17
Oct
v

Need to get at something on your desktop, but just aren't nearby? You need remote access, and many Windows PCs have that feature built right in. Microsoft's new Remote Desktop app for Android lets you hook into the included remote access system so you can use your PC from a phone or tablet. It's also completely free.

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The computer you're accessing needs to be running the remote desktop host, which is not included in the basic version of Windows. For example, Windows 8 doesn't have it, but Windows 8 Pro does. If you want to go this route, that's a $99 in-place upgrade from basic to Pro. If you have the right software, the remote desktop client connects with very little configuration. The app lists all your remote desktops, gateways, and app resources in a series of holo-ish tabs. Microsoft's client supports multitouch gestures and employs intelligent bandwidth usage as well.

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There are a variety of other remote access apps out there, but many of them are lacking features or try to sell subscriptions to premium services. If you have the right version of Windows, this app is worth a look.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    How is the speed compared to something like Teamviewer or Splashtop?

    • Ezhik

      It's much faster and smoother - it's directly connecting 2 computers after all.

    • RashaYad

      I just installed and did a quick test; thus far, it was much easier to set up and pretty equivalent when actually up and running.

  • UndergroundWire

    LOL, Version 8.0 for a first release on Android.

  • Fabio

    Version: 8.0 = 4 + 4. Android 4.4 confirmed!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Android 4.4 was already confirmed. You mean Android 5.3 confirmed.

      • Ben Lee

        Not a gamer Artem?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Does my avatar look like I'm not a gamer?

          • Ryuuie

            What IS your avatar anyway? o.O

          • MasterMuffin

            Looks like the alien or a baboon :D

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            TIL. Archons are just alien baboons.

          • Guest
          • Robb Nunya

            Sorry, THIS is Archon!

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            If you have to ask, you already lost the game.

          • Justin W

            I wanted to guess an Archon, but it seems like to deep of a blue for that. Any hints? :P

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Bingo.

          • Justin W

            Avid SC2 player?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I was, but I had to quit as it started taking over my life and left no time for AP.

          • Justin W

            That sucks, but then again, you've made a great site and thousands of people love reading :)

          • Ryuuie

            OH...ok. I know what it is now (DETECTIVE WORK, GO!). Didn't know you played that. :P I haven't played much of it myself.

          • a

            aaaa

          • RitishOemraw

            dark archons are way cooler :P

      • RitishOemraw

        You mean Half Life 3 confirmed 5 times for windows!

        • Ezhik

          Android 3.0 Headcrab Hotcake

          • a

            ss

  • mustbepbs

    Uhh, I've been doing this for a long time with Teamviewer. Splashtop is great too, and it's virtually lag free. It just stinks because the free version only allows you to access your machine if it's on the same network. Teamviewer works really well though.

    • Fabio

      Do TeamViewer and Splashtop have the same features? I'm wondering whether upgrade from Windows 8.1 core to Windows 8.1 Pro lol

      • Ben Lee

        Yes they do and personally Splashtop is the better of the two by far.

    • Ben Lee

      Yes but they don't use RDP that is built into windows natively. Hoping this will be far more similar to a normal desktop rdp situation. This will kill the market for the current paid clients out there.

      • mustbepbs

        I'm actually using it to post this and it doesn't work any better than Teamviewer or Splashtop. Plus you'll need a static IP if you want to use it on a regular basis. My ISP charges extra for those.

        • h4rr4r

          This is more for professionals to use. So that is not really a limitation for us.

          If you want you can use dydns so you don't need a static IP.

          • mustbepbs

            Yeah because I totally want to pay for dydns when I said I don't want to pay for a static IP :P

          • enoch861

            DynDNS used to be free... what happened?

          • mustbepbs

            I don't know. It's not free anymore. The least they charge is $25/yr which isn't bad.

          • h4rr4r

            Sorry I thought it was still free. I have not used it for many years. NoIP has it free if you sign in once a month to update you name.

        • Ben Lee

          Well you don't actually. But then that's a networking restriction and not really anything to do with the scope of the apps themselves. For me using rdp all the time this is fr better, well I'm hoping it is, will be using over next few days to find out.

  • Joseph Donofry

    Darn. I just renewed my subscription to Splashtop. I guess I can still use Splashtop to connect to OSX.

