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What's the best Remote Desktop Application?

I just discovered that my beloved Windows 7 Starter cannot as an RDP server, by design.

What alternatives are there for connecting remotely?

Update: I just found this great comparison table: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_software

So the question now is which one would you recommend and why?

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    same lan, or from somewhere else? – Journeyman Geek Jun 25 '11 at 23:51
  • @Journeyman Geek Same LAN. – ef2011 Jun 26 '11 at 0:24
  • @afrazier Not really. Many of the solutions mentioned there work on Windows XP but not on Windows 7 Starter. Thanks for posting the link! – ef2011 Jun 26 '11 at 2:53
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    @ef2011: Why don't they work? Any of them work just fine on any other edition of Windows 7. What makes starter so special? – afrazier Jun 26 '11 at 4:33
  • @afrazier My question was specifically about Starter and you say they "work just fine on any other edition of Windows 7"??? – ef2011 Jun 27 '11 at 0:27

If its within the same lan, some flavour of VNC would be a good bet - its not really secure, and is relatively slow, but will work. Some flavours of VNC seem to be faster than others - but you seem aware of this.

other than that, there seem to be very few options - RDP servers arn't found in editions other than pro and better.

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  • TeamViewer is plenty fast, especially if on a LAN. After the connection is set up, it is peer to peer. Also, if it is not on a LAN, it does not require any firewall configuration, which can be troublesome for novice users. It is also very lightweight, and there is even a version that can be run instead of installed, so non-admin users can use it even. – KCotreau Jun 26 '11 at 0:07
  • Given there is not security issue, which VNC product would you recommend? – ef2011 Jun 26 '11 at 0:26
  • @ef2011 ultravnc seemed to work reasonably, as did tightvnc. Try to have the fastest network connection you can have tho @Kcotreau: eh, no point in duplicating answers - my reason for mentioning lan with VNC is- I personally would NOT run vnc over WAN.. tho i've had to set it up before for use over one.Its not as secure, or as fast as RDP, but its acceptable for quick, platform agnostic setups, or where nothing else will work. – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 '11 at 3:40

I've been using TeamViewer for some time. You can actually disable the option for TeamViewer to log into their system, especially if it's inside a LAN environment.

You can configure it so that it only accepts incoming connections from a LAN IP (e.g. and not from any Internet IPs.

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  • Thanks. Is this true for the free version as well? – ef2011 Jun 27 '11 at 0:29
  • there is no difference in using free version vs the commercial version in this setting. only difference I notice is how you use it and that when it ends a session. it displaying that it is a free version or not. maybe I missed something else but i dont think I did – pandie Jul 2 '11 at 3:42
  • One of the things I did is that using a VPN setting from teamviewer or Himachi (which I am using - I like the website controls of the VPN in himachi more than teamviewer) and having a static IP. I can control more than just teamviewer but sharing files as it is in a network instead of using teamviewer's file transfer. that helps very nicely since I don't need to open a program just to transfer a file over. – pandie Jul 2 '11 at 3:47

I would use TeamViewer as long as you are not in a commercial environment.


http://www.teamviewer.com/en/products/benefits.aspx (features)

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  • I am not really interested in TeamViewer's having access to what I see on my desktop. – ef2011 Jun 26 '11 at 0:28
  • @ef2011 They don't...they only facilitate the setup of a peer-to-peer connection, and you can also do it using their VPN option, to make it that much more secure. – KCotreau Jun 26 '11 at 0:53

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