Using Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDC Man) with Windows Azure Virtual Machines


UPDATE: I’ve posted a follow-up with a PowerShell script to automate this 🙂

UPDATE2: See here for an updated version for RDC Man 2.7 that adds support for PaaS instances.

If you find yourself using Remote Desktop to a number of machines then it is well worth checking out Remote Desktop Connection Manager. We’ve been using this in our load testing labs for a long time as it greatly simplifies working with a set of machines via Remote Desktop. I’ve also been using it for a while to manage connections to virtual machines in Windows Azure. In this post I’ll walk through the steps needed to add virtual machines in Windows Azure into Remote Desktop Connection Manager.

Step 0 – Install Remote Desktop Connection Manager

If you haven’t already, go grab Remote Desktop Connection Manager and install it!

Step 1 – Create a new connection settings file

From the File menu, click New, and select a location to save your new connection settings file.

image

Step 2 – Add a server group

You should now have an empty settings file. At this point, you can right click on the node in the tree and Add Server. However, if you do this then you can’t add further groups later. Groups can be a powerful way to help navigate a large number of connections, as well as managing their settings (you can specify that certain settings should be inherited from the parent). I tend to create an initial group to hold my connections:

image

Step 3 – Add a server

Now that you have created a group, right-click on it to add a server

image

This will bring up the Add Server dialog where we need to enter a couple of details:

image

Step 4 – Find the connection details

The details we are going to need are

  • Server Name (i.e. the address to connect to). This is the DNS name for the service
  • Port  – the port to connect to for RDP

There are a number of ways to get this information, but a couple of quick ways are:

  • the RDP file downloaded
  • directly from the Azure portal itself

 

RDP file

Sign in to the Azure portal and find your virtual machine. At the bottom of the screen, click Connect

image

This will prompt you to download a .rdp file. Save this locally and locate it in Windows Explorer. From there, right-click and choose Edit. This will bring up the Remote Desktop Connection dialog:

image

The Computer textbox has the information you need. In the screenshot above it contains rdcmandemo.cloudapp.net:62670, which gives rdcmandemo.cloudapp.net for the server name and 62670 for the port.

Portal

You can also get this information directly from the portal without downloading the .rdp file. Again, sign in to the Azure portal and find your virtual machine. On the dashboard page you can find the DNS Name in the “quick glance” panel on the right. This is the server name.

image

Switch to the endpoints tab and you will find the Remote Desktop endpoint with the public port listed – this is the port number we need.

image

Step 5 – Enter the connection details

Back in the Add Server dialog, enter the server name value from Step 4. This server value is the name of your Azure cloud service. Since you will likely have multiple virtual machines in a single cloud service it is worth putting a descriptive name in to help identify the virtual machine (the machine name is a good candidate, but you can put any description that you find useful!).

image

Next, click on the Connection Settings tab and enter the port number from Step 4 (you will need to uncheck “Inherit from parent”):

image

Click Add and you have added the server:

image

To connect to a machine you can simply double click it.

Summary

This quick walkthrough shows how to add virtual machines from Windows Azure into Remote Desktop Connection Manager.

Once you’ve done this then you can configure Remote Desktop Connection Manager as normal. You can switch into Full Screen mode from the Session menu. Settings can be configured individually, or at the server group level. For example, you can configure settings around capturing of local Windows Keys at any level (group or server).

Enjoy!

Comments (48)

  1. Tobie Fysh says:

    Any chance of whoever it is in Microsoft to update RDCMan to support Windows 2008 and above (things like list sessions and logoff from the right click menu)?

  2. stuartle says:

    @Tobie – I sent an email about updating RDCMan earlier as there are some features that I'd love to see released. I'll update if I hear anything!

  3. stuartle says:

    @Tobie – watch this space 🙂

  4. Rhys says:

    Holding out for the 2.6 version that apparently was used by MS staff at a trade show. Would be great to get this tool updated.

  5. stuartle says:

    @Rhys – it does feel like an update would be good, doesn't it? 😉

  6. djkouza says:

    Would love to see NLA support.  That is a big draw back for RDCM v2.2

  7. Caillin says:

    Definitely would love to see an update to this tool.  Still use it daily after all these years.

  8. FTP, Telnet, VPN, etc. says:

    Does the tool allow for the creation of FTP, PUTTY, telnet connections, or is it exclusively RDP? I use Remote Desktop Manager which allows for this, if RDCM supported these actions, I would probably switch.

  9. Jason says:

    Wish they would make a new version available.  the 2.2 version has issues with 2012 R2/8.1 machines after a few connections, and you have to restart the app to fix it.

  10. Jussi Palo says:

    Any news on RDCMan? It'd be great to get update to make it support dynamic screen size and other things in Win 8.1/2012R2.

  11. Reinaldo says:

    ditto… are there any new updated version of RDCMan? for Win 8.1

  12. Alex D says:

    I'm with Jason, we're running this tool for our IT team off of an RDS 2012 R2 server and it's a right pain when it crashes, roll on a new version!

  13. Matt says:

    Yeah, this is a really nice tool but I have over 1,000 Windows 2012 servers and this doesn't work well for that.

  14. stuartle says:

    Just to be clear, I'm not connected to the team that produce RDCMan, I just happen to like & use the tool 🙂

    I'm hoping that there will be an update soon too!

    @Matt – what is the issue you face? performance? navigation?

  15. Patrick W says:

    I use RDCMan on Win 8.1 and it's slow and freezes when connecting to my servers. Any ideas?

