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Using Remote Desktop Connection on a Netbook

In this article, I would like to show you how to use Remote Desktop Connection. With Remote Desktop Connection, you can have access to a Windows session that is running on your computer when you are at another computer. This means, for example, that you can connect to your work computer from home and have access to all of your programs, files, and network resources as though you were sitting at your computer at work. You can leave programs running at work and when you get home, you can see your work desktop displayed on your home computer, with the same programs running.

When you connect to your computer at work, Remote Desktop automatically locks that computer so that no one else can access your programs and files while you are gone. When you come back to work, you can unlock your computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.

You can keep your programs running and preserve the state of your Windows session while another user is logged on. When that user logs off, you can reconnect to your session in progress.

And you can even connect two computers running different operating systems. In the following video, I use a Netbook running Windows XP Professional to connect to a workstation running Windows 7.

Note: This video was captured at 1366x768 (using a netbook)

With Fast User Switching, you can easily switch from one user to another on the same computer. For example, suppose you are working at home and have logged on to the computer at your office to update an expense report. While you are working, a family member needs to use your home computer to check for an important e-mail message. You can disconnect Remote Desktop, allow the other user to log on and check e-mail, and then reconnect to the computer at your office, where you will see the expense report exactly as you left it. Fast User Switching works on standalone computers and computers that are members of workgroups.

Remote Desktop can be used in many situations, including:

  • Working at home. Access work in progress on your office computer from home, and have full access to all local and remote devices.
  • Collaborating. Access your desktop from a colleague's office to work together on projects such as updating a slide presentation or proofreading a document.
  • Sharing a console. Allow multiple users to maintain separate program and configuration sessions on a single computer, such as at a teller station or a sales desk.

To use Remote Desktop Connection

  • A computer ("host" computer) running Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7 ("remote" computer) with a connection to a local area network (LAN) or the Internet.
  • A second computer ("client" computer) with access to the LAN via a network connection, modem, or virtual private network (VPN) connection. This computer must have Remote Desktop Connection installed.
  • Appropriate user accounts and permissions.

Note:
If you have Windows XP Service Pack 3 installed, the CredSSP protocol is turned off by default. You will need to enable it to use Network Level Authentication (NLA), which is recommended. The following article describes the procedure to enable it.

Credential Security Service Provider (CredSSP) in Windows XP Service Pack 3

Till then,
Scott

Default locations for user files in Windows 7

Here are the default locations for user files in Windows 7.

Temp Directory
C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Temp>

Cookies
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies>

SendTo
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo>

Start Menu
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu>

Templates
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates>

Desktop
C:\Users\username\Desktop>

My Documents
C:\Users\username\Documents>

Downloads
C:\Users\username\Downloads>

Favorites
C:\Users\username\Favorites>

My Music
C:\Users\username\Music>

My Pictures
C:\Users\username\Pictures>

My Videos
C:\Users\username\Videos>

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 6 - Epilogue)

In the course of writing this series of articles about migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, I have been slowly moving my production time from my old system to the new one (I use a KVM (keyboard, video and mouse switch)). My old system had some issues and needed to be retired. But as fate would have it, my old system's time had started to run out.

In the middle of last week, I found the old system had lost it's ability to recognize usb keyboards and mice. I had to take it off-line and set it up with a PS2 keyboard and mouse. The only item I had left to migrate was my PIM (Personal Information Manager). I use Microsoft Outlook as my PIM and have a Palm TX handheld and an LG Chocolate cell phone that I synchronize to Outlook.

But this did give the opportunity to use Windows Easy Transfer in a different way. I need to get my some of my settings back in-place fast. I had read about pulling the settings from the old system to the new system when they are both on the same network, so I decided to give it a try. I started Windows Easy Transfer on my old computer from the DVD just like I had done before, but this time I choose A Network, and then followed the instructions (basically, starting Windows Easy Transfer on my new computer and entering a key). The Windows Easy Transfer key acts like a password to help protect files and settings when you transfer them over the network. I selected the settings I needed and started the process.

It worked beautifully! It did a great job of bring in my application settings, especially Microsoft Outlook, as the custom toolbars came right back. But it did not bring it my e-mail addresses or data files. But I did expect at least that, so I had to put the databases in the right locations and setup my e-mail accounts manually.

Also, with moving to the 64-bit platform, I knew I would run into driver issues and sure enough it did. This problem did not effect me but might be an issue to others who own a Palm handheld or smartphone and use HotSync. I have been using a bluetooth connection to sync my Palm TX for years, but when I installed the Palm Desktop and HotSync to get the Microsoft Outlook conduits, it wanted a driver for the cable connection. Come to find out that there is no 64-bit usb driver for Palm handhelds and smartphones. Palm recommends using a bluetooth connection to sync when running 64-bit versions of Windows (click here for article).

Till then,
Scott

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 5 - Applications and Settings)

With our installation of Windows 7 complete, it's time to move on to the applications and settings. We will use the Belarc Advisor report we printed earlier to ensure we do not forget any application as we reinstall them.

