Have you ever used Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) to control one machine, and then from that first session used RDC to control another machine? It gets a bit dicey if you want to see the first session again. Clicking the minimize button on the little control bar minimizes everything and you’re back to looking at your desktop. Until recently, I always thought I had to log out from the second to see the first. A major pain if you just want to check something quick.
RDC is a convenient way to control Windows machines. There are clients built-in with XP and higher.
With Remote Desktop Connection, you can easily connect to a terminal server or to any computer running Remote Desktop. All you need is network access and permissions to connect to the other computer. Optionally, you can specify special settings for your connection and then save the settings for the next time you connect.
If you’re not on a windows client, you might look into rdesktop.
Earlier this week I was connected to a server on a client’s network. It was the only server I had direct access to from the outside (via the wonders of Hamachi). However, once I was RDC’d to that machine, I could then access other servers on their network. So, from the first RDC session I’d start another one to control another server. I call this “nesting” RDC sessions.
When running RDC in full screen mode I could never get back to the original/primary RDC session. Hitting minimize on the control bar would minimize everything. This is an issue when I’m using my laptop — the 1280 x 800 resolution just makes me tend to run ‘em full screen. RDC sessions in a window, with no scrolling, end up being at 800×600 to fit which is a bit silly.
My solution to this turns out to be simple. After I connect to the first server, I unpin the top “control” bar. That will cause it to disappear unless the mouse is hovered at the top border of the screen. The picture there to the right shows the pin icon. Just click it to unpin.
Now, after making the connection to the second server, I don’t unpin that one. Thus, the minimize icon will actually do something useful: minimize the second session and show me the first session. Be careful though — if you hover the mouse up there too long, the session 1 control bar will drop down.
That’s a lot of build-up for something so simple, eh? I’m just sad it took me so many years to figure it out.
But Wait, There’s More!
Oh, and here’s an alternative: When in the second session, hit ctrl-alt-Break. That will pop the RDC app into windowed mode, but will leave the control bar still showing. Minimize via the control bar, then use the windows maximize to get back. This works great if you forget to unpin the first session’s control bar.
After ctrl-alt-Break, minimize using the red circled icon below
Now, you just have session one in the window, session 2 is minimized. So maximize 1 back to full screen by clicking the usual maximize button (again, circled red):