Introduction to Remote Desktop

This video is designed to quickly teach and train anyone using remote desktop for the first time. Remote Desktop is a difficult concept to grasp, but we hope this introduction to its concepts, uses, and vocabulary will empower you to begin using these techniques in your everyday business activities.

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Introduction to remote desktop video transcript:

Remote Desktop can be a little tricky to grasp. By the end of this video, you will know the benefits of remote desktop, the nature of remote desktop starting with a definition, a metaphor, and some technicals, and two important practices to help prevent remote desktop issues.

Section 1: Why use Remote Desktop at all?

Well, the biggest benefit is that remote desktop allows you to work in your organizations secure network from pretty much any computer on the internet. Remote Desktop also has more computing power than typical computers.

Section 2: What is Remote Desktop - Part 1: The definition of remote desktop.

Sometimes referred to as a virtual machine, remote desktop is a way to use a centralized server for employees to access their unique user profiles through a remote session on a client. Well, what does all that mean?

Let's start with a centralized server. This is the server that is hosting your remote desktop connection, sometimes referred to as the "remote desktop server." User profiles are basically the pieces of the centralized server allocated to each employee. A session is created when you start a remote desktop connection and ends when you log-off.

And a client is a laptop, or computer, or a little box that connects you to the centralized server. It can also be referred to as the "local machine."

Section 2 - Part 2: A computer with extremely long cables.

To better understand the nature of a remote desktop it's good to compare it with something we're familiar with, like a traditional desktop computer. It has a tower, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. All of the computing power happens within the tower where there's hardware, the operating system, and applications. You send a signal from the mouse and keyboard to the tower and the computer computes and tells the monitor what's happening.

Laptops work in a similar fashion, however, everything is just much more compact. But for the sake of this example let's stick with the tower, monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

Now imagine that the tower isn't local. Instead, it is far away, and there are long cables for your monitor, mouse, and keyboard. This would be a remote desktop. The only difference is the centralized server is connecting to the internet which is then connecting to your computer. And this is a secure connection.

Again remote desktop is a way to use a centralized server for employees to access their unique user profiles through a remote session, on a client. It's remote because the computing power on the application you are interacting with is not happening in the same room as you.

Section 2 - Part 3: Getting a little more technical.

Most likely your remote desktop is running on a program called Remote Desktop. It looks exactly like a Windows session that is happening locally on your client, AKA the computer sitting next to you. However, the remote session is really computing somewhere else. This gives you the ability to log-on your virtual computer from pretty much anywhere. All you really need is an internet browser with a link to your organization's centralized server, then log-in.

Alternatively, you can use the remote desktop program built into your Windows or Apple computer. This seems to work better than an internet browser in most cases.

Section 3: Two important practices that may prevent remote desktop issues - Part 1: Logging off vs. disconnecting.

When you are finished with your remote desktop session, it's recommended you log-off rather than disconnect. Go to Start and then Log-off to end your session. That means that the centralized server is no longer running your particular user profile.

Disconnecting, on the other hand, is when you just click this "X". Sometimes if you walk away from your computer or even minimize your remote desktop while still working on your computer, you'll timeout due to inactivity with your remote session.

Timing out always disconnects you.

When it's disconnected you session may still be alive, sometimes as much as two hours, it's just not connected to your client. But after a while, it will finally close. And if you have any unsaved work, too bad. My recommendation, always save work before leaving the computer or minimizing your remote desktop window.

Section 3 - Part 2: Printing.

If you are working in remote desktop and desiring to print from home, it may not work for you. This is because your remote desktop printer configurations, also known as drivers, live on the centralized server. And these configurations may not match the printer sitting next to you. In these cases, you are probably going to need some administrative help from IT support.

That should cover the basics of working with Remote Desktop. Just remember, save often and if you're stuck anywhere, call your local IT support provider for help.