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Old and invalidated by the Microsoft RDP client in the Mac App Store: Best RDP client for Mac OS X Lion and up

Posted by jpluimers on 2014/10/10

Back when I wrote this mid 2013, this was the best Windows RDP overview article I could find: Best RDP client for Mac OSX Lion.

And it all got invalidated when finally (after years of silence), Microsoft released AppStore versions of the RDP client for both Mac OS X and iOS:

Microsoft Launches ‘Remote Desktop’ Apps for Mac and iOS – Mac Rumors.

So I tried the Mac App Store – Microsoft Remote Desktop that runs on OS X 10.6.0 or later for more than a year, and I like it a lot.

This is what the AppStore version improved over the classic Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection:

  • It has more regular updates.
  • It remaps the Mac Command key to the Microsoft Windows logo key.
  • It uses the new RDP protocol version features which means fast response, even on slow network connections and better security.
  • Full screen support is superb.
  • Clipboard integration just works.
  • It is really stable.

Just so you know about alternatives,

for the record, this is the draft I wrote in 2013:

In my day to day work, I use these most:

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection

This one has better graphics than all the others, and I get a feel it has better support for the new security protocols.

But the keyboard support is lousy, it leaves the Command key to OS X, which means you cannot use it as a Windows key and loose all the fancy keyboard combinations introduced since Windows XP.

Microsoft is very slow with new releases.


Far more configuration options including things like disabling background and themes which are a breeze for slow or low-latency connections.

Forwards the Command key to the remote desktop so you can use all the nice Windows key shortcut combinations.

Sometimes has issues with copy/paste which a special build of CoRD 0.5.7 solves for most people.

For Word 2007 (not other Office products or other Word releases), there is a cursor painting issue.

Develoment has been slow (about as slow as the MS RDP one). The long term plan is to base it on the FreeRDP engine.

It does not support the Network Level Authentication introduced with the Remote Desktop 6.0 protocol. The not so cool thing is that CoRD fails to pop up an error message when a target system insists on Network Level Authentication. So of CoRD does not connect to a Windows Vista/7/8/2008 and up, but the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client does, then you need to make the target more relaxed.

Another trick if CoRD does not want to connect, then connect using a Windows XP system with the old Remote Descktop Client. If it gives you an error message below, then relax the target security:

[Remote Desktop Disconnected]
The remote computer requires Network Level Authentication, which your computer does not support. For assistance, contact your system administrator or technical support.
[OK]    [Help]


Ericom Blaze

I could get this to work with Windows 7, but Windows 8 was giving me some trouble at first..

With Windows 7 it was much faster than any solution I tried before.

It supports NLA, too bad it didn’t work with Windows 8 at first: there too I had to disable Network Level Authentication in Windows 8 and indeed: far hidden in a PDF, it appears Ericom Blaze does not support NLA.

iTap Mobile RDP for OS X

This was the only tool that worked under all circumstances.

There is a trial (hard to find, but it allows for 10 minute sessions) which worked great.

Keyboard shortcut redirection works also great: Ctrl and Alt stay, and the Command-key becomes the Widows key (with the exception of Command-Tab, they keep their Mac OS X function).


via: Best RDP client for Mac OSX Lion.

3 Responses to “Old and invalidated by the Microsoft RDP client in the Mac App Store: Best RDP client for Mac OS X Lion and up”

  1. MacHow2 said

    Hi Jeroen, We agree that the new Microsoft client is a massive improvement on the old one although about time too – the update was a long time in coming! However, there are still some very good alternatives to Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. Have you tried Jump Desktop for example? There are quite a few others too as we looked at here:

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