What are good alternatives to the Windows builtin remote desktop client?

I have tried Terminals and it is great but I've have run into numerous bugs with the latest release (currently 1.7e). Can anyone recommend an alternative similar to Terminals?

EDIT (in response to Adam Gibbins' answer): One of the biggest things I'm looking for is session management and a tabbed environment similar to the Terminals interface.

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18 Answers18


I'm a fan of mRemote. Can use RDP and PuTTY for all my connections, all within one window. It's flaked out on me once, which is a small percentage of when my whole workstation flakes out, so it's good in my book!

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  • I'm also a huge fan of mRemote. I've tried all the others mentioned in this thread, but this is the one that I've stuck with. I use it for all my RDP, SSH (PuTTY) and VNC needs and it "just works." It also does a fair job with web interfaces as well. – Chris_K May 08 '09 at 03:44
  • I've been playing with mRemote for the past few days now since you mentioned it. Love it! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!! – squillman May 11 '09 at 15:09
  • Unfortunately, mRemote was merged with a commercial (if potentially impressive) product, so it's no longer open source and will not be updated further. – Tomer Gabel Jan 26 '10 at 08:05
  • Yeah, with visonapp's Remote Desktop product. We've purchased Remote Desktop, which is very impressive, but it is no longer free. Worth every penny, though (easy for me to say because my company paid for it!). – Milner Jan 27 '10 at 14:41
  • mRemote NG is the way to go now. – Chris N Nov 09 '11 at 14:18

Not really your best "tabs" solution (I guess), but you could just create a multi-session applet using MMC. Just add the 'remote desktop' snap-in and add servers that way. The sessions will stay open and you can go back and forth between them through that MMC applet, make sure you save it though and put it somewhere easily accessible.

  1. Launch mmc (run>mmc)
  2. File>add/rem snap-in
  3. Add the "remote desktop" snap-in
  4. Add your terminal servers

Good Luck!

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  • Here's a screenshot: http://i.msdn.microsoft.com/Aa972201.adab10e1-2844-480b-b0c5-f8f5feb735cc(en-us,MSDN.10).gif Also another MMC from the Admin Pack - Terminal Services Manager will let you manage the sessions. – atom255 May 11 '09 at 15:11
  • Thanks for pointing me to something I was completely overlooking! +1 – squillman May 11 '09 at 15:53

There is RoyalTS, I tried this years ago and gave up because of the bugs. Maybe they have been ironed out.

However, if you create .rdp file for all your connections and choose group related items on the taskbar you are almost there. We now have all of these in a shared folder so all techs can use them.

Christopher Edwards
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  • I've used RoyalTS a good bit and it's very good now. Only drawback is that MS are locking down RDP to "approved" clients only, and RoyalTS isn't one. You can bypass this from the server side, but it's not default. – GalacticCowboy May 07 '09 at 22:21
  • BTW, that mainly affects RDP to hosts running Vista or later (Vista, 2008, Win 7) – GalacticCowboy May 07 '09 at 22:22
  • What do you mean by "MS locking down RDP to approved clients only". Royal TS is working great with Vista, 2008, and Win7. – Stefan Koell May 13 '09 at 13:45
  • Royal TS will work as client software on those platforms, but if you try to connect to a Vista, 2008 or Windows 7 machine as the *host*, there is a specific setting that must be set on the host (it is not, by default) to allow "down-version" RDP clients to connect. – GalacticCowboy Jul 10 '09 at 22:16

The built in remote desktop client is one of the best available in terms of performance. If you're really looking for an alternative though, you may wish to try some form of VNC...although its not multi sessioned which could be a let down depending on your situation.

It might help if you could explain exactly what's missing in the existing remote desktop client?

Adam Gibbins
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Windows built-in MMC snap-in "Remote Desktops" perhaps? ^^ (note the plural form)

Oskar Duveborn
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We used to use RAdmin (http://www.radmin.com/) - it was (a few years ago) way faster than anything else on the market. Could be it still is...

Darren Oster
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I use RD Tabs. It does the job very well, and it is free. Both x86 and x64 versions are available.


We use visionapp here in my shop. There is a free version that we used to use as well a paid that we made the boss buy us. Easy to setup profile if you many machines and has easy access to the console as well.

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  • This is where mRemote lives on. Polished app with less bugs than mRemote and also has support. – Wesley Nov 02 '09 at 18:19

Stumbled upon the continuation of the mRemote in open source space: http://www.mremoteng.org/

Was looking for UltraVNC support because the last free edition of mRemote didn't seem to work well with it. mRemoteNG is working out great so far!

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I agree about the bugs in Terminals, I really hope they get them sorted out. But to be honest, Terminals has so much potential I've been using it even with the bugs...

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Hands down the best one I have used to date is crossloop

It is free, very simple to use (both for IT and non IT folks) and I use it with family and most of my remote clients.

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I use terminals for all remote desktop sessions - unless they require the additional authentication that Vista and WS2K8 ask for.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that terminals has made my life much easier. Having multiple sessions connected without lots of different windows has been great. I especially like the ability to resize the window contents!

I tried it for VNC and SSH, but it didn't work. If I had the time, terminals is a project I would love to help out with!

Nick R
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Another remote desktop solution that I know of that allows Ctrl+Alt+Del functionality on a remote computer is RHUB appliance. It is one of the few solutions that combine convenience with advanced features. You get complete remote PC control, and can also perform remote reboot and remote lock.


My suggestion is to use Remote Desktop Manager. It is a great tool, polished and the standard edition which is free, is quite feature rich. Download it from - http://remotedesktopmanager.com/ and get the standard edition.

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A bit late to the party, but now there is MS's own Remote Desktop Connection Manager http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21101 which seems like a better version of the mmc solution mentioned here

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Remote Desktop Connection Manager rdcman


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I've used DameWare Mini Remote Client before... no tabbed interface though.

Shawn Miller
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I've used Kavoom!, which is billed as a "virtual" KVM switch. I've used Crossloop, copilot, and the built in Remote Desktop (Win XP) and Kavoom is the most productive.


It's great with a multi monitor setup. You get a little window with a 2 buttons (Local, Remote, etc. you can name them). You click on it and viola, that montor is your remote computer. Mouse and keyboard work normally on it. It's pretty fast (about like Win Remote desktop). You can even copy and paste in/out of the "remote window"

Costs about $40.00

[1]: http://www.kavoom.biz/ http://www.kavoom.biz/

Clay Nichols
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