Best RDP client for Mac OSX Lion
UPDATE: 2013.03.10 adding a new desktop client to the list as well as info for iOS and Android RDP clients.
UPDATE: 2012.04.05 added more info regarding certificate errors (and ignoring them!)
This week I have been using OSX alongside Windows. I quickly realized that I needed a good remote desktop connection (terminal server) client for Mac OSX Lion. Here are the primary candidates I considered:
UPDATE: new desktop client added to the list of candidates, iTap
UPDATE: For mobile usage, both on iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Android you may want to checkout:
For Mac OSX RDP cleints:
The first option is Microsoft’s official RDC client for Mac OSX.
The second option is CoRD, an open source alternative RDC client for Mac OSX.
I installed both and tested them from my MacBook Air to my Dell M6500 laptop and a variety of other systems over the course of a workweek. Here is the short version of my results:
CoRd has some cool features like automatic screen resizing when you resize the window and it has a nice interface for adding and saving connections. However, overall the perfomance was pretty bad in my setup. Lots of lag and just generally a little flaky in my use.
Conversely, Microsoft’s offering is fairly straightforward if you are used to the Windows RDP clients. It is a bit of hassle to adjust settings and save different connections, however, performance was EXCELLENT.
For me, the choice was clear: the official MS RDP client. It performs smoothly even on slow connections and did I not notice any deal-breaking* issues.
UPDATE: Some commenters have suggested that CoRD performance has progressed nicely over since this article was first written and iTap for desktop has also come online as a nice option for those willing to pay money for a RDP cleint. Those two clients are definitely worth taking a look at as unfortunately MS seems to be letting their MS RDP client languish 🙁
*Note, there is one minor annoyance: when connecting to some Windows based PC, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac may display a warning message: “The server name on the certificate is incorrect. Do you want to connect to this computer anyway?” You can bypass this message and still connect to the computer by clicking Continue. I am looking for a permanent solution (so you don’t have to press “Continue” every time)…
UPDATE 1: Commenter Zachary suggested I just fix any certificate errors, but alas this is not always an option for me.
UPDATE 3: Commenter Dustin has the easy solution for auto-bypassing certificate errors when connecting to Windows machines from Macs, awesome work Dustin!
If you’re working with saved connections…
File -> Edit -> “Edit A Connection”
Pick your saved connection.
“Always connect, even if authentication fails.”
The authentication they speak of is machine authentication, not user account authentication.
If its not a saved one, go from RDP -> Preferences. Then either let it save as default (not really recommended), or save off a connection.