Friday, February 15, 2008

Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services RemoteApp Step-by-Step Guide

RemoteApp appears to be a new mode or feature expanding on the Remote Desktop application (mstsc.exe) in Windows (mostly Vista and Server 2003, though it was back-ported to XPsp2). It allows you to run a PROGRAM on a client computer as a native app, even though it's installed on the server, not the client. It looks to the user like any other program, but it's running from the server. For me, this would reduce latency when I try to run some of my programs at work from home by logging into the server, then logging in from there to my desktop...it's just not a viable option. This would theoretically allow me to run a program on the server that's installed on my desktop, which would be much faster. It would also allow me to run some of the mmc snap-ins from my desktop without having to log into the server.

Microsoft has a RemoteApp Step-by-Step Guide available. I haven't tried it, and I'm a bit confused that it appears to be strictly server (2003 or 2008)-based; I haven't found the steps for running a program installed on my desktop from the server. I also don't know if we have a license that allows us to install the Terminal Server role (which it says is required on the server to serve the program to the client). I'll have to look into all this.

I found this while looking for information about using WinPE as somewhat of a thin client. I found, to my surprise, that if I copy mstsc* from %windir%\system32 and %windir%\system32\{language} into the same structure on my WinPE disk, that I can run remote desktop quite successfully from the WinPE commandline (this is not the case with other apps, such as ones I've written - probably because of their dependancy on Windows libraries, which aren't available in the WinPE environment). My feeling is that it's not legal to do so, however, which is why I was looking for documentation on this process (never found any). RemoteApp would probably do what I needed anyway, and better, since WinPE is reported to reboot every 24 hours.

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