Windows 2008 exposure

Not too long ago I went to a Microsoft Event to learn more about Windows 2008 and of course get a copy of it so I will be able to set it up and learn about it even more than I already knew. The reason I said ‘already knew’ is because not too long before I came to the event I was able to work on Windows 2008 Standard up at work. I got it running on a new server and it will be our Terminal Server.

It has a few new features that I find very useful. One is the TS Gateway. It allows you to use the Remote Desktop Connection to burrow through a TS from the Internet using only port 443(https) and either connect to the TS itself or to other servers(and workstations). Of course you can lock it down and it actually works rather well. It works the same way that Outlook 2003 and 2007 fully connect to an Exchange 2003 or 2007 server safely over the Internet. It uses what is called RPC over HTTP(s). Let me just say that the TS Gateway makes things easier on the remote connection front. No need to mess with VPN bs or anything like that. Of course you would want to always make sure the TS Gateway is up to date. The TS Gateway requires at least RDC version 6.0. Windows XP SP2 with the RDC update or Vista come with it. Part of the settings are under the advanced tab on the configuration portion of RDC.

Anyway, another neat trick is something they seemed to have swiped(at least the idea) from Citrix. You can have a Web page, authenticated and encrypted of course, set up to share programs. This works well and allows you to run the program from the TS like it is running on your workstation. It even natively supports Dual Monitors. It is actually called RemoteApp. It is a bit more limited than it’s Citrix counterpart but it works just fine for regular usage. It does not support sharing applications per user. When you share an application, all users that are allowed to bring up the RemoteApp can run those apps. One glaring irritation is that the RDC version required is 6.1(partially due to the ActiveX plugin that comes with that version only). It currently is not being released as a separate product or update. It is part of Vista SP1 or XP SP3. SP1 for Vista has been released and seems to work well but XP3 has not been released but is scheduled to this month. We will see how well XP SP3 works…

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