What Is RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)?

RDP or Remote Desktop Protocol is a remote access protocol created by Microsoft for its popular Windows operating system family. RDP provides GUI (Graphical User Interface) to the remote system. RDP works over the network or the internet. RDP has the client-server architecture where the server should be running the RDP service in order to accept incoming RDP requests.

RDP History and Versions

RDP protocol first released with Windows NT 4.0 which is the server version of Windows 98. With Windows XP, every Microsoft operating system came with the RDP client and server software as built-in. The client and server software suite simply called as RDC or Remote Desktop Connection or Terminal Services .

RDP 4.0 is based the popular ITU starndard T.128 which is also called as T.share.

RDP 5.0 was introduced with the Windows Server 2000 and added some features like printing to local printers, efficient and less bandwidth usage according to the previous version.

RDP 5.1 was introduced with the Windows XP and added support for 24-bit color and sound. Also, the Terminal Services Client renamed as Remote Desktop Connection. This version was also provided for the previous Windows versions like Windows 2000, Windows 9x, Windows NT 4.0.

RDP 5.2 was introduced with Windows Server 2003 and added features like console mode connections, local resource mapping like directories etc. This version also more secure then previous version with the TLS 1.0 encryption.

RDP 6.0 was introduced with the Windows Vista and added features like Network Level Authentication, multi-monitor usage, large desktop support.

RDP 6.1 was released with the Windows Server 2008 and added support like administrator console connection.

RDP 7.0 released in July 2009 with the Windows Server 2009 R2 and Windows 7. This version added features like Windows Media Player redirection, multi-monitor support, enhanced bitmap acceleration etc.

RDP 8.0 was released with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. This version provides features like Adaptive Graphics, automatic selection of TCP or UDP for transmission, DirectX 11 support for vGPU, USB redirection, quality information, etc.

RDP 10.0 was released with the Windows 10 and provides advanced features like AutoSize zoom in addition to using H.264/AVC encoding.

RDP Features

As an advenced and popular protocol RDP provides a lot of features according to its competitors like VNC.

  • RDP support 8, 15,16,24 and 32 bit color support for different network speeds and experience.
  • RDP can encrypt connection with 128 bit TLS.
  • RDP can redirect remote audio to the local system.
  • RDP can copy local files and folders to the remote and remote files and folders to the local with just copy and paste easily.
  • RDP can redirect remote and local ports easily.
  • RDP can share local and remote system hard drives or partitions easily.

RDP Client

Windows operating systems provide the RDP client by default. The RDP client can be opened with the mstsc.exe command from the Run of just navigating the Start Menu->Windows Accessories-> Remote Desktop Connection.

You will see the following Remote Desktop Connection application main screen. It is very simple where you can put the remote system IP address or domain name into the computer part and click to the Connect.

If you need to see more options click to the Show Options which will show following tabs to configure different settings.

General tab is used to put user name and save the credential for later connections. Also this connection can be saved as a shortcut and opened easily later by clicking to the shortcut.

Display tab used to configure the diplay size like fullscreen an other resolutions. Also the color quailty or depth is configured in this tab like 32-bit, 16-bit etc.

Local resources are used to share local devices and resources with the remote server and redirect remote server audio to the local system. Also partitions can be shared by clicking to the More button.

Experience tab is used to set the current network connection speed for the optimum RDP experience. By default the bandwidth detected automatically and the RDP quailty set automatically. But you can also set the quality manually where lower speed means lower graphic quality.

RDP Security

RDP is a popular protocol which is used and configured on a lot of Windows systems. These systems generally open and connected to the internet and pose some security problems. If you want to use RDP and connect to the internet please take following topics to make your RDP more secure.

  • Do not open RDP into internet directly use a VPN connection.
  • Restrict RDP connections for specific users.
  • Limit password and login attempts to prevent brute force attacks.
  • Use complex and secure passwords that contains uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, special signs etc.
  • Update the RDP server regularly
  • Install antivirus for the RDP server.
  • If not requires do not connect RDP server to the internet or non-secure network.

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