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[rdesktop] is a free, open source client for Microsoft's proprietary RDP protocol released under the GNU General Public License. Use rdesktop to connect to Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7 RDP server to remotely administrate the Windows box.


As of July 2008, rdesktop implements a large subset of the RDP 5 protocol, including:

  • Bitmap caching
  • File system, audio, serial port and printer port redirection
  • Mappings for most international keyboards
  • Stream compression and encryption
  • Automatic authentication
  • Smartcard support
  • RemoteApp like support called "seamless" mode via SeamlessRDP

Still unimplemented are:

  • Remote Assistance requests
  • USB device redirection

Support for the additional features available in RDP 5.1 and RDP 6 (including multi-head display spanning and window composition) also have not yet been implemented.


The packages for rdesktop are available in the extra repo; to install simply use pacman as you would any other package

# pacman -S rdesktop


For a complete listing of options see the rdesktop man page. Here is a typical line

$ rdesktop -g 1440x900 -P -z -x l -r sound:off -u windowsuser

Reading for left to right:

-g 1440x900 Sets the resolution of the display to 1440x900
-P Enables bitmap caching/speeds up xfers.
-z Enables RDP datastream compression
-x l Uses the "lan" quality experience level, see the man page for additional options
-r sound:off Redirects sound generated on the server to null
-u windowsuser This defines the username to use when logging into the Windows box This is the IP address and port number of the target machine

remote desktop using netbios names instead of using IP address

If you don't know the IP address of a windows computer in the network you have to enable wins support in your arch linux. To do so you need samba. Enabaling wins is very easy just edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf and add the following line to it or uncomment the appropriate line:

wins support = yes

then you have to install winbind edit the /etc/nsswitch.conf and add the "wins" to the list of hosts.

restart smbd and nmbd services and test your success by pinging a windows netbios host.

See also

  • xrdp a daemon creating an RDP interface to the X server