  • Ezhik

    WHY IS THIS NOT ON WINDOWS PHONE OMG

    • maziar esfandiarpoor

      lol.even microsoft itself doesn't care about windows phones!!!

      • Ezhik

        :(

      • Robb Nunya

        That's funny! I don't care who ya are!

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Google pushes out better UIs for its iOS apps, Microsoft pushes out apps to other OS that are not on its own OS. They all love the other OS. :P

      • Ezhik

        Fucking tell me about it. It's like whatever ecosystem I use is cursed :/

    • atlouiedog

      My guess is this is more directed at tablet use than phones and Windows tablets already have remote desktop.

  • Danny Holyoake

    Why would you use this over Teamviewer?

    • Ezhik

      It's faster. Plus with the right settings it's almost like you are using the real computer - it's very smooth.

    • Sebastian Kleye

      And you log off from the console. Nobody sees what you're doing. Btw: RDP is not a help desk software.

    • Ben Lee

      Doesn't require a server on the desktop. This uses the built in RDP which is far superior.

  • Grimmjow

    Cisco VPN sucks on Android. I want the OEMs to build it in.

  • Pedro Alvizu

    Does this app only works with windows 8 on the desktop side? What about windows 7?

    • John

      Yes.

      • Mike Arnett

        Just tried it with my work laptop, which is Win7. The bigger headache was getting my phone on my workplace's internal wi-fi network.

    • RashaYad

      I used it to connect to our server (Server 2008); I will test on my Win7Pro tonight. Win7 Home will not work.

  • John Smith

    why not just use Dropbox?

    • karel

      Heh?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wat... Not sure if you understand what RDP is.

      • John Smith

        if i keep all my files in Dropbox, why do i need to remotely access my PC via RDP?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          RDP isn't just for accessing files, it's for controlling your desktop remotely, like VNC.

          • John Smith

            can you give me an example of real world use for a layman?

          • Mystery Man

            Your mom/sister/daughter/wife calls you saying she can't play videos on youtube because something called flash is missing. You remote in and install it for her.

          • John Smith

            i'm a more of a business guy and less a techie so i don't see much need for this personally.

            thanks for all of the replies.

          • PhoenixPath

            Easy: You're giving a presentation. The IT guy notices you're having issues with the sound config. He remotes from the back of the room using his tablet and gets it working for you without anyone even knowing anything went wrong. :)

          • GuidZilla

            Your Plex server is once again not responding to outside connections. So you remote in to restart it... (have to do this way to often for such a nice piece of software). I currently use Jump Desktop to do this via my phone or tab.

          • Matthew Fleisher

            This software isn't for laymen.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            You're out and about, and you remember that your computer is still on and you want to shut it down. You log on via RDP, and you have your full desktop in front of you, with the mouse and keyboard access. You can use it to check IRC messages or stop/start playing music from miles away. Really, at that point you can do anything.

        • Ricardo Neves

          I use it to play music in my HTPC for example

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          Picture this: I had to leave my home in a hurry while something was downloading. So I got where I was going, logged in through RDP, shut down the PC. Nice, right? That's RDP.

        • maziar esfandiarpoor

          I think I have to mention that a PC is not only a hard drive!!!

        • enoch861

          This software is not for you sir.

        • Mystery Man

          How can you download porn on your home computer from work using dropbox?

          • Glasofruix

            Easy, you configure µtorrent to watch your dropbox directory for new .torrent files.

        • Arve Svendsen

          Easy. You have a music studio with two pcs and really loud speakers. You know your coworker is in and doing some work. You log in and find the worst noise ever, turn up the volume and press play. Ah, good times

        • brosef

          this is to access your PC without actually being there. say you need to access a program, save that file you were working on, whatever.

    • Ricardo Neves

      Go home, you're drunk :P

  • Jonathan G.

    Can anybody help me out with setting up the app? I am looking at it but I have no idea what I am looking at really lol

  • Mike Harris

    I know there are plenty of remote desktop alternatives already, but I like this idea a lot for two reasons:

    1) It's free (yes, I know there are already free alternatives).
    2) It comes from Microsoft. I love an app that's officially supported like this. The alternative apps may work wonderfully (I've been meaning to try one, but never have), but if Microsoft changes something in Windows on their end, it's always possible that the app could lose functionality or stop working altogether. I realize that could still happen, but the odds of it getting fixed quickly are raised.

