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A new update (version 857 for the Remote Desktop Preview client for Windows 10 is making its way through the Store and will be available shortly. This is an exciting release for two reasons:

  1. This release provides the last set of features we want to validate before taking this client out of preview to be the recommended Remote Desktop client on Windows 10 [mobile]. Expect this update to happen in the near future.
  2. Support for Azure RemoteApp. This provides a single client that can access your remote PCs, Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections) as well as Azure RemoteApp.

We already received a lot of positive feedback about running our client on phones that support Continuum for phone and our app quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the top apps being used in this scenario. As we continue adding more features, remember that they are available no matter which Windows 10 device you may be using including desktop, tablets, phones and Continuum.

The features in this release help you be more productive by:

  • allowing you to pin the apps and desktops you use frequently for quicker access
  • showing you your recently used items to get back to them faster
  • providing an extended keyboard with useful keys not normally found on the on-screen keyboard
  • giving you access to Azure RemoteApp from anywhere on all your Windows 10 devices with a consistent experience

While the Preview phase is ending, we know this is just the beginning and you can expect regular updates and features releases in the future. We always appreciate your help in making sure we know the features that are the most important to you and welcome your requests on our feature requests site. If you need to report an issue, drop us a note in the Remote Desktop clients forum including as much detail as possible.

Now, let’s dig deeper into what’s new in this update.

Pinning items to Start and accessing recent items

While the Remote Desktop client is a great place to add new desktop connections and subscribe to feeds coming from Azure RemoteApp or Remote Resources, you are not required to always open the client to access the items you use on a regular basis.

Instead, we provide two mechanisms to speed up access the resources you care about.

First is a highly requested feature on our feature request site, the ability to pin items for quicker access. You can now right-click (or press + hold) any items in the client and select Pin to Start. This creates a secondary tile on your Start screen allowing you to directly connect to an app or desktop without first launching the client.

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Figure 1: Pinning an app to Start

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Figure 2: Sample pinned items

Your second option for common items is to access the recent list. This can be done by right-clicking (press + hold) the client in the All Apps list or the Start screen if you’ve already pinned it.

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Figure 3: Accessing the recent list for the client

Extended keyboard

To facilitate using Windows and the apps running in the session, we added an extended keyboard that provides access to additional keys that are not available on the standard on-screen keyboard. The extra bar provides keys like Windows, Ctrl, Alt and function keys. Since we know space can be limited when they keyboard is up, we also provided a way to slide the extra bar out of the way by using the arrow icon on the left side.

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Figure 4: Extended keyboard

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Figure 5: Hidden extended keyboard

Access remote applications through Azure RemoteApp

Azure RemoteApp is a managed service allowing admins to install and publish applications on servers running in Microsoft Azure to their end users. Users can then access these RemoteApp programs from any device using one of the Microsoft Remote Desktop clients.

As a user, the first thing you need to do is to sign in either with your work or school account (OrgID) or with your personal Microsoft Account (LiveID) depending on which account your admin used to publish the apps to you. To do so, tap the add item button (+) and select Azure RemoteApp. Follow the steps on the screen to sign in with the appropriate account. Once signed in, the applications available to you will be visible on the Apps tab. Simply tap an app to launch it.

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Figure 6: Add an item from the main screen

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Figure 7: Select Azure RemoteApp

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Figure 8: Choose an existing account or add a new one

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Figure 9: Apps are now available on the Apps tab

If no apps have been published to you, you can still give the service a try. After signing in, you will be prompted to access the Azure RemoteApp trial which gives you access to 5 apps to evaluate the service.

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Figure 10: Prompt to access the demo apps

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Figure 11: Demo apps

Try it today

I encourage you to download the Remote Desktop Preview client from the Windows store and try out the new features.

The Remote Desktop client is also available on your other devices running Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, iOS, Mac OS X, and Android.

Note: Questions and comments are welcome. For troubleshooting requests, post a new thread in the Remote Desktop clients forum. Thank you!