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12/29/2009
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Remote Desktop: Now You See It, Now You Don't

Is it possible to use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection technology with Windows 7? As always, that depends upon which version of Windows 7 you're talking about.

Is it possible to use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection technology with Windows 7? As always, that depends upon which version of Windows 7 you're talking about.Remote Desktop is an extremely popular method of connecting to a remote Windows PC. Perhaps the biggest reason why, of course, is the fact that this software is already baked into each copy of Windows.

But that doesn't mean it is fully enabled in each copy of Windows.

According to Microsoft, all editions of Windows 7 include Remote Desktop Connection. The level of functionality you can expect, however, depends upon which version of Windows 7 a particular PC is running. So here's the scoop on Remote Desktop and Windows 7: - You can use Remote Desktop to initiate a connection from any edition of Windows 7. - You can connect to computers running Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows 7 Enterprise. - You can't use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, or Windows 7 Home Premium. This approach is similar to how Microsoft handles Remote Desktop connectivity in Windows Vista and XP. In the former case, users are unable to connect to computers running the four low-end Vista flavors; in the latter, users are unable to connect to computers running Windows XP Home Edition.

Don't Miss: NEW! Remote Access How-To Center

What happens if you're stuck trying to connect to a Windows edition that doesn't allow incoming Remote Desktop connections? Fortunately, the market is now crowded with third-party remote desktop access solutions. These products are often packed with features, they are designed to offer great security when connecting to remote systems -- even through a firewall -- and many of them offer useful free or very low-cost options.

In other words, if you're looking for a remote desktop access solution, shelling out for a Windows license upgrade is probably the least economical alternative. There are simply too many other products available that offer more features and better security, all at a very reasonable price.

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