Friday, October 17, 2014

Remote Desktop 101

If you have been around computers for any amount of time you have probably wanted to access, control, or test things on a different machine. I often find myself wondering how a feature or application will run on Windows instead of OS Mavericks. Other times, I want to test a feature on an older OS or even iOS device. How you accomplish this is a matter of personal preference, but I thought I would talk briefly about the simplest options in the next several posts.

In this post I will take you through my preferred method of remote desktop (and iOS) interaction. I'll give you some pro's and con's and why I choose to use them. If you have any trouble with these methods check the FAQs then send me a message via email and I will try to help you out.

Apple OS - Apple OS
Single User
Screen Sharing in Apple is as simple as a check box in SysPrefs>Sharing. With this tool enable, simply open your Finder window and CTRL+click (right click) on the shared computer. If you know the admin password, click share screen and authenticate. It's just that easy. Send files, interact, or just watch. 
  • Cumbersome, Saving authentication tricky, only interaction and sharing. 
  • Free 
Multi User
Nothing beats ARD (Apple Remote Desktop) for any number of users you wish to interact with. I am probably running this application 70% of my average workday. 

  • Download from the AppStore a bit costly.
  • Hands down amazing! Unix commands; multi-user observation and file sharing; control features including drag-and-drop between desktops; scheduling of tasks; saved authentication; history; bandwidth adjustments for efficiency
  • The list goes on and on... 

Apple OS - Windows
Single User - Emulation
VMFusion is hands down the best product I have used for running a Windows environment on a Mac. Parallels has been problematic for me over the years, and my current working configuration is Mavericks/VMFusion6/Windows7

Multi-user - Emulation
SourceForge CoRD. I have been using this product for about 4 years now and even with Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac available, I still prefer CoRD. For managing several devices, VMs, etc, CoRD is flexible and simple to set up.

iOS - Apple OS
My favorite method of remote control is SplashTop Desktop 2. I have it installed on all of my computers so I can remotely manage from any WAN/LAN with Google credentials. If you are curious about displaying iOS to OS, see my other posts on iBooks and Reflector App.

iOS - Windows
Doceri Desktop, but SplashTop is great on Windows, too.

Agnostic - Control/Collaboration
Team Viewer