My name is David Bélanger, and I’m a program manager on the Remote Desktop team working on Remote Desktop apps. September brings another update to the Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview app as we continue focusing most of our efforts towards adding support for Microsoft Azure RemoteApp, Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections) and Gateway, all due later this year.
Keep the feedback coming on our feature requests site as it will help us focus on the right functionality to ensure the app meets your needs.
With that said, this blog highlights the changes we’ve made to the app which will be available from the Windows Phone Store later today.
Fn keys are now available
Today’s update brings the ability to access the Fn keys as part of the extended keyboard (displayed above the standard Windows Phone keyboard). Simply tap the FN button to show or hide the Fn keys (F1 through F12).
Figure 1: Extended keyboard showing the new Fn keys
Updated in-session experience
As we prepare to support multiple simultaneous sessions, we are making some changes to the way we handle session disconnection. With today’s update, you will not be required to press the Back button twice to disconnect the session and go back to the Connection Center. Instead, pressing back once will return to the Connection Center but will leave the session active. Tapping the same desktop tile will quickly jump back in the session while tapping on a different desktop will disconnect the existing session and connect to the new desktop.
To disconnect a session, first click on the Connection Bar at the top (where the display name is visible) to show additional options including the active sessions on the left and the ability to switch between Touch and Mouse Pointer input modes on the right.
Figure 2: The Connection Bar available at the top of the session
In the newly added panel on the left, tap the X on the session you want to disconnect. This will return you to the Connection Center after disconnecting the session.
Figure 3: Closing a session on the left or changing input mode on the right
Link to the feature request site
In a continued effort to ensure we are building the right app for our users, we added a link to our feature request site in the app itself. The link can be found in the About page, below the link to rate and review the app in the Store. If you haven’t voted for or requested your favorite features yet, here’s your chance!
Figure 4: About page with link to the feedback site
New Cortana command
Finally, we added a new voice command to Cortana (the Windows Phone personal assistant) to quickly add a new desktop connection. Using the following command will automatically bring you to the ADD DESKTOP page where you can enter the PC name, tap save and then start the connection by tapping the newly created tile.
Remote Desktop add [a] [new] desktop
If you have great ideas on how to integrate more deeply with Cortana, use the new link in the About page to submit a new feature request.
Try it now
Whether you are the owner of a new Windows Phone 8.1 device or have upgraded your existing Windows Phone 8 device to the Developer Preview version, I encourage you to download the Remote Desktop Preview app from the Windows Phone store today and enjoy the rich Windows experience on your Windows Phone 8.1 device.
Stay tuned for future updates as we work on adding Microsoft Azure RemoteApp support and more enterprise-focused features including Remote Desktop Gateway, RD Connection Broker, and Remote Resources (RemoteApp and Desktop Connections) later this year.
Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the Remote Desktop clients forum. Thank you!