Skip to Main Content

Department of Computer Science

Technical Services and Support

Windows Remote Desktop

Accessing CS Linux Machines With Microsoft Remote Desktop

Created 2015-08-26  & Modified 2020-04-22 by Hanz Makmur

As of April 1, 2020, “due to recent and increasing exploits utilizing RDP, a decision was made [by OIT] to block this port from the internet into Rutgers University address space.”  This decision requires everyone using Microsoft Remote Desktop to utilize a gateway or VPN. This document now reflects the changed.

Table Contents

A. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from WindowsOS

B. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from MacOSX

C. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from LinuxOS

D. Connecting  to Windows Remote Desktop using a Browser

E. Using Different Windows Manager with Remote Desktop


Another way to connect to CS Linux machinesis via Microsoft Remote Desktop client.  Remote Desktop clients exists on many platforms. Below is instruction on how to access it via Windows, MacOS and Linux.

A. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from WindowsOS

Windows Remote Desktop client is normally preinstalled on all Windows OS. If you can’t find it, please install  Remote Desktop clients first.

To start a Remote Desktop Connection on your PC, in the Search box on the taskbar, type Remote Desktop Connection and select Remote Desktop Connection.

There are 2 ways to use Remote Desktop client to connect to  iLab machines.  Sometimes a VPN server goes down or a Gateway goes down so. If method 1 fails, try method 2 and vice versa. You can also use the browser method which  does not require any client installation.

  • Method 1: Connecting using  VPN service
    • First establish your VPN connection by following VPN instruction.
    • In  Remote Desktop Connection app, type the name of the system you want to connect, example ilab.cs.rutgers.edu and select button.
    • On a successful gateway login,  a connection will be made and an iLab Login window will be shown.
  • Method 2: Connecting Using  Remote Desktop Protocol Gateway Service.
    • OIT recommends this method to reduce load to its VPN server. This method utilizes a special remote desktop gateway.
    • Setting up Remote Desktop Gateway. (This needs to be setup once.)
      • To setup remote desktop gateway,  click on the Show Options  menu.
      • Then Click on the [Advanced]Tab which opens another window.
      • In the [Connect from Anywhere] section, click on button.
      • A window like below will open.  Under the [Connection settings] section, enter: rdgateway.rutgers.edu in the server name as shown below:
      •  click the  button when done to return you back to previous windows.
    • To start your Remote Desktop Session, simply Click   button
    •  A Remote Gateway login window will open as shown below.  To login to the gateway, you need to enter  your username as: rad\NetIDThe word ‘rad\‘ is important and dont forget to replace word NetID with your actual NetID.  On the second field, enter your netid password not CS Linux password.
    • On a successful gateway login,  a connection will be made and an iLab Login window shown below will open.

Logging into iLab machine Remote Desktop

On a successful Remote Desktop connection either via VPN or Remote Desktop Gateway, you will be presented with the following login window.

Enter your NetId in the Username field and your CS Linux password and click button.  On a successful connection, you will see a Linux Desktop.

B. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from MacOSX

If you are using MacOSX, Remote Desktop clients needs to be installed first as it does not come preinstalled on the system. You can download Microsoft Remote Desktop client from the Mac App Store.

Setting up Remote Desktop client

Once installed,  you need to set it up as follow:

  1. In the Connection Center window, click , and then select Add PC and enter as shown below,
  2. Because Remote Desktop protocol is now blocked by OIT from out RUNet,  you need add a remote desktop gateway by selecting Add Gateway menu.
  3. In the Add a Gateway window, enter as shown below
  4. In the User account field, select Add User Account and enter as follow,
    Note: make sure to replace your_netid with your actual NetID and enter your actual NetID password. When done, click on the button
  5. Click on the Display. This is where you can adjust your screen size. In this example we use . You can resize this to your liking. Once done, click button to list it in the Saved Desktop groups.

Using Mac Remote Desktop Client

To connect to ilab.cs.rutgers.edu desktop you just created, just click it of the list of Saved Desktop group.  A login window as shown below will open.

Enter your NetId in the username field and your CS Linux password in the password field and click Continue. On a successful login,  you will see a Linux Desktop.

To login, Enter your NetID in the Username field and your CS Linux password in the password field.  On a successful connection, you will see a Linux Desktop.

C. Connecting to Windows Remote Desktop  from LinuxOS

The best way to connect to iLab machines using  is to use Remote Desktop Clients on Linux. There are plenty of RDP clients on Linux like Krdc, Remmina, FreeRDP and rdesktop (no longer updated). For this document, we will focus only on a program called: FreeRDP which is commonly installed on most Linux machines.

Installing FreeRDP

If you are using your own Linux computer, you can install FreeRDP as follow:

To install rdesktop on RHEL/CentOS Linux, open a terminal and enter:

sudo yum install freerdp

To install rdesktop on Debian/Ubuntu Linux, open a terminal and enter:

sudo apt-get install freerdp-x11

Using FreeRDP

To connect, simply enter from a terminal

on Centos7:

xfreerdp ilab.cs.rutgers.edu

on Ubuntu 18.04:

xfreerdp /v:ilab.cs.rutgers.edu

which will open a window below.

To login, Enter your NetID in the Username field and your CS Linux password in the password field.  On a successful connection, you will see a Linux Desktop.

D. Connecting  to Windows Remote Desktop using a Browser

The University maintains an Apache Guacamole gateway that allows you to get a graphical desktop on CS Linux system or Windows machine with Remote Desktop service enabled. This method doesn’t require you to install any client. It works in your browser.  Note: The default screen size of your Remote Desktop session is set by the original size of your browser windows.

To establish a remote desktop session using your browser, go to https://macgateway.rutgers.edu and on Apache Guacamole screen, login using your Netid/Password.

Once  you’ve logged in, you will see a small area to enter connection info as shown.

Under “All Connections” section, Enter in the Connection URI field as below:

  • To login to machine named ilab.cs.rutgers.edu, you would enter:
    >_  rdp://Your_NetID@ilab.cs.rutgers.edu/?security=rdp
  • To login to machine named cray1.cs.rutgers.edu, you would enter:
    >_  rdp://Your_NetID@cray1.cs.rutgers.edu/?security=rdp

Use your own netid in place of Your_NetID.  Click in the  button when you are ready to connect.  On a successful connection, the following window will open.

 

To login, Enter your NetID in the Username field and your CS Linux password in the password field.  On a successful connection, you will see a Linux Desktop.

E. Using Different Windows Manager with Remote Desktop

On CS Linux machines, GNOME Windows Manager is set by  default. On some situation GNOME may not work correctly or users prefer different Windows Manager like Mate, XFCE or KDE.

To switch to different Windows Manager, you will need to add .Xclients file. To return back to Gnome, just remove .Xclients file. Once you created the .Xclients file,  logout and start a new Remote Connection.

To pick specific Windwows Manager, open a terminal session and type:

For Mate Windows Manager

echo "mate-session" > ~/.Xclients
chmod +x ~/.Xclients

for KDE Windows Manager

echo "startkde" > ~/.Xclients
chmod +x ~/.Xclients

for XFCE Windows Manager

echo "startxfce4" > ~/.Xclients
chmod +x ~/.Xclients

This concludes Windows Remote Desktop documentation. If you have issues, please consult the FAQ page or contact help@cs.rutgers.edu.