Microsoft releases Remote Desktop Preview app for Windows Phone 8.1

Back in October 2013, Microsoft launched Remote Desktop apps for Android, iOS and OS X. Notably absent from that list was Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform - the company promised that it was "working on a version of the app for Windows Phone", but did not give any hint of when users could expect it to arrive. 

However, Microsoft now appears to have quietly released that long-awaited app into the Windows Phone Store. Our esteemed former colleague, Robert Brand, spotted the "Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview" app on the WP Store this morning. 

The app supports a "rich multi-touch experience" according to its description, and includes full RDP and Remote FX support. It also claims to provide "high quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage."

The description also states that the app was most recently updated today, April 23. Curiously, Rob found that it was already on his list of purchased apps, though he couldn't recall previously installing it. When I reviewed my own Purchase History, via windowsphone.com, the app was listed as having been purchased on June 23 2012 - a few days after Windows Phone 8 was first announced. 

It appears that the Purchase History lists the date not of the Windows Phone app installation, but of its sister app for Windows 8, as both Rob and I have ascertained that each of the dates listed on our accounts appears to correspond to our respective installations of the Remote Desktop app for Windows 8, which launched back in May 2012. This suggests that Microsoft has made Remote Desktop a Unified store app - meaning it can be installed on multiple devices under a single licence - although its listing in the Windows Phone Store (both online and on-device) does not yet make this clear. [Update: Several hours after it first appeared on the Store, the app listing has now been updated to include the Unified app icon. Thanks to Neowin member Stokkolm for pointing this out!]

The Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone is now available to download from the Store, for anyone with WP8.1 installed on their handset. Yes, this app is exclusive to Windows Phone 8.1, so if you haven't yet installed the Preview for Developers, you won't be able to install the Remote Desktop Preview app either. 

Source: Windows Phone Store | images via Microsoft | Thanks to Robert Brand for the tip!
This article was updated after publishing to state that this is likely a Unified store app, and to correct an ambiguous reference to Universal Windows Store apps. 

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39 Comments

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Sign in with my Microsoft Account on Windows 8.1 Pro x64bit, can't seem to get my Windows 8.1 Phone to connect, error is 0x104. Otherwise seems like a cool feature that I may actually use sometimes

Also Use Avast Antivirus if that makes any difference, not sure if it does, but it doesn't seem to be blocking anything

Good at least they have bothered to make it available for WP. I tried it and indeed it works, including various touch gestures.

Of course considering the screen size, it is a gimmick nothing more.

Rd gateway is kind of redundant with auto-vpn which works a treat by the way.

I'm surprised how often I use this. While at lunch today I logged into my media server at home and updated some new albums I had downloaded but not imported into the media files. Then I logged into my home office PC and sent an email that was sitting in the Drafts folder because I forgot to finish it.

Yes, the screen is tiny, and yes it took me 15 minutes to do it from my phone instead of 5 minutes from my desktop, but I was waiting for my lunch order anyway. :)

This is great news! Installed and I connected to my domain-joined PC first time! Works really well. The only sticking point is Remote Desktop Gateways but I'm not complaining since I can use the built-in VPN if I need to. Wow, Microsoft are turning up the heat on WP, at last.

GASkinner said,
Anyone in Canada seen the app? Doesn't appear at all in the store.

Switch to US region and download it from that store.

Heck if you made the changes to enable Cortana, you'd already be accessing the US store.

MorganX said,
Would be nice if connections used OneDrive sync across platforms!

Yes, I was disappointed to find that missing. Hopefully they'll add it.

I'm hoping this has support for setups using a connection broker, or at least the ability to establish a console session.

Broughton said,
I'm hoping this has support for setups using a connection broker, or at least the ability to establish a console session.
It does support connecting to a console session. It does not support RD Gateway.

On the plus side, it's fully touch enabled. You can even swipe in from the edges when connecting to Server 2012 or Windows 8. And unlike the Windows 8 app, you can assign "friendly names" to hosts.

A good start, but not there yet (either version).

Forjo said,

On the plus side, it's fully touch enabled. You can even swipe in from the edges when connecting to Server 2012 or Windows 8.

THIS THIS AND THIS.

RDP GOD HAS LISTENED TO MY PRAYERS FINALLY.

/really happy except getting some 0x24 error. Will troubleshoot later.

Crimson Rain said,

THIS THIS AND THIS.

RDP GOD HAS LISTENED TO MY PRAYERS FINALLY.

/really happy except getting some 0x24 error. Will troubleshoot later.


I was getting 0x204 error.

Even though I could remote in using other RDP programs (even the ones available on windows phone before), MS's app wasn't connecting.

The solution is to go to windows control panel > firewall options > allow an app > scroll to remote desktop > make sure the check boxes are enabled fully; not partially (it should be black tick on white background; not gray background).

that's it.

Doesn't seem to work. Downloaded on my phone, connected to wifi, can't connect to my Windows Home Server. The modern Windows 8 app works with the exact same credentials.

Not working for me either. "remote desktop your session ended because of protocol error. error code 0x207." Any idea what it could be?

AsherGZ said,
Not working for me either. "remote desktop your session ended because of protocol error. error code 0x207." Any idea what it could be?

Try reinstalling the RD certificate. I think I have seen that before.

First off, confirm that you can connect remotely with a regular PC. A lot of times that will trigger the certificate alert, and it's really easy to correct it from there (either ignore the alert or install the certificate).

If you can connect from a PC, the problem is most likely not with the Certificate Authorities.

Here are some links that might help:

http://windows.microsoft.com/e...or-manage-your-certificates

http://social.technet.microsof...rvices?forum=w7itprogeneral

http://technet.microsoft.com/e.../cc463480%28v=WS.10%29.aspx

Hope this helps!

Nice one, will be installing this (Y)

Edit: Showed as already installed for me too, and searching via WP8.1 store still leaves a lot to be desired (used the link in the article instead!)

Steven P. said,
Nice one, will be installing this (Y)

Edit: Showed as already installed for me too, and searching via WP8.1 store still leaves a lot to be desired (used the link in the article instead!)

I was wondering why there was no link to the store, had to go back and found it, yes that worked a treat. Sad and amusing that MS own apps are so hard to find via their own store.

It might be time to go back to Windows Phone. Too bad the Lumia 930 won't support Glance, at least that's the early indication. There's always that little something missing. Not a big deal, but once you've seen it, you expect it.

PeterF said,
Finally :-)

YES! About time! =)

Now if AnyConnect had a vpn for wp8.1 I could remote in from anywhere, at any time =).

Nightkrawler said,
I wonder if it is also based on the iTap RDP engine that Microsoft purchased or if they are using their own/native implementation.

Being that Windows Runtime in Windows Phone 8.1 is aligned 95% to the Desktop Windows Runtime, I'd say they took the existing modern app, put it into a Universal Project, and then wrote the phone project to use that.

Expect to see an update to the Modern RDP app on Windows 8.1 to recieve an unspecified update when this gets out of beta.

At least that's how I'd tackle the issue.