Windows

Jump Desktop: Access your desktop from an Android tablet

Jack Wallen takes a look at Jump Desktop, an app for your Android tablet that allows you to remotely connect to your Windows or Mac desktop.

There are many ways to get to your Windows desktop from an Android tablet -- you can RDP, VNC, use Logmein Ignition, or any number of possible tools. The tool that I prefer to use for this task is Jump Desktop, which allows you to access your Windows or Mac desktop from anywhere. With the help of a Gmail account, this process is incredibly simple.

Jump Desktop offers the following features:

General
  • Supports RDP and VNC
  • Multi-touch ready
  • Easy and secure setup
  • SSH Tunnel support
  • Full support for multitasking
  • Supports large custom screen resolution
  • Full mouse support
RDP features
  • Supports Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, SBS Server
  • 40/56/128bit RDP, TLS/SSL, FIPS and NLA authentication support
  • 8, 16, and 24-bit colors and all RDP performance options
  • Multiple monitor support on Windows 7 and above
  • Console sessions
  • Audio streaming
VNC features
  • Supports Mac OS X, TightVNC, RealVNC, UltraVNC, Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • Supports SSL encryption (when used with Jump's automatic setup)
  • 8 and 16-bit color
  • OS X Screen Sharing support
  • Multiple monitor support
  • Supported encodings: copyrect, zrle, tight, (zlib)hextile, zlib, rre, raw, desktop-resize

Installation

There are two versions of Jump Desktop:

  • Free: You can only connect to one desktop
  • Paid: For $9.99 (USD), you can connect to as many machines as you need

The installation of Jump Desktop consists of two phases. The first phase is installing the desktop piece. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Jump Desktop client for your desktop (for Mac versions, go here)
  2. Double-click the downloaded file
  3. Walk through the simple installation wizard
  4. Once the installation is complete, the client should open. From the initial window (Figure A), click on the Start Automatic Setup button.
  5. Figure A

    The automatic setup is the easiest route to success.
  6. The next window (Figure B) will ask you to select the means by which you'll be accessing your desktop. You have two choices: VNC or RDP. Unless you've manually set up a VNC server on the Windows machine, you'll want to stick with the default, which is RDP.
  7. Figure B

    The default (and recommended) method is RDP.
  8. Click Next to continue
  9. The final setup screen requests your Gmail authentication. Jump Desktop uses the Google servers to make the connection between tablet and desktop. Enter your Gmail username and password. Once you've entered that information, click Next. Once the authentication is complete, you're ready to continue.

Now, it's time to install the tablet piece of Jump Desktop. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "jump desktop" (no quotes)
  3. Tap Install
  4. Tap Accept & download
  5. Allow the installation to complete

Usage

Go to the app drawer and tap on the Jump Desktop launcher. This will open the setup screen (Figure C). From that screen, tap Automatic Setup. Figure C

Here you see Jump Desktop on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
After you tap the Automatic Setup button, you'll be asked to enter your Gmail credentials again. Upon successful authentication, you'll see a listing of the machine(s) you've connected via Jump Desktop (Figure D). Figure D

To get to the settings of Jump Desktop, tap the cog icon in the upper left corner.
Tap the listing of the machine that you want to log into. When prompted, enter the machine's credentials. If that machine is on a Windows domain, you'll also need to enter the domain. After it authenticates, you'll see your remote desktop (Figure E). Figure E

Connection between Android and Windows 7 desktop.

Useful tips

  • Single left mouse click: Single tap
  • Double left mouse click: Double tap
  • Right click: Long tap or two-finger tap
  • Left mouse drag: Two quick taps and drag
  • Scroll wheel: Two finger vertical swipe
  • Show/hide keyboard: Three finger tap
  • Tap and slide within the circle on the desktop for precision mouse positioning

Jump Desktop is an outstanding method of remotely accessing your Windows or Mac desktop machines from an Android tablet. Give this simple app a try, and you'll most likely find it taking the place of your standard tablet-to-PC remote method. Do you use Jump Desktop? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

5 comments
Aestivus6
Aestivus6

Could you please help me? Before connection windows credentials are needed: username, password, domain. What I have to write there? What can I set under Auto logon, that username password and domain which pops up after tap connect? I tryed everything but I can not login to windows credentials.

halboainain
halboainain

I really love this. Can we use it with our own servers (and our own work emails) instead of gmail's?

info
info

Hi. Thanks for the article .. always good to get a heads-up on something new. You mention at the start you PREFER it, e.g. over alternatives such as LogMeIn. But you don't say WHY you prefer it, or compare features. Can you please give your best "killer" reason, or perhaps your top 3 more ordinary reason?s

_CentiZen_
_CentiZen_

Because Jump sponsored this post; that's why. Don't get my wrong, it's a good app, but don't read to far into the praise or ask why. There is no rea$on why. Meanwhile, I'll continue using TeamViewer because it integrates into the solutions I already have employed, and won't be missing anything.