Microsoft's new remote desktop app allows you to access your desktop from anywhere.
Credit: Remote desktop image via Shutterstock
Microsoft’s new remote desktop app may be just the thing for busy business travelers who need to access their files and fire up desktop applications while on the go.
Microsoft launched the app, which is compatible with all iOS and Android devices, late last week. It allows users to access the desktop of any connected Windows machine from their mobile device.
Third-party apps offering similar functionality already exist on both iOS and Android, but it’s the first time Microsoft has offered native remote desktop support for either major mobile platform.
The app uses the same Remote Desktop Protocol that Microsoft has employed for years, and supports any Windows PC that has Remote Desktop enabled. That option can be toggled on and off in the control panel.
For small business owners, the app is a reliable – and secure – way to connect remotely to your home PC from the office, or vice versa.
It’s also an easier way to use your Windows applications on the go. That means you can take advantage of the full desktop versions of Microsoft Word or Excel right from your smartphone or tablet to view and edit documents from anywhere, for example.
It might be most useful on tablet devices with screens big enough to display your entire desktop at once, but the app is also compatible with iPhone and Android handsets. It lets you zoom and pan to use desktop applications on a small screen, and features a pop-up touch keyboard.
Microsoft says the connection between your PC and mobile device is secure, thanks to Network Layer Authentication technology.
Another version of the app for Windows Phone handsets is set to be released soon, though no official launch date has been announced.