Before using either Windows Remote Desktop Connection or LogMeIn, you must first prepare Windows to use the remote connection application.
In the case of Windows' Remote Desktop, you must ensure the feature is enabled, as shown here.
For LogMeIn, you must navigate to the LogMeIn Web site and create an account.
Remote Connectivity System Preparation
When working with Remote Desktop, you must also ensure the appropriate users are given proper permissions. Click the Select Remote Users button - reached by right-clicking My Computer, selecting Properties and clicking the Remote tab - to access the Remote Desktop Users screen shown here. Add and remove users using the respective buttons.
Using LogMeIn, a user only requires the e-mail address and password used to configure the account. Once those credentials are in hand, you proceed by adding computers to the account (by clicking the provided Add Computer link).
Remote Connectivity System Preparation
While LogMeIn requires no firewall configuration, Windows administrators must configure Windows Firewall to enable Remote Desktop connectivity.
LogMeIn users must, however, install a small application. Clicking the Download Now button triggers the process.
Triggering A Remote Session
To connect to a remote workstation, Windows Remote Desktop users open Remote Desktop (accessed by clicking Start | All Programs | Accessories | Communications | Remote Desktop Connection).
LogMeIn users, meanwhile, can access workstations that have already had the small LogMeIn application installed from any PC with Internet access. Once a LogMeIn user enters the LogMeIn account information, online systems appear within the All Computers window shown here.
Log In Screens
The Log In screens are simple and straightforward for both Remote Desktop and LogMeIn.
Logging In To A Remote Workstation
In addition to specifying the workstation, Remote Desktop Connection users must enter a username and password for an account possessing remote logon permissions, as well as the appropriate domain name.
If a LogMeIn user is connecting to a remote system for the first time, another small LogMeIn application must be downloaded and installed. Users need only click the Install button and follow minimal prompts to complete the installation (no system reboot is required).
Remote Logon Options
Windows' Remote Desktop Connection offers several configuration options. Users can specify desktop size and color depth using the Display tab.
LogMeIn users can take control of remote systems, exchange files, invite guests and more using options the online service provider makes available.
Additional Logon Options
Using the Experience tab, Windows Remote Desktop Connection users can optimize network bandwidth using the drop-down box. In addition, Remote Desktop users can enable themes, window animation and more using supplied checkboxes.
LogMeIn users, meanwhile, are presented with this dialog box. Using the supplied checkboxes, LogMeIn users can connect their local printers to the remote workstation, synchronize their desktop clipboard and remember the settings configured in the current session.
Once proper account credentials are entered, both Remote Desktop and LogMeIn authenticate the user.
In the first screen here, you can see Remote Desktop Connection preparing to serve a Windows Vista Business connection. In the bottom screen, LogMeIn completes its authentication steps.
Once authentication completes, both Remote Desktop Connection and LogMeIn present the user with a console displaying the remote workstation's desktop. Users can then use and administer the remote systems as if they were seated at those PCs or servers.
Numerous options exist for remotely connecting to desktop systems. Here's how Windows' Remote Desktop Connection compares to LogMeIn.
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By Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...