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Top 10 virtual and remote desktop tips of 2012

Take a look back at our most popular virtual desktop tips of 2012, from RDS and Windows Server 2012 to VDI licensing and remote access.

VDI administrators have lots to deal with nowadays: remote desktop connections, mobile devices, new virtualization tools -- not to mention desktop management.

Throughout the year, our experts kept you up to date with VDI software developments as well as virtual desktop tips and tricks to make your job easier. It's no surprise that some of the most popular articles of 2012 covered issues with mobility, Microsoft VDI licensing and app management.

Check out the full list of our top 10 virtual desktop tips, including requirements for Windows Server 2012, desktop virtualization tools for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and everything in between.

10. Top five remote desktop connectivity problems

Remote desktop connectivity isn't always reliable. If you run into connectivity problems, check the network, firewall and Secure Sockets Layer certificates, for starters.

9. Who should use the iPad as a VDI client?

Remote or travelling workers may want to use their iPad as a VDI client instead of lugging a laptop. But it's tricky to get a full PC experience on a tablet, so it's important to have the right expectations and only use an iPad in the right cases, such as for customer service.

8. Citrix VDI-in-a-Box vs. XenDesktop

Citrix's VDI-in-a-Box and XenDesktop offer some overlapping features, but VDI-in-a-Box can provide simpler management, easier deployment and better pricing. For SMBs, VDI-in-a-Box could be even better than XenDesktop, but consider the downsides of this VDI software option: It doesn't support high availability, for instance.

7. Microsoft RemoteApp Programs for VDI haters

Our virtual desktop tips aren't just for VDI lovers. Because VDI and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) may not always be the best way to deliver remote applications, IT pros can look to Microsoft RemoteApp Programs in Windows Server 2012. RemoteApp offers a more lightweight way to deliver applications, and you can configure them for Hyper-V virtual desktops, the same as for RDS servers.

6. Let's get this straight: Microsoft VDI licensing

Microsoft's complex VDI licensing rules don't make virtual desktop deployment easy, but this guide is pretty straightforward. Let us clear up your questions on how to license desktops in the bring your own device (BYOD) era, plus the difference between Software Assurance, Virtual Desktop Access and other policies.

5. Choosing your desktop virtualization path: VDI or RDS?

You can choose between VDI and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services for desktop virtualization, but if you're indecisive, you don't have to choose at all. Each option is suited to different environments, so you may actually need both VDI and RDS to lock down some virtual machines and free up others.

4. What's the difference between a cloud app and a Web app?

Cloud apps and Web apps aren't interchangeable, but differentiating the two terms isn't cut-and-dried. Dropbox and ShareFile have Web interfaces, for example, but they're cloud apps because they run on back-end systems. (Email is also a cloud app.) A Web app, on the other hand, sometimes helps users to access a cloud service, but not everything accessed through the Web is necessarily a Web app.

3. What's new for RDS in Windows Server 2012

Deploying RDS in Windows Server 2012 is the same as the previous version, but there are some new features for provisioning and managing virtual desktops, including simpler desktop-collection creation and the ability to preserve pooled desktop states.

2. Five reasons Microsoft RDS printer redirection fails

If printing problems tempt you to go Office Space on your printer hardware, check out the five most common snags that come from printer redirection. Check user permissions, client requirements and more before you pick up your baseball bat.

1. Getting to the bottom of new RemoteFX requirements

Rounding out our top 10 virtual and remote desktop tips is one that hit home with a lot of readers this year. Windows Server 2012 brings enhancements to RDS and RemoteFX, but you need to know the new RemoteFX requirements  if you want to get your settings right, and knowing where to look is half the battle. If your server meets all the hardware requirements -- and there are a bunch -- you can enable the RemoteFX graphics processing unit. Then there will be even more settings available for configuration.

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