Definition

remote desktop

What is remote desktop?

Remote desktop is a program or an operating system feature that allows a 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 access capabilities to do a variety of things, 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.

A remote desktop connection 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 Services diagram
The basics of Remote Desktop Services

Remote desktop access software exists for most operating systems and platforms, including hand-held 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.

This was last updated in February 2009

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