For remote desktop (terminal server) application hosting where the user is logging into a full desktop session, MAC users should have a good experience and there are Remote Desktop Connection Clients that can be downloaded for MACs, iphone, and ipad. (The Remote Desktop Connection Client is preloaded on all Windows machines and doesn’t require a download to use it). The Clients for MACs/Apple can be found here: http://www.RiptideHosting.com/blog/remote-desktop-connection-client-for-macs/
RemoteApp is an optional feature of Remote Desktop Services where users are not provided a desktop session but rather can only open a specified application. This feature doesn’t work well with MAC users in Windows 2008R2 due to the limitations below. It should work better in Windows 2012R2 for MAC users but only if using the RDweb login option. We have many MAC users using our Remote Desktop hosting although most are using full desktop sessions instead of RemoteApp. There are other options instead of RemoteApp as described toward the end of this post.
With RemoteApp, you can distribute a RDP file to a user (Windows 2008R2 only – “RDP distributable file” – this option is not available in Windows 2012R2) or you can set it up for users to access the specified program via a URL. The user can open the specified application but does not get a full desktop session to save/share files, etc.
- RD Web URL – When enabled, you can access the RD Web Access Web site at https://IPaddress/rdweb . In 2008R2, the website requires that the client browser has ActiveX enabled which basically limits usage to Internet Explorer and therefore excludes MAC users. (as noted here — https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731508.aspx). In 2012R2, the RD Web Access website no longer requires ActiveX and is supposed to work with many more browser options. However, Server 2012R2 does require that the Active Directory Domain Controller role be installed to use RemoteApp whereas it is not required in Windows 2008R2.
- Create RDP file via the RemoteApp Wizard to distribute to users. This works easily to create the file and other PC users should be able to open it easily. MAC users generally have issues when they try to open the file where the system doesn’t recognize it. Note: Windows Server 2012R2 no longer has this option to create the RemoteApp distributable file.
If you are going to use RemoteApp in 2008R2, contact us for additional instructions and tips that we can provide.
- Launch a program automatically upon login. You can specify a program to run automatically upon login. You can do this by individual user (profile/properties tab), for all users in RD Session Host configuration and in Group Policy. See our post here: http://www.RiptideHosting.com/blog/how-to-launch-a-program-automatically-when-logging-into-remote-desktop-server/
- User full desktop sessions but configure group policies to limit access to certain things, remove icons, prevent access to drives, etc.