With the UAC (User Access Control) in Windows 7, it may necessary to run some of the application installations as administrator. If when you insert the installation media into a removable drive (CD or DVD) and it does not automatically start, I would do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking the Start menu, and then clicking Explore.
  2. Browse to the cd/dvd drive on your computer and right click setup.exe (as an example), in the root directory.
  3. Select Run as Administrator.

Also, you may have an older application that just doesn't run quite right after you install it on Windows 7. In that case, you may want to try running it in Compatibility Mode. The following video shows you how.

Now the applications are installed, we will need to start each one and allow them to create any special folders and/or files prior to restoring our settings. Now we are ready to go back to the Microsoft instructions:

Copy files to the destination computer

  1. If you saved your files and settings in an Easy Transfer file on a removable media such as a UFD rather than on a network share, insert the removable media into the computer.
  2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Windows Easy Transfer. The Windows Easy Transfer window opens.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Click An external hard disk or USB flash drive.
  5. Click This is my new computer.
  6. Click Yes, open the file.
  7. Browse to the location where the Easy Transfer file was saved. Click the file name, and then click Open.
  8. Click Transfer to transfer all files and settings. You can also determine which files should be migrated by selecting only the user profiles you want to transfer, or by clicking Customize.
  9. Click Close after Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving your files.

Now that we have restored our files and settings using Windows Easy Transfer, we will need to verify they are all there. There will be items (fonts, scripts, etc.) that you will have to access the drive image to restore. Any custom item, like backgrounds in the Windows/Web/Wallpaper directory in Windows XP, will also need to be restored.

Within the first few weeks of migrating to Windows 7, you will find yourself going back to the drive image to restore items. A missing font here, a file there. But within a month, you should be have everything worked out. Within three months, you should be completely migrated to Windows 7 and be able to delete the drive image.

Till then,
Scott

Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 4 - Windows 7 Installation)

Now that we have performed the basic procedures (drive imaging and software / hardware inventory and downloading drivers) I normally do before a clean install, it's time to get into the installation details. Remember to put your drivers on media that you can access after the installation is complete (CD, USB drive or external drive). Network drives may to be accessible until you install the correct network card driver(s). Kind of a catch 22, sort of speak.

I went over to Microsoft's web site and found an article on how to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. From here we will follow Microsoft's instructions, with a little change here and there.

The Upgrade option is not available in Windows 7 Setup when installing Windows 7 on a computer running Windows XP. However, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to migrate files and settings from Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer. To do this, you must first copy files to a removable media, such as an external hard drive or UFD, or to a network share. Next, you will install Windows 7 and then migrate your files back from the removable media onto your computer. When you are finished, you must install your software programs again, but your files and settings will have been copied from Windows XP.

Copy files using Windows Easy Transfer

  1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD while running Windows XP. If the Windows 7 installation window opens automatically, close it.
  2. Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking the Start menu, and then clicking Explore.
  3. Browse to the DVD drive on your computer and click migsetup.exe in the Support\Migwiz directory. The Windows Easy Transfer window opens.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select An external hard disk or USB flash drive.
  6. Click This is my old computer. Windows Easy Transfer scans the computer.
  7. Click Next. You can also determine which files should be migrated by selecting only the user profiles you want to transfer, or by clicking Customize.
  8. Enter a password to protect your Easy Transfer file, or leave the box blank, and then click Save.
  9. Browse to the external location on the network or to the removable media where you want to save your Easy Transfer file, and then click Save.
  10. Click Next. Windows Easy Transfer displays the file name and location of the Easy Transfer file you just created.

It's at this point I am going to change the way I install Windows 7. Instead of starting Windows 7 setup by browsing to the root folder of the DVD in Windows Explorer, and then double clicking setup.exe (in-place), I an going to restart the computer and start the installation at boot (clean) and delete the partition that Windows XP is installed on. The following video shows the differences in the two types of installations (clean vs. in-place).

Note: This video was captured at 2048x768 (using dual monitors)

Since I am going from a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system, an in-place installation is impossible. I have to delete the partition that Windows XP is installed on to get that. Once I restart my computer and boot up on the Windows 7 DVD (64-bit version), I get a few standard setup dialog boxes. Then I am asked where I want to install Windows 7. I select Advanced Options. This gives me the option of deleting the partition where Windows XP is installed.

Windows 7 Installatiob Screen Shot

I select Delete, then click Next and the installation continues, restarting a couple of times during the process. Remember that once the installation of the operating system is complete, that's when the drivers will need to be installed.

*** Note: The chipset driver is the very first driver to be installed and will require a reboot when complete.***

Once the computer restarts, continue to install the rest of the drivers (audio, video, network, etc.), starting with on-board devices (built-in to the motherboard). Then go to the drivers for any expansion cards (they're connected directly into the motherboard inside the computer) and then comes the Plug and Play (PnP) devices (they connect directly to the outside of the computer). Devices like keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. would be PnP devices.

Next we start installing our applications and settings,

Till then,
Scott

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