remote desktop

What is remote desktop?

Remote desktop is a program or an operating system feature that allows the user to connect to a computer in another location, see that computer's desktop and interact with it as if it were local.

People use remote desktop capability to do a variety of things remotely, including the following:

  • Access a workplace computer from home or when traveling.
  • Access a home computer from other locations.
  • Fix a computer problem.
  • Perform administrative tasks.
  • Demonstrate something, such as a process or a software application.

Remote desktop connectivity relies upon any of a number of protocols, including Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Virtual Network Computing (VNC), NX technology and Independent Computing Architecture (ICA).

Remote desktop software exists for most operating systems and platforms, including handheld computing devices. Microsoft and Apple each have a product called "Remote Desktop." Other remote desktop products include Citrix XenApp, CrossLoop, Jaadu (for the iPhone and iPod Touch), GoToMyPC, pcAnywhere and Chicken of the VNC.

Learn More About IT:
> Learn how to share your remote desktop session.
> The Remote Desktop Control website provides an overview, screenshots and a FAQ list.
> Mark Minasi explains Remote Desktop security improvements.
> Brien Posey wrote this article about Remote Desktop troubleshooting.
> Wikipedia provides a comparison table for remote desktop software.

This was last updated in February 2009

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