I have a desktop PC connected to my 37” TV where I do most of my personal work on at home, everything except email which is on a different system. Working from a 37” monitor is really sweet. Additionally, when I work from home, I use that PC to Remote Desktop to my SolarWinds notebook where I have all of my work-related applications and documents. In addition to having the work environment on the big screen, I can also leverage the wireless keyboard and mouse that’s connected to the PC.
Remote Desktop limitations
But using Remote Desktop has some inherent limitations: first I lose the use of the internal notebook display, because the Microsoft Remote Desktop connection locks it out. Second, streaming video across the RDP connection is not so good. Now, this may be a factor of the 802.11g (54mb/sec) wireless connection that the notebook uses to get on my home network, but that’s what I have to work with at the moment. Third, routing audio via RDP impacts my ability to use a USB or Bluetooth connected headset with the notebook, and while it is possible to switch between the two, it’s not particularly easy to do so on the fly.
Directly connected complications
I explored plugging the notebook directly into the TV, via HDMI, which would get me direct sound in my 5x1 (rather than via RDP) and streaming video direct to the TV. But, that would also require implementing a second wireless keyboard/mouse set, and I didn’t really want to plug in (or buy!) an extra keyboard/mouse just to manage that system.
A real solution
Then I remembered that DameWare Mini Remote Control (MRC) