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Remote Desktop on a Mac

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The Informatics Remote Desktop gives you a DICE graphical login, displaying on your computer.

This page explains how to use the Remote Desktop service on a Mac. This involves installing the client, then configuring it, then connecting to DICE. Installing and configuring the client only have to be done once.

Install the client

First, install the free client software, Microsoft Remote Desktop. There are two versions, Microsoft Remote Desktop 8 and Microsoft Remote Desktop 10. Version 8 is deprecated by Microsoft, but we find that it works more reliably than version 10. We recommend that you try both versions and use whichever works better for you.
Here's where to find them in the App Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-remote-desktop-8/id715768417
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-remote-desktop-10/id1295203466

Either click a link above then select View in Mac App Store, or open App Store yourself then search for Microsoft Remote Desktop.
Then click Get or Install to install it on your Mac.

Configure the client

Second, configure it:

  1. Start Microsoft Remote Desktop. You'll find it in the Applications folder or in Launchpad.
  2. Click + and choose Desktop.
  3. In the window that appears, enter xrdp.inf.ed.ac.uk in the PC name field.
    To use the staff, research postgrad, and visitor service, enter staff.xrdp.inf.ed.ac.uk instead.
  4. Close the window.

How to connect

  1. In Microsoft Remote Desktop, double-click the xrdp.inf.ed.ac.uk icon.
  2. In the User Account window, enter your DICE username and password then click Done.

Your DICE session should start.

Problems?

  • If you have a slow connection, and your remote desktop responds slowly, try reducing the number of colours it uses.
    To do this, highlight the xrdp.inf.ed.ac.uk session icon then select Edit Desktop from the Connections menu. Click Display then change Color Quality from High (32 bit) to Medium (16 bit). New sessions should then run less slowly.
  • If you have the wrong keyboard layout (for instance if shift-3 on a British keyboard doesn't bring up a £ sign) then the following command, when run in a terminal window in your RDP DICE session, should fix things:
    setxkbmap -model macbook78 -layout gb
  • Note that this problem may even prevent you from logging in if your DICE password contains symbols as well as letters and numbers, because symbols are often on different keys in different keyboard layouts, so your password will be typed in wrong. If this seems to be a problem for you, try logging in to DICE and changing your password to one without symbol characters.

  • If your DICE login doesn't work first time or if you don't enter your username and password before connecting, you'll see a DICE login screen - but a bug in the Mac client can make this look blank. Here's what this looks like, and what it should look like:


    You may also see a blank box with one blank button on it. This is an error message, and if you click the button you'll then see the login screen as above. If you get this problem with the version 10 client, try using the version 8 client.
Last reviewed: 
15/08/2018

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