    • maziar esfandiarpoor

      I really prefer to use other alternatives, I don't know why I can't tolerate microsoft's products.

      • Arve Svendsen

        Try ElementaryOS. Once i tried it, i never looked back

    • Mike Harris

      I was thinking at first that it would also be cool if this came from Google, but I quickly realized that would never happen. If anything, they would create one to remotely access a Chrome OS, but they wouldn't want to unnecessarily steer anyone towards Windows.

      This also seems like a smart move by Microsoft, since it keeps Windows relevant - especially with the younger population (many of whom are using Windows PCs less and less).

      • James Heyneman
        • Mike Harris

          It seems like maybe you didn't read my entire comment. Either that or you added the wrong link. That article talks about remote access to a PC running Chrome – not Windows – and like I said:

          If anything, they would create one to remotely access a Chrome OS

          • Alexei Watson

            Did you know google made a remote access extension for chrome?

            https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-remote-desktop/gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp

            I know it's not an android app - but it seems like you might find it mildly relevant.

          • Mike Harris

            Thanks @jamesheyneman:disqus and @alexeiwatson:disqus. That doesn't exactly disprove my theory, but it is relevant to the discussion. I'll have to check that out.

            To be clear, I have nothing against Google creating an RDP app. In fact, I think it would be cool, albeit a little unnecessary now that Microsoft has released this one. I just don't see it happening.

          • James Heyneman

            I should have mentioned in my previous reply that Google released an extension for Chrome that lets you access remotely a Mac or Windows PC from Chrome. I have a feeling that's what the intended plan is with the Chromoting app. Looks like Alexei beat me to the mention of the extension.

      • Kurt Wurmser

        Actually, Microsoft has been pretty good about playing in the Android sandbox. They created on(X), which allowed scripting actions on your phone via Javascript.

    • fzammetti

      I don't think that you're wrong about this, but I'll say I just played with it for about 20 minutes and the experience I had with it was quite a bit worse than with Jump. First, there doesn't appear to be a zoom function (though I suspect I just missed it somehow). Most importantly though, the performance difference was pretty significant. Think I'll stick with Jump myself.

      • Mike Harris

        Yeah, like I said, I hadn't tried any of them. I just tried this one and it does seem pretty cool, but I also couldn't find any way to zoom.

  • Mehmet Fatih

    Can someone give some tutorial about how to set this thing up? I have written the pc ip and a friendly name for it but I dont know what to write for Domain/User and password?, (iam Windows 8.1 Pro) help please :)

    • Ricardo Neves

      Username and Password. Your PC must be password protected for this to work

      • Mehmet Fatih

        well how can i understand if its protected or not? :) I have been accessing the computer via my outlook adress and outlook password, or with the pin. Where can I learn my exact username and password?

        • Ricardo Neves

          It's exactly your outlook username and password (you can also use your first name as username)

          • Mehmet Fatih

            OK thanks, do i need to configure a gateway? (dont know what it is :D)

          • Ricardo Neves

            Nope

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      You need to have a password set on the PC for this. Reason why I'm not trying this further, I hate setting passwords on my PC and having to enter them my logging in, haha.

      • Ricardo Neves

        You can set it up to login automatically without any user input. Of course that's only useful if you're the only user

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          Where would I set that up? I know I've seen that option somewhere but can't recall where, hehe.

        • Guest

          Wait, isn't that option there when you don't set a password?

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          Thanks, found that on Googling already. Nice.

      • Ricardo Neves
    • SickoPsycho

      Sure- go ahead and email me you username, password and IP and I'll show you how to use it =)

      • Mehmet Fatih

        ok wait a sec pls :)

  • Kilam Daha

    Anyone have a better way to right-click other than going through that menu?

    • RashaYad

      USB OTG cable with mouse?

    • pbar

      I know this is old, but...
      Have you tried a two-finger-tap?
      Works for me.

  • maziar esfandiarpoor

    does it support windows 7???!

    • Ben Lee

      Good point. I'm assuming it will support rdp back to XP like all current clients do, but will need to test out.

    • PhoenixPath

      I connected and got 2 minutes of use to my station at work (Win7) before it locked up my tablet.

      • Ben Lee

        What were you connecting from and too? Out of interest.

        • PhoenixPath

          Nexus 10 (Stock 4.3) to Windows 7 Ultimate.

