Windows XP Remote Desktop: Everything You Need to Know

March 8, 2008 – 2:35 PM

The idea behind using Remote Desktop is simple: wherever you are, if you have Internet access, you can work as if you were sitting at your home computer. This isn’t a new idea, but it was given new life with the release of Windows XP Professional.

Previous versions of Windows had the ability to connect to a desktop remotely, but only by going through a Windows NT or Windows 2000 box running Terminal Services. Configuration was complex, the price tag was high, and it only flourished in enterprise environments. Joe Small Business/Home User was out of luck, unless Joe was a very smart guy and had some cash to throw at the licensing fee. I wasn’t that Joe, and as a result never used Terminal Services.

Windows XP changed all that–the Professional version came with a “Terminal Services Lite” client dubbed Remote Desktop Access that was capable of supporting one remote user at a time. It uses the same protocol as Terminal Services: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). RDP is a fairly efficient protocol, working relatively well over low-bandwidth scenarios.

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