Windows Remote Desktop

Accessing Windows from Linux

To allow access to Windows applications from within Linux, SNS Computing maintains two Windows 2008 Remote Desktop servers. To make accessing these systems asi easy as possible, SNS has created a 'wrapper script', /usr/local/share/bin/windows, that calls the rdesktop command with all the necessary settings to connect to a Windows Remote Desktop server. /usr/local/share/bin is in the default PATH on Linux, so you should be able to connect to Windows just by typing the command windows.

The windows command will start a Windows desktop on the local desktop although it is in fact running on a Windows Remote Desktop server. The Windows desktop will display in 24-bit color, with sound.

The available applications are the same as on the Windows PC's, with some minor exceptions. Some of the listed applications are not available on Windows Remote Desktop, either because these applications are already available under Linux (e.g. Mathematica, Maple, IDL, Matlab), or because they do not lend themselves well to being run in the remote desktop environment. Nevertheless, if you think of an application you would like to see available, please let the computing staff know.

If you need to change your Windows password, you may do so in Remote Desktop by selecting Start -> Settings -> Windows Security... Then click Change Password.

Accessing Windows from Mac OS X

  1. Start /Applications/Microsoft Remote
  2. For Computer:, enter

  3. Click on RDC -> Preferences. On the Login tab enter your username and password. For the domain, enter SNS.

  4. On the Display tab, increase the Remote desktop size to your liking and increase the number of colors if necessary for your work.

  5. Close the Preferences window then click File -> Save

  6. Click Connect.


The Windows Remote Desktop is for occasional use, e.g. opening an email attachment in Word format or composing a talk in Powerpoint. We have a limited number of licenses available, so please logout from Windows if you aren't actively using it. If you find yourself using Windows continuously; maybe running IE for all your browsing for example, you should consider switching to use a Windows PC.