Configuring RemoteApp programs and client connectivity
After you have completed the basic installation of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and created a session collection, you can optimize the user experience further. One way to optimize the user experience is by implementing RemoteApp programs as an alternative to session-based virtual desktops. RemoteApp programs are similar to locally installed applications.
You also need to be aware of how you can optimize client connectivity. An important element of this is certificate configuration to avoid unnecessary warnings and enable single sign-on (SSO). You also can customize Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) and control device redirection.
Publishing and configuring RemoteApp programs
With RemoteApp programs, you can use RDS to make programs on a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server appear as if they are running on a user's local computer. RemoteApp program windows are shown on and integrated with a client's Desktop instead of being presented as part of a session-based virtual desktop.
Using a RemoteApp program is similar to using a local application. When you implement RDS to provide access to a few applications, RemoteApp programs generally are easier for users to understand and use than session-based virtual desktops. Users can become confused when there is a session-based virtual desktop and a local Desktop. This is particularly true if the session-based virtual desktop is used in full-screen mode.
For tablet users, working with a full session-based virtual desktop can be challenging because small tablet interfaces can make it difficult to navigate the full session-based virtual desktop and start applications. RemoteApp programs launch the program directly from the tablet to simplify the connectivity process.
Scenarios in which RemoteApp programs can be useful include the following:
- Remote users:
Users often need to access applications from remote locations, for example, when users work from home or work while traveling. RemoteApp programs allow these users to access applications over an Internet connection. Using Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) with RemoteApp programs helps secure remote access to applications without using a virtual private network (VPN). Additionally, you can allow users to access remote applications through an RD Web Access page or integrate applications on the Start screen.
- Line-of-business application deployments:
Organizations often need to run consistent line-of business (LOB) applications on computers and devices that run different versions of Windows operating systems and non-Microsoft operating systems. Instead of deploying LOB applications locally, you can install applications on an RD Session Host server and make them as available as RemoteApp programs.
- Roaming users:
In some organizations, a user might work on several different computers. If users work on a computer on which an application isn't installed, they can access the application remotely through RDS.
- Branch offices:
In a branch office environment, there might be limited local Information Technology (IT) support and limited network bandwidth. If you use RemoteApp programs, you can centralize application management and improve remote application performance in limited bandwidth scenarios.
- Application compatibility:
When users have varying operating systems and configurations, conflicts may prevent applications from being installed locally. For example, multiple versions of an application may not coexist properly. Or an application may not be available for operating systems other than Windows. RemoteApp resolves compatibility issues by running the application on an RD Session Host instead of locally.
Understanding RemoteApp programs
A RemoteApp program is an application installed on an RD Session Host server. Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) and the RD Session Host use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to redirect screen information for just the application instead of the full session-based virtual desktop. If a user runs multiple RemoteApp programs from the same session collection, the RemoteApp programs share the same session on the RD Session Host.
RemoteApp programs include the following features:
- Start without prompts:
When you click a RemoteApp program link or tile, the program can start without any prompts or user interaction. In the background, the client establishes an RDP connection, signs in, starts the remote program, and displays its window.
- Run in own window:
A RemoteApp program displays in its own window on a client. You can move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the window the same way as any other application window. A RemoteApp window can show its content while you move or resize the window.
- Start automatically based on file type associations (FTAs):
You can start a RemoteApp program from an RD Web Access page, from the Start screen, or by double-clicking a file with an associated file name extension.
- Display live thumbnails and allow application switching:
A RemoteApp program icon displays on the taskbar even if the program is minimized. If multiple instances of a RemoteApp program run, multiple (tabbed) program icons display on the taskbar. When you move the pointer to the taskbar icon, a live thumbnail of the program window displays. You can use a standard Alt+Tab key combination to switch between running programs, including RemoteApp programs.
- Display notifications and dialog boxes locally:
If a RemoteApp program uses a notification area icon, this icon appears in the client's notification area. Also, RDS redirects dialog boxes and other windows from the RemoteApp program to the local Desktop.
- Have similar icons:
RemoteApp programs have similar icons on the taskbar as locally installed applications, but they include a "Remote Desktop" symbol. You can notice a change in the status of a RemoteApp program because the icon overlay is supported. For example, Microsoft Outlook uses a letter overlay to notify the user that new email has been received.
RemoteApp programs integrate so well with the local Desktop that users may not be aware that they are running on an RD Session Host server. This enables you to integrate specific apps from an RD Session Host server with locally installed apps on a desktop computer.