Telework from a MAC; Access your Windows Applications & Data

Working with a MacBook Pro is the way to go, but let’s face it; corporate IT seems married to PC-based applications. Users need a way to access applications hosted on windows platforms as well as manage machines running Microsoft operating systems. Additionally, storage space hosted on remote file servers can come at a significant cost savings over peripherals, assuming that it can be accessed. Remote Desktop for Mac (RD), offered as part of Office 2011 for Mac and also available as a free stand-alone download from the Microsoft website, is a robust program for accessing and managing Microsoft based systems from the Mac platform. Published by Microsoft, RD is the preferred way to communicate with their current Operating System releases.

The latest version, 2.1, will run on all Intel-based Mac’s, and can connect to XP, Vista, Windows 7, as well as all flavors of Server 2003 and Server 2008, including R2. Remote connections must be enabled on the target host (a check box in the security settings), and Remote Desktop Connections must be added as an exception if the Windows Firewall is on. After installing RD on the Mac, access is gained to the remote host via the IP Address.

The straight-forward interface can be configured for a number of resolution options, and contains settings to improve graphical performance over slow links (disabling wallpaper, themes, etc). After a quick run through of the settings, a properly sized window will display the login screen of the remote host, or RD can be configured to log in automatically with stored user and password information. From this point, operation of the remote computer is identical to sitting in front of it with a monitor/keyboard/mouse directly connected. The software can even be configured to understand the standard keyboard shortcuts inherent to Windows operating systems (absent in Mac world), or user defined shortcuts. And with the ability to maintain multiple concurrent connections, it is possible to jump back and forth between several hosts quickly while troubleshooting an issue.

The main advantage to RD is that the sharing is a two way street. The remote host can access local resources on the Mac, and vice versa. This can come in handy when trying to upload files from a laptop to a host, or when capturing log files from a server, and then being able to email them from a laptop. Local printing is also supported, so that print jobs can be sent from the remote host to a local printer attached to the Mac, rather than a printer sitting at headquarters. Additionally, if the worker needs to create content with a “Windows Only” application, they can do so through a remote connection, while still using data stored on the local drive.

Remote Desktop for Mac has opened the door to both worlds. Remote workers get the advantage of using the hardware and programs that work best for each person, and still retain the ability to access Windows PC’s and servers as if they were sitting in front of one.

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To learn more about how PC access with Mac Remote Desktop can improve your business, contact Infinitely Virtual by phone at (866) 257-8455 or visit