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Microsoft Launches Windows Server Remote Desktop Web Client

In preview since March, Windows Server's Remote Desktop Web client became generally available on Monday.

The Remote Desktop Web client is production-ready in 18 languages, according to Microsoft's announcement. It can work with Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 (in preview), but it'll also work with the older Windows Server 2008 R2 (and later) servers.

End users can use this browser-based Web client to remotely access applications housed in datacenters. The applications and resources they access get published by their IT departments.

The Web client gives end users a more lightweight and cross-platform option for accessing applications compared with Microsoft's native Remote Desktop client option. For instance, via a URL, end users can access applications from anywhere using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer 11 and Safari browsers (HTML5-based browsers). The Web client will run on Chromebook, Linux, macOS and Windows operating systems, but there's no support yet for mobile OSes.

End users sign into the Web client using a URL provided by the IT department and the Web client will show a list of applications and resources in an "All Resources" tab in the browser. Users get single sign-on access and full-screen access to applications. Printing gets done via a PDF print capability. There's also keyboard and mouse support for the Web client.

IT pros have to set up a Remote Desktop Gateway and a Remote Desktop Connection Broker to enable the remote access. They also have to set up the Remote Desktop Web Access role on the server. One caveat is that the Web client doesn't work when Azure Application Proxy is part of the network mix. Another caveat is that IT organization should ensure that per-user Client Access Licenses (CALs) are used, rather than per-device CALs. Microsoft's documentation on setting up Remote Desktop Web clients also suggested that "your users will see better performance connecting to Windows Server 2016 (or later) and Windows 10 (version 1611 or later)" with the Web client.

In other news of possible interest to IT pros, Microsoft last week released updated Administrative Templates (.ADMX) for the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803), which can be used to configure Group Policy for that operating system. The updated templates were published on July 13, although they were first available back on May 5. It's not clear what changed, but the first version apparently was missing a file.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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