Microsoft wants you to help improve Remote Desktop for Windows Phone

Way back in October 2013, Microsoft brought Remote Desktop apps to Android, iOS and OS X. At the time, the company said that it was "working on a version of the app for Windows Phone", but it took a further six months before it finally launched the Remote Desktop Preview app for its own mobile OS in April of this year. 

Since its arrival, though, Microsoft has been working to improve it, with the most recent update released on Tuesday. The key changes in this latest release are: 

  • Improved ability to connect to your home PC by name (with NETBIOS name resolution in addition to standard DNS lookups) 
  • Remote keyboard scaling to your display size

In a post on the Remote Desktop Services Blog, Microsoft's David Bélanger added that further support will be coming to the app later this year for: 

  • Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (coming this summer)
  • Remote Desktop Gateway
  • Remote Desktop Connection Broker 
  • Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections)

But in addition to these upcoming features, Microsoft is keen to extend the Windows Phone 8.1 app further with new features and tools that will add to its usefulness. As part of this commitment, the company has set up a feature-request site, inviting users to suggest improvements that they would like to see in future releases, and to vote on others' suggestions.

Head over to the UserVoice page to cast your votes, and be sure to share your ideas and suggestions for the Remote Desktop app with us too in the comments below!

Source: MSDN / UserVoice via WinBeta | lower image via Microsoft

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21 Comments

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Compaired to Splashtop, MS really sucks. If they could make more like that, it might help. For now, MS RD on mobile is useless.

Johan Steyn said,
Compaired to Splashtop, MS really sucks. If they could make more like that, it might help. For now, MS RD on mobile is useless.

Useless ? Works fine. Of course this is enterprise stuff, not consumer stuff. That is the main difference.

Rep isn't designed to take over your desktop, it is an enterprise tool which offers server administration or connection to a terminal server.

Robert Wade said,
I don't see how they can beat TeamViewer, frankly. I use it exclusively.

TeamViewer is a consumer remote solution requires minimal setup and configurations. RDP is a business solution for enterprise. People complain can't get remote desktop to work or hard to use. Guess what, you need an IT department to support an RDP infrastructure. if you don't have your IT department at home, you are using the wrong tool.

leo221 said,

TeamViewer is a consumer remote solution requires minimal setup and configurations. RDP is a business solution for enterprise. People complain can't get remote desktop to work or hard to use. Guess what, you need an IT department to support an RDP infrastructure. if you don't have your IT department at home, you are using the wrong tool.

That's bullship. RDP is amazingly simple, Microsoft just chooses to turn it off for home users.

Robert Wade said,
I don't see how they can beat TeamViewer, frankly. I use it exclusively.

It beats it on performance easily but definitely not ease of use. It would be nice of Microsoft allowed you to tie RDP into your Microsoft account so that you don't need to configure a dynamic DNS or remember your IP.

NastySasquatch said,

That's bullship. RDP is amazingly simple, Microsoft just chooses to turn it off for home users.

Its off by default, only available in the pro versions, requires a password to be set, requires you to manually forward ports, and requires you to know your IP or set up dynamic DNS. It's definitely not simple but the technology itself is far better.

mrp04 said,

Its off by default, only available in the pro versions, requires a password to be set, requires you to manually forward ports, and requires you to know your IP or set up dynamic DNS. It's definitely not simple but the technology itself is far better.

on top of all of those things you said, most importantly it only works when server and client are on the same routable LAN, with no firewall in between or port 3389 configured to open. no regular home user would know these things.

Unlike today's cloud and saas apps such as teamviewer, splashtop, which were designed to be simple to use(but requires cloud infrastructure hosted by service provider therefore you pay a fee), RDP came from terminal services in the old days which were designed to fulfill specific enterprise environment requirements. It is like comparing pickup truck vs sedan. they are all vehicles but for different purposes.

About time business users get some love.

I still want to know where this "business pack" is that was mentioned over a year ago!

dopydope said,
It has all been rolled up into wp 8.1
All the announced features are part of 8.1

I guess that makes me the fool for thinking that "vpn support" meant support for microsofts tunnelling protocol (SSTP). Instead the WP team decides to support IKE2 which has practically zero usage for remote access (site to site is fine).

The moral of the story is never underestimate the stupidity of the Windows Phone team!

TPreston said,

I guess that makes me the fool for thinking that "vpn support" meant support for microsofts tunnelling protocol (SSTP). Instead the WP team decides to support IKE2 which has practically zero usage for remote access (site to site is fine).

The moral of the story is never underestimate the stupidity of the Windows Phone team!

Its an old protocol that will never be supported. Move on with your infrastructure...

Edited by duddit2, Jul 3 2014, 6:07pm : sorry got my vpn techs mixed up there was thinking pptp

TPreston said,

I guess that makes me the fool for thinking that "vpn support" meant support for microsofts tunnelling protocol (SSTP). Instead the WP team decides to support IKE2 which has practically zero usage for remote access (site to site is fine).

The moral of the story is never underestimate the stupidity of the Windows Phone team!

I believe the VPN support is extensible, so there should be the ability to add more VPN providers, as illustrated by the "search the store for more VPN providers" link in the VPN settings.

duddit2 said,

Its an old protocol that will never be supported. Move on with your infrastructure...

Call that old or whatever you want. The vpn support is a huge blooper in my opinion. it is highly depending on 3rd party protocol support. And the number one damn problem for windows phone is there is no 3rd party apps. So that comes back to the problem, what can you do with that vpn support without having 3rd party apps? not much!

You look at supported protocols in server 2012 R2 remote vpn services, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP. That's the latest greatest server from Microsoft. guess what? windows phone don't work with them. outdated or whatnot, they are the basics and have to be supported!

Look at the new RDP app for windows phone, no rd gateway, remoteapp. they are in IOS android clients for long time. Microsoft needs to get their priorities right. they are not going to beat apple android in consumer space. get their butts working on enterprise stuff.

duddit2 said,

Its an old protocol that will never be supported. Move on with your infrastructure...


Quewha ? Old ? WTF? IKE has been there since windows 2000 and they supported that ? , Sure theres direct access but WP doesn't support that either so its a case of move to another vendor which kinda was my point all along about the WindowsPhone team being idiots undermining support for Server 2012 remote access...


greenwizard88 said,

I believe the VPN support is extensible, so there should be the ability to add more VPN providers, as illustrated by the "search the store for more VPN providers" link in the VPN settings.


.... Yeah and who is going to support Server 2012 Remote Access if not Microsoft ?

5 Days ago I set up fully working IKEv2 VPN on Windows Server 2012 R2 I also tested working Juniper Junos Pulse VPN with RSA SecurID software token.

On both occasions, the VPN connection from Windows Phone 8.1 worked fine without any problems.

So it's not true, that you cannot connect. Get the latest information before spreading FUD.

leo221 said,

You look at supported protocols in server 2012 R2 remote vpn services, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP. That's the latest greatest server from Microsoft. guess what? windows phone don't work with them. outdated or whatnot, they are the basics and have to be supported!

Although you are missing that IKEv2 is supported by WS2012R2 as well.

Scott Hellewell said,

Although you are missing that IKEv2 is supported by WS2012R2 as well.


And is a major PITA to setup/debug. SSTP is the be all and end all of traditional VPNs because it uses port 443 and looks just like regular web traffic there is no way to block this service without a NIPS and HTTPS inspection without blocking all https traffic.

Bottom line this and other vpn protocols need to be supported, The choice of IKE for the only supported protocol was idiocy.