Fast Guide to Microsoft's RemoteFX

This guide covers how Microsoft RemoteFX works, limitations only found in the fine print, and how it compares to remote desktop protocols from VMware, Citrix and Quest Software.

In this fast guide to Microsoft's RemoteFX enhancement to its Remote Desktop Protocol, learn about its limitations and the requirements found only in Microsoft's fine print. Also, learn how to tell when you are using RemoteFX for a remote desktop connection versus plain old RDP, and how it compares with virtual desktop protocols such as VMware PC over IP and Citrix HDX.


What you need to know about RemoteFX
Microsoft promises that the RemoteFX add-ons to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) create a high-quality user experience for Windows 7 desktops running in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Unfortunately, there is some major fine print to read if you want this awesome Windows 7 RemoteFX experience.

Microsoft RemoteFX improvements require Windows upgrades
The next version of RemoteFX offers the improvements that Microsoft remote desktop customers requested, but don't get too excited: It won't work with Windows 7.

The differences between RemoteFX and Citrix HDX
RemoteFX is available to everyone, giving Microsoft a protocol that seems to compete against partner Citrix's HDX. But in reality, the two protocols are distinctly different.

Comparing Microsoft RemoteFX to VMware PCoIP
From a technical perspective, Microsoft's RDP with the RemoteFX enhancements enabled is actually pretty similar to PCoIP, but these two virtual desktop protocols have different use cases for very different environments.

Comparing Quest Software's RDP enhancement to RemoteFX
Quest Software's RDP enhancement supports virtual desktops over the WAN and gives Windows shops an alternative to Microsoft RemoteFX, but the vendor-neutral VDI company supports using both products alone or together.

Microsoft's RDP and RemoteFX disappoint VMware user
One VMware user explored the competition's desktop virtualization tools and discovered that while Microsoft App-V impresses, RemoteFX does not. Here's why.

How to tell if you are actually using Microsoft RemoteFX
RemoteFX in the Remote Desktop Services role is easy to turn on, but how exactly can you tell if you've connected via RemoteFX or plain old RDP?

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This was first published in March 2011

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