Hi, I’m David Bélanger, a program manager on the Remote Desktop Virtualization (RDV) team in Windows Server. Our team is responsible for developing the Remote Desktop Windows Store app, a free app available in the Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
The Remote Desktop Windows Store app was designed to provide a fast and fluid experience with a touch friendly user interface allowing users to easily connect to their remote systems.
In this blog, I’d like to introduce the new features now available in the Remote Desktop app for Windows 8.1.
For devices that do not have a physical keyboard attached, the Remote Desktop app now provides an easy way to bring up the touch keyboard from the command bar. Simply swipe from the top or bottom edge of the screen and tap on the Keyboard icon.
This icon is only visible if the system has a touch screen.
Managing RemoteApp and Desktop Connections
RemoteApp and Desktop Connections allows administrators to provide RemoteApp programs and desktops to users by allowing them to subscribe to a feed. The ability to add RemoteApp and Desktop Connections has been available in the Remote Desktop app since its introduction in Windows 8. However, to manage these subscriptions, a user still needed to leverage the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections item in the Control Panel. New in Windows 8.1 is the ability to fully manage RemoteApp and Desktop Connections from within the Remote Desktop app. To get started, swipe from the right and tap the Settings charm. Next, tap on Manage RemoteApp and desktops.
The Manage RemoteApp and desktops panel provides a complete view of all the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections already subscribed to and an option to add additional connections. In the example below, I am subscribed to a single feed called Work Resources that provides me with 21 applications and 1 desktop.
Tapping on Work Resources provides additional details on RemoteApp and Desktop Connections including the connection URL and status on the last update. It is also possible to update or remove the subscription directly from this screen.
These are all the options you need to manage your RemoteApp and Desktop Connections directly from the Remote Desktop app.
Dynamic Resolution Update
Another improvement available in Windows 8.1 allows the Remote Desktop app to dynamically update the resolution of the remote system when the local resolution or size of the app changes to provide the best experience.
There are multiple ways you can see this in action. First, if you have a tablet device that supports rotation (like the Microsoft Surface 2), you can rotate the device with a live connection to a remote PC and see the resolution in the remote session automatically update to reflect the change in orientation without the need for a full reconnection. Depending on your connection speed, the rotation can be as fast as the local resolution.
The second way to see this in action is when you have multiple monitors set to different resolutions. Moving the Remote Desktop app between different monitors with a live remote desktop session will automatically update the resolution to avoid seeing scroll bars or letterboxing.
Lastly, the update also happens when resizing the application itself to minimize the need for scroll bars. For example, on a system with Full HD resolution of 1920×1080, adding a second application side-by-side sized at 500px wide will result in the remote session’s resolution being automatically updated to 1390×1080 (to account for the app separator). Note that the app will not update the remote session’s resolution below 1024 as that would prevent some applications from running properly.
Supported Operating Systems
With the release of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, the list of supported operating systems that can be remoted to using the Remote Desktop Windows Store app is:
Windows Client OS
Windows XP*, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
Windows Server OS
Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Window Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2
* The oldest version tested and verified is SP3 for Windows XP
The updated Remote Desktop app for Windows 8.1 addresses some of the top customer feedback and improves the experience on some of the common scenarios. Try out the new features today by downloading the app from the Windows Store.
Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the RDS & TS forum. Thank you!