MS Remote Desktop Mac to Win?

The hates Windows person here whose most current exposure to Windows is Windows 2000. I have a need for at least a 30 day trial period to run a SW package that runs on Windows 7 and above as part of some testing of LambTracker Registry functions.

I do run VMWare on one of my Macs but performance is suffering and my VMWare Windows install is the aforementioned Windows 2000. My VMWare is also very old and I’d need to upgrade it too to get it to handle current Windows systems.

Initial thoughts were to buy a cheap Windows machine and just do it. But I have very little desk space with 3 computers and a spare monitor already fighting over my desk. So then the idea was buy or repurpose some existing machine and put it upstairs and use Remote Desktop to run it from my Mac.

We tried using Remote Desktop to the Win 7 machine but it’s a Home version and won’t run the server necessary for me to gain access. Tried to upgrade it to Win 10 Pro and it failed. Hardware not supported we think. It was one of hubby’s old tower machines.

Since neither of us do Windows we’re flying blind on whether to just buy a newer Win desktop or not. I really wish I could test it with the package I need to see first before paying for a whole new machine.

I’m also scrambling to get some LambTracker bugs fixed that I need to have working and the data corrected before 8am tomorrow. I’ve got critical sheep work that needs to happen then that requires the LambTracker code to be working. So I’m not really running on all cylinders but would like to hear other suggestions or ideas we may have missed. There is a big sale of Win machines at Sam’s Club on 9 November so I’d like to know whether to buy one then as it’s a lot less if that is the best choice.

Open to suggestions here.

What about a virtual Windows machine?

This might be the quickest way to be up and running with your looming 8am deadline.

I do successfully run Win 10 in VMWare Fusion 11.x. I bit the bullet and bought Win 10 a while back for class-mandated software.

1 Like

Agree with John. A cloud VM would be the quickest way to do a trial from your Mac without having to buy Win and VMware/Parallels licenses.

Another quick and cheap option is Amazon (AWS) Workspaces:

1 Like

I’m still on VMWare Fusion 8.5.9. Upgrading VMWare is on my list but pending new Mac HW.

I think I have a workaround for the 8AM deadline to update sheep alerts. I got it working this am just need to go set them all. Am working on that now.

Have a friend coming by with a Win 10 machine to do the remote desktop test at 1pm.

How about installing Windows under a VM on your Synology NAS and use RDP?

Good thought, I didn’t even think of that one. Thanks! I’ll investigate that as well.

You’re probably aware, but there is a Microsoft RDP client for macOS.

Yes, that is what we were testing today.

A couple of things:

Not widely known, but you can install free version of Windows legally. Windows 10 is available for download and after the trial period, other than a nag screen asking you to register it, almost all functionality is available. The only thing missing is the ability to customize the desktop background. Microsoft decided to fight piracy and give up on disabling non registered Windows. If you don’t pay, they would rather you keep using it than lose you entirely.

IMHO, Parallels has been the best VM solution for me on the Mac. I’ve tried older versions of VMWare and the free VirtualBox (from Oracle now), but when I installed Parallels, the UI was cleaner, more polished, and performance was much better. Parallels has a free trial period which might get you enough time to do what you need.

Lastly, again, IMHO, the best remote access solution is Jump Desktop. I use it on both Macs and iPads to remotely access Windows, Mac, and *Nix machines. Jump Desktop has support for standard VNC, Windows RDP, and it’s own proprietary “fluid” protocol which uses less bandwidth and is fast.

Installing the free app on the Windows machine machines you don’t have to deal with licensing issues for RDP and it works faster for me.

On the iOS side, Jump Desktop supports a few special bluetooth mice so you can have true normal mouse support from an iPad to remotely control another Mac or PC.

Now iPadOS finally has limited support for a mouse, but the Jump Desktop support is native remote mouse controls and works with older versions of iOS and macOS so you aren’t forced into bleeding-edge upgrades. YMMV

I need to use an enterprise-class Windows app that is not available on macOS so as a Mac person, I decided I would rather invest in Mac solutions (Parallels SW, Jump Desktop apps, BT mouse for Jump Desktop and iPad) instead of buying a Windows machine.

Because when all configured, I have to deal with Windows OS in a VM, but I don’t have to get distracted with supporting other hardware and accessories (cases, power adapters, peripherals, etc.) and can use all my existing data backup solutions from the Mac side of things.

I’ll admit I don’t fully understand what you are trying to do, but if you want to run Windows you have approximately a billion options for doing it, from as mentioned VMWare/Virtual Box.

If you are looking for Remote Desktop, as I mentioned on the forums the other day, I am a huge fan of Chrome Remote Desktop, it’s a browser extension for everyone’s favourite browser

Another option for you is to simply rent a windows server or VM all the big cloud guys should allow you to use a windows server instance, particularly Microsoft’s Azure, most cloud providers give several months to a years free usage when you sign up.

Whatever option you go with, make sure your Windows image is fully patched and updated. There is a very serious flaw (discovered and patched a few months back) in the server side RDP implementation. This dates back many years and generations of Windows.

Update: Friend with Win 10 Pro version came by and we successfully installed the app I need to test and I verified I could use MRD to control it. Got Win 10 Home installed on one of the machines and are looking at the upgrade version now.

8 am sheep work deadline will be ok, got the required alerts set up in LambTracker and will be able to properly collect data for our researcher.

First look at the package that runs on Win and it’s a lot simpler than I was led to believe, so it should be relatively easy to replace it with modules in LambTracker. The big issue is going to be user interface. That is my bugaboo in general and for this package will be more important due to the complex displays/reports I need to produce. Does look like the Python code that is open source will be able to be integrated in and work for the more difficult equations so I don’t need to recreate it from scratch just modify to adapt to my specific use case. It will involve moving the database file on and off the handheld but I already do that regularly. I just need to clean up the interface for doing that so normal folks can do it without knowing the terminal app.

So, as soon as it’s light enough to work sheep we’ll get the experiment started and then I can come back in and focus on programming until we open up for our big farm tour event and end of season sale at 11.


Slightly off-topic, but I’m an annoying security guy at work, so why not here? :slight_smile: Virtualization software is one of those categories that’s really important to keep up to date, or to get rid of.

1 Like

Not off topic at all, Can I ask why? I had left the VM Ware stuff alone because it was working and the only things I did on that virtual machine are run one program, log into one secured web site and upload and download sheep registration transactions. No mail, no browsing, nothing else.

Visualization software integrates deeply into the host OS so bugs in it tend to become bug that affect the host. Couple that with the fact that it is supposed to enforce a barrier between host and guest, and that guest is often Windows and VMs (especially those rarely used) tend to be behind in their patching, Windows security issues can also become Mac security issues.

Update: Got a tower running Win 10 and got the remote stuff working from my own macs. Looked at my schedule for the next 2 weeks and decided not to get the 30 day trial of the SW until I will have a full 30 days to really run it through its paces. Currently thinking I’ll start after Thanksgiving and push hard to do the coding before Christmas.