  16. Brecht says:

    Great tool but I find that it crashes quite often, especially with a lot of sessions open.

  17. han says:

    please microsoft upate RDCM, im tired of always have to use 3rd party tools.

    i have read somewhere that there was a 2.6 version used with microsoft internally.

  18. stuartle says:

    @han – I'm not associated with RDCMan in any way (other than as a user), but I would also like to see an update 🙂

  19. Dmitry says:

    +1 waiting an updated version of RDCMan on my Windows 8.1

  20. Nathan says:

    Just had an engagement with a Microsoft engineer and he was using version 2.7!  Come on Microsoft, release a new public build please!  Version 2.2 is very buggy.

  21. Tony says:

    @Stuartle, Do you know who we can bug about releasing an update? This tool is great but no longer works properly in Windows 2012 R2.

  22. Robert says:

    Julian Burger is in the about section of the application.

  23. Gregg says:

    I've been using RDCman from my Surface Pro 3 to admin my domain server group and it is awesome sauce.  I would dearly love an updated version with modern toolbars that are easier to prod with a finger, though.

  24. Arild Marthinsen says:

    Why dont you take a look at f.ex MremoteNG or visionapp ? (visionapp is $$$ but still better then RDC in my opinion). Mremote is what i using now. Freeware and better GUI and a search option that RDC 2.2 dont have among some things..

  25. Marco says:

    One thing I found with RDCMan is that if I use the undock/dock options, I occationally get mixed up results as in; I'm thinking I'm working with server X, RDCman says it is server X in the title bar, but it actually is some other server.

    Needless to say; I dont use the dock/undock functions

  26. Matt says:

    There is a cloud based manager that I found.  Going beta soon.  www.deskulous.com

  27. Usman Ali Shaik says:

    Could some one help me with enabling copy from remote servers to local while using RDC.

    Its makes my life easier. We have many servers in our environment. Thanks in advance and appreciate.

  28. Nolan says:

    Hooray!  MS finally released RDCMan 2.7 yesterday.

  29. stuartle says:

    Thanks Nolan! RDCMan 2.7 is indeed released. I've created a follow-up post with a link to the download and an updated PowerShell script to generate the RDC Man config 🙂

    blogs.msdn.com/…/importing-windows-azure-cloud-services-into-remote-desktop-connection-manager-rdc-man.aspx

  30. Tobie Fysh says:

    Wahoo on the update. Thanks for any pressure / influence you used.  

  31. Kevin says:

    Any suggestion on how to connect to consoles on ESXi 5.5?

    I can't seem to make it work 🙂

  32. Samiksha says:

    Hello,

    I have followed the connection setting as it is but getting error your credential didnot work.

  33. stuartle says:

    @Kevin – sorry, I've not tried it with ESXi

    @Samiksha – I'm not sure what error you're getting, but you could try using the PowerShell script I posted to generate the config for you: blogs.msdn.com/…/importing-windows-azure-cloud-services-into-remote-desktop-connection-manager-rdc-man.aspx

  34. George Erhard says:

    One thing that is sorely missing from 2.2 is the ability to allow networked shares (mapped to drive letters) as pass-thru to the machine being connected to.  

    When gathering logs from servers, i like to direct them to a network share so that anyone on my team can access them (and they don't clog up my laptop's HD).  

    yet with the change to 2.7, it only brings local drive letters to the remote system – mapped net shares are not even shown as an option.

    Any way to change this behavior back to the way 2.2 worked?

  35. Andy says:

    RDCman continually hangs – I have about 60 servers defined – anyone having a similar regular, painful rdcman hang problem?

  36. Zolboo says:

    Thanks it is very useful tool great

  37. Robby says:

    The App is not allowing itself getting tunneled through a VPN client for example; 'Crosslink'

    Whilst the 2.2 version is allowing this. The 2.7 does not allow it.

    Robust tool, great relief if this tunneling issue could be fixed :).

  38. Prerna says:

    My options to add new server or new group are grayed out. What could be the reason am I missing something?

    Thanks

  39. Josh says:

    Perfect. Exactly what i was looking for. thank you!

  40. affan says:

    i want to  select the path  but not select properly of  .RGD file extension???

  41. jbruns2010 says:

    A little off topic but has anyone got RDC manager 2.2 or 2.7 to work with local administrator credentials with 2012 or 2012R2?

    It rejects the account name as invalid but yet when you use mstsc.exe, it works fine.

    Have tried IP address, short name and long name for domain so it is inserted ahead of the back slash and account name and no luck.

  42. Chief says:

    My RDP is asking me to Add Address manual, Address and Description, please.any ideal of that??

  43. Salty says:

    Just installed 2.7 (from 2.2).  It must have done an import of my existing configs, as it left *.rdgOLD files in the directory.

    2.7 seems to crash a lot.  I keep my .RDG files on the network, not sure if related.

  44. Salty says:

    jbruns try using .administrator as the username.

    1. jbruns2010 says:

      Tried that, no beans.

      I have tried a dot, IP address, short name (netbios), long name (FQDN) and nothing. 2008r2 works fine. Something changed between 2008r2 and 2012

  45. s naseri says:

    hi dears

    I have problem :how can connection with remote desktop to an other pc  

  46. Yolanda siphunzi says:

    was helpful

  47. Ben says:

    Thanks you, so simple to use but I couldn”t work it out till I read this article

Skip to main content