One of the most popular tools for managing multiple remote desktop connections has been the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager. Unfortunately, in March of 2020, a vulnerability was discovered in the XML file format for that tool. Since RDCMan was original an internal Microsoft tool, it was decided to be discontinued and to move users to the newer Microsoft Store provided Microsoft Remote Desktop application.
With the new tool, there are a number of useful features with more being added all the time. The what’s new page lists bug-fixes and added features.
There are features that unfortunately have not been ported across yet. Notably the following:
Open the Microsoft Store and locate
Microsoft Remote Desktop. Click on the non-preview version to get to the installation and information page.
Click on the Get button to start the installation in the background.
Once the application has been installed, click on Launch to get started.
One great benefit to using the Microsoft Store is that all of the installed applications are automatically updated in the background as new releases are pushed out.
On initial connection, you may find a fairly blank screen. We need to start adding some connections and configurations to customize how the new Remote Desktop application works.
Click on the Settings option to configure a few useful connection configurations as seen in the screenshot below. Covered below are a few of the most useful settings.
Click on the plus sign next to the User account section to create a new saved account. You can optionally save a password here, but if left off it will prompt upon connection. Also, if you need to define a nice display name, useful for differentiating accounts, that also can be defined here.
Groups are incredibly useful for managing a large number of connections. It is very simple to define a group within the Remote Desktop application, you simply give a name and then assign the connection.
What is the connection manager without connections? Defining a connection is simple and easy to do. First, click on the Add button. Then, choose either Desktop or Remote resources.
Configure the PC name, select or add a user account, and click Show More if additional configuration options are needed. Under the additional options, you can choose the group to put the connection under, display settings, or local resources to redirect.
When adding a remote resource, it is as simple as entering in the email address or feed URL that will allow the discovery and configuration of the remote connections.
There are a number of features that the standard MSTSC client has that the Windows Store version does not. Notably redirection settings that are useful for the attached devices on the local computer.
Although the replacement for Remote Desktop Connection Manager is not nearly as full-featured as it’s predecessor, it is a solid replacement that is quickly gaining new features. With new features and abilities being released every few months, it should not take too long to gain feature parity.
With the need to manage many different remote connections a simple and easy to use connection manager is sorely needed. With the added benefit of being available through the Microsoft Store, this method allows for easy background updating and fast feature additions.