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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 -Sy 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