    • Armando Rodriguez

      Yes, can confirm it work on 7

  • Ryuuie

    Anyone getting where it's refusing to connect to the remote PC?

    • Mystery Man

      Start the Remote Desktop service

      • Ryuuie

        I've enabled the ability to remote connect but it's not going...does 8.1 have a Remote Desktop service? My laptop works fine in connecting...the app however...

        • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

          Only Pro can be remote access server. Normal Windows 8 can not if you have that installed. They both however come with the ability to remote into other servers.

          • Ryuuie

            I'm on 8.1 Pro, actually. I don't know what's going on. :( Remote Desktop always has hated me. haha

        • DoctorRabbitfoot

          Is your laptop on the same network? You might need to enable port forwarding for the RDP port of 3389.

          • Ryuuie

            The laptop is on the same network, yes. As is my tablet, but I'll give this a try after work.

          • yahdie

            This app defaults to port 443

    • itai_marom

      yhea i am getting it

  • Mystery Man

    Does it support sending WOL packet?

  • unhappybirthday

    Force close on a GS3. Woohoo!

    • maziar esfandiarpoor

      what were you expecting??? It's Microsoft, you should be happy you didn't get a bluescreen!!! :D

  • PhoenixPath

    Locked up my Nexus 10 hard after about 2 minuites. Never had that happen before.

    Of course it had to be a Microsoft app.

    Way to go, MSFT!

    • Ezhik

      Blame the app dev for the app crashing, blame the OS dev for the OS crashing.

      • PhoenixPath

        Nope.

        App devs should be able to work around virtually any OS-level issues unless the platform is absolutely unworkable.

        We've been writing apps for MSFT OS's for decades. We should be used to doing that by now. ;-)

        • pfmiller

          Nope. An app should *never* be able to crash the OS. If it can it is 100% a problem with the OS.

          • PhoenixPath

            Never claimed the OS didn't have issues. Blamed the dev for not being able to work around them.

            No OS on the planet is crash-proof. Life don't work that way.

        • Ezhik

          Well just because it's what you did before doesn't mean that it's good.
          As a result Microsoft now has to keep a bunch of bugs unpatched so that apps that "worked around" them don't break. And this results in NOTHING good.

          • PhoenixPath

            Why did they have to work around them? (he asked rhetorically)

            It's never "good". That's why we call 'em bugs and view them as "bad". ;-)

          • Michael Pahl

            Some people will always hate M$. its the way things go.

          • PhoenixPath

            "Some people will always hate M$."

            M$? Really? Are you 10?

            I don't love or hate brands. I like or dislike products. Heck, I probably shouldn't even word it that way. I don't really like Windows 8, for example, but there are some really good features I wish could be brought to Windows 7. I do like Android, but I really wish there was a way to incorporate some iOS and even WP features.

            Anyone who says they love or hate a brand isn't someone who's opinion was formed by reason. They like it or hate it because they are emotionally invested, which offends reason.

            FWIW: the "Way to go MSFT!" was snark. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously. ...but I can't say I don't enjoy seeing people get all uppity about it.

          • Michael Pahl

            lolumad bro?

            "Of course it had to be a Microsoft app."

            hating microsoft is entirely fine, as i hate them equally as much.
            I was simply explaining to Ezhik that there is no winning when it comes to defending them,

            [Insert hand into pants and pull panties out of ass].

          • PhoenixPath

            Mad? Newp.

            Hate MS? Newp.

            But... do go on...

      • parma

        Both are guilty.

        App dev for not testing their app on all device.
        OS dev for allowing such an app (or multiple apps conflicting) to crash the OS.

  • Ben Lee

    Arrrgggghhh comments have turned into IT support, PEBKAC :-/

    • Ezhik

      Plus a lot of people totally missing the point :(

  • Pedro Alvizu

    Don't know how to set up this app on my desktop side. I allowed Remote Desktop service, also the firewall is off.

    I added the PC ip on the android app side.. still not connecting.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      If you are on wifi your local IP address should work. If you are on another network then you will need to do some port forwarding to your PC on your router.

  • Brandon Bradley

    I connected with my galaxy tab 3 with bluetooth mouse and keyboard to my windows server 2012 machine and you can color me IMPRESSED... They kb and mouse work awesome with it too!

  • miso_sori

    Is this for Win8 only?

