As much as we all love our Macs, we still generally live in a Microsoft business world and need to connect and work with Windows boxes. While Microsoft does release its own Remote Desktop application to facilitate Mac users connecting to Windows machine, I’ve never been impressed with the interface for it (on either Mac or Windows). I’ve much preferred using the open-source CoRD project.
Two years since the last release of CoRD, its development team has finally released version 0.5, bringing a whole heap of polish to an already excellent software package. For me, the killer feature that CoRD has over Microsoft’s official client is the ability to have multiple connections going at once, all selectable from a list. The work flow becomes similar to a tabbed interface (although it’s not actually tabs).
A screenshot shows it the best:
The release notes for 0.5 show a large number of enhancements, bug fixes and optimizations in the multiple areas.
New Remote Desktop Functionality
Support for connecting to Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 has been added. Microsoft’s font smoothing technology, ClearType, can now be turned on, as well as experimental support for disk and printer forwarding. Custom screen resolutions can now be defined in preferences and then applied to connections.
User Interface Improvements
Many nice usability touches have been added, such as being able to set default connection preferences for when creating new servers or doing quick connections. The list of servers now has a search box at the top for quickly locating a server by name without scanning over the list manually. Hotkeys can now be assigned for commonly accessed servers and many other keyboard shortcuts, and small UI tweaks have been added to improve the user experience. You can also configure the application’s auto-updater to fetch the stable, betas or nightly builds to suit your risk level.
Behind the Scenes
Initial support for IPv6 has been put in, along with commandline automation. CoRD is now an Intel Universal (32bit/64bit) binary with full support for OS X 10.5 and 10.6. The general performance of the application has been increased, and many stability bugs have been addressed.
What It Won’t Do
As powerful as CoRD is, there are some things that still need the official Microsoft client. CoRD does not support Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol version 6.0. Windows Server 2008 needs to be configured to not use TLS or network authentication to allow CoRD usage. In addition, CoRD cannot run on OS X 10.4 anymore. While it will currently still run on PPC architecture, the team will no longer be supporting it.
If you haven’t tried CoRD and need to connect to many remote desktop, I’d highly recommend giving it a look.