Launching remote desktop from the command line in Windows XP Pro

Remote desktop allows you to configure and connect to another computer running Windows XP Pro. Here's what you need to know about the remote desktop connection dialog box, including a few parameters you're most likely to encounter.

The Windows XP remote desktop connection dialog box provides you with everything that you need to configure and connect to another computer running Windows XP Pro. You can use the Save As button on the Connection Settings panel to save all your connection settings as an RDP file. Then, you can launch and connect to a remote computer simply by double-clicking the RDP file.

You can also script a remote desktop connection, as Windows XP's remote desktop connection has an executable file that can accept command line parameters and be run from a batch file. The remote desktop connection executable file is MSTSC.EXE, and the following are some of the most common parameters:

  • /v:<computername>—specifies the name of the computer to connect to.
  • /f—starts the connection in a full screen.
  • /w:<width>—specifies the width of the remote desktop screen.
  • /h:<height>—specifies the height of the remote desktop screen.

For example, to remotely connect to a computer named Kaltec in a 640 x 480 remote desktop screen, you would use the following command:

mstsc /v: Kaltec /w:640 /h:480

You can type this command line in the Run dialog box, as well as use it in a batch file.

Note: This tip applies only to Windows XP Professional.

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By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.