Windows Remote Desktop Howto

CS Department Windows 7 office workstations and the CS Remote Desktop Server can be accessed remotely using the Windows Remote Desktop service. For security reasons, access from outside the Computer Sciences network also requires use of the CS Department VPN.

Please note that instructional Windows 7 workstations cannot be accessed via Remote Desktop, as it would lock out users physically at the workstation. You must use the terminal server instead.

From a Windows computer
From a Linux computer
From a Mac computer
Notes on using Remote Desktop

Connecting from a Windows computer

  1. If connecting from outside the CS Department network, first connect to the CS Department VPN.
  2. Open Remote Desktop Connection. This can be found by either navigating Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories or by typing Remote Desktop Connection into the Start Menu search box.
  3. Enter the hostname of the Windows 7 office workstation or to use the Department Remote Desktop server. The example below is configured for; replace with the appropriate hostname.
    A new Remote Desktop Connection window.
  4. To avoid authentication domain issues, click Options and specify your CS username (with the CS.WISC.EDU\ prefix) in the extended options. The example below is for a user named bbadger; replace with your CS username.
    Example of specifying the username in the extended options.
  5. Click Connect. If there is a warning about not being able to certify the identity of the computer, click Yes to dismiss the warning.
  6. After the connection is established, log in to the Windows login screen.

Connecting from a Linux computer

  1. If connecting from outside the CS Department network, first connect to the CS Department VPN.
  2. Depending on the LInux distribution you are using, rhe remote desktop client might be in an application menu. Look for "remote desktop" or "terminal server client". If not, or if you prefer, you can use the rdesktop command on the command line in a terminal window.
    Usage is: rdesktop [options] hostname. Below is a table of suggested options to use; for additional help and options, use man rdesktop.
    Option Purpose Usage
    -g Sets the resolution (width x height) or percentage of screen to use Strongly recommended
    -d Specifies the authentication domain for Windows to use, case-sensitive CS.WISC.EDU Strongly recommended
    -u Specifies the username for the authentication of the remote session, typically your CS username Recommended
    -p Using -p - causes the Linux client to prompt for a password, which when used in conjunction with -u allows you to skip the Windows login screen. Recommended

    By using all of these options together, you can bypass the Windows login screen. A full example of this use is: rdesktop -g 1280x900 -d CS.WISC.EDU -u bbadger -p - Due to the length of the command with options, it is also suggested to set up an alias for your preferred configuration.

  3. For remote hostname, use the hostname of the Windows 7 office workstation or to use the Department Remote Desktop server.

Connecting from a Mac computer

Microsoft has a free program, Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac, available to connect from a Mac to a Windows workstation. Support for installation and use can be found on accompanying pages of the Microsoft web page.

Notes on using Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop hostname

If you have a Windows workstation in your office, you can connect to the workstation using the hostname of that workstation (for example, If you do not have an Windows workstation, or prefer to use the remote desktop server instead, use as the remote hostname.

Resuming a workstation session and applications via Remote Desktop

To leave desktop applications running that you can resume via remote desktop, use Switch User rather than Logout when you leave your office. When leaving applications running from the remote desktop connection, choose Disconnect rather than Logout. Logout will always end any running applications.

Authentication Domain Issues

If the user name below the user icon is AD\username or HOSTNAME\username, click Other User and in the username box type: CS.WISC.EDU\username, replacing username with your CS user name. Note that CS.WISC.EDU is case sensitive and must be in all upper case letters.
Example of AD\username and Other User.An example of CS.WISC.EDU\username and password field.