    • MeCampbell30

      No but its only really practical on windows 8 given the small size of most phones.

  • Christopher Heuer

    They also released the iOS version today, in case anyone else has friends on that platform: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id714464092?mt=8

    • Ben Lee

      So why no WP version? Microsoft are in a mess, really can't wait for new CEO, hopefully will mean a focus from the company....

      • DoctorRabbitfoot

        That is a little surprising. I know the old Windows Mobile had RDP client built in, but I haven't seen that Windows Phone does.

  • Gus70

    I wish it worked on my Sony NSZ-GS8 Google TV. Well at least I have an alternative 3rd party RDP client that works.

  • Nathan Borup

    anyone know how to enable apps for the remote resources menu? I want to have onenote on my tablet

  • Sam

    Now android please return the favour, i need one client app for phone on the laptop

  • Marcell Lévai

    Writing this comment from the app itself. It’s very impressive.

  • skeeterfood

    2X Client RDP/Remote Deskotop https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tux.client already does this really well for free.

    • CoreRooted

      I've been using 2X for a long time now. TBH, This RDP feels faster and smoother. Might just be a placebo effect or whatnot, but I can say it is right on par with the other RDP apps.

    • deltatux

      Ya, been using 2X myself, not sure if I want to install the Microsoft one, just because it's Microsoft's client lol.

  • Mikey Monteiro

    how do you even set this uppppppppppppppp

  • Jonathan Mallett

    I can't get this effing thing to work...

  • John O’Connor

    Teamviewer and Chrome Remote Desktop work pretty damn well and don't require a $99 upgrade for "basic" functionality. We all know that Win8 Pro is not preinstalled on any consumer PC (OK maybe gaming rigs)

  • Gk3Biz

    Saw someone ask so here's what I also shared on another site...
    These instructions are for Windows 8/8.1 Pro (Must be pro for RDC features.)

    1. On your metro start screen type in "Remote Access". Press enter on the tab that says "Allow Remote Access to your Computer".

    In that menu tick "Allow remote connections to this computer". Then click select users and make sure your email is listed there.

    Now open your command line and type "ipconfig" look for your IPv4 address. It'll probably something like 192.168.x or.

    Goto your app, enter a name, enter in the computers IP address and for your login credentials enter in your email address you use to login and your password. Should establish a connection immediately. Sorry if I missed anything, figured someone could benefit from this!

    • Lucas

      There's no option to "select users" in the remote access window. I'm using Windows 8.1. Help?

      • Gk3Biz

        Sorry Lucas I'm not 100% sure but are you using a Pro version of the operating system? You must be on Windows 8 / 8.1 Pro, the standard versions do not contain the remote desktop features.

        • Lucas

          No, I am not running a Pro version. I didn't know that ): Thanks for the info though!

  • Leonardo Rojas

    Looks like just another app. I use Team Viewer.

  • wlmeng11

    >not using ssh

  • TylerChappell

    Sooo....how the hell do I set this up?

  • sguyx

    only for Pro? seriously?

  • colbyseider

    Will this work for computers with Vista or Win 7?

  • Kellic

    Teamview. Multi platform, secure, client for Android as well. So no.

  • ujujujus

    Luckily I have W8 Pro. But is it better than splashtop?

  • ujujujus

    This thing is very laggy. Splashtop won!

    • didibus

      For me, splashtop is fast only when used inside my home network. Every time I try to use it over the internet, it is incredibly slow, like the slowest of all remoting apps I have tried, and too slow to even be used.

      TeamViewer is my go-to for remote over the internet. Splashtop for over my network.

  • Xaxxus

    can you please explain how you got this to work? I have tried everything and searched everywhere. Remote desktop works great if you are trying to connect from one computer to another, but from the app to a PC, all i get is Error host not found.

  • florinandrei

    Hey guys, Windows 8.1 Pro 9600 doesn't have Remote Desktop?

  • Lorenzo

    It doesn't work...fucking crap

  • Guest

    I HAVE A GALAXY TUB ~SAMSUNG~ AND ONCE I AM CONNECTED WHEN I TAP THE KEY PAD IT FLASHES AND GOES AWAY ANY IDEAS HOW TO FIX THIS! IVE TRYED EVERYTHING!

  • http://remotedesktop.co/ Vali D

    Does this remote desktop for android work on Lolipop 5.0?

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