to move around. However, that’s just the default navigation method. Click the name of the remote computer at the top of the screen to switch to using a mouse like you would on a computer.
Of course, Windows 7 is also supported with this app. Here is a screenshot of a video I’ve pulled up. I’m not one to stream video over a remote desktop connection (especially to my phone), so I’m just including this to show how nice the quality is.
The iPad isn’t much different in terms of appearance:
Microsoft Remote Desktop App for Android
Android users can also download the app here.
Add new connections in a similar fashion to the iOS method above. You can get full access to the Windows 8 start menu in no time.
Open Microsoft Office or Photoshop on your phone with a remote desktop connection. See all your files as if you were in front of them, but from anywhere you like.