Friday, August 22, 2008

Keyboard Shortcut in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)

When you start RDC, you can choose whether you want it to run in full screen mode or not. On the RDC connection window, click on "Options" -> "Display". For full screen mode, slide the remote desktop size option to the max, until it says Full Screen. Do not select your monitor resolution, as the RDC would then start in window mode.

Running in full screen mode will allow you using the same keyboard shortcuts as you usually use. ALT+TAB will shift between applications on the remote computer. START+D will show the desktop of the remote computer etc.

Which is great, but that means that the shortcuts won't work between our local computer and the remote one. We can always use a mouse, but programmers generally prefer keyboard shortcuts. So, how do we set so that the shortcuts work even when we are on RDC?

For our normal shortcuts to work, RDC must be just another application. So it needs to be in non-full-screen mode. To change back and forth between full-screen and window RDC, use CTRL+ALT+PAUSE or CTRL+ALT+BREAK. When the RDC is in window mode, the ALT+TAB wills shift between the RDC window and our local window applications.

When in window mode, there are some shortcuts that can help us navigate the remote desktop smoother. Here are some common ones.
  • ALT+PAGE_UP
    switches between applications from left to right (on the remote desktop);
    equivalent to ALT+TAB in normal shortcuts.

  • ALT+PAGE_DOWN
    switches between applications from right to left (on the remote desktop);
    equivalent to ALT+SHIFT+TAB.

  • ALT+HOME
    displays the start menu;
    equivalent to START key.

  • CTRL+ALT+END
    brings up the Window Security dialog box;
    equivalent to CTRL+ALT+DEL.

  • CTRL+ALT+BREAK
    switches the RDC between full screen mode and window mode
Now, how do you restart a remote computer? Generally, it's not allowed. And even if you have the permission to do so, the Shutdown option for the remote computer is usually disabled.

To restart/shutdown a remote computer:
1. Bring up the command windows (Start -> Run -> type "cmd")
2. Type "shutdown -r" to restart or "shutdown -s" to shutdown.
Note: Typing "shutdown" will give you an information about different options you have. It won't shutdown the remote computer yet.

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