Access Windows servers from OS X

After a hiatus of a couple of years I have recently come back to working with Windows servers – besides OS X and various Linux distributions, which have been my usual working tools lately. I realised that my old tools to access Windows servers would no longer do the trick. The Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac was never really very good but I had become used to Cord and it, too, would no longer work.

RDP problem

Apparently the problem is due to a difference in protocols between the client and the server and the two couldn’t negotiate properly on what protocol to use. I first tried to modify the server to default to the old RDP protocol and not try TLS. I even kept a virtual Windows client at hand to run whenever I felt a need to connect to a remote Windows server.

It turns out the absolutely best solution in these cases is to use the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available on the Mac App Store for free. It is truly a great application for this purpose and allows the user to keep a list of servers and connect to them quickly and easily. For the ultimate in user experience, run the Windows terminal full screen and use the three finger swipe to quickly switch between the remote server and the local OS X system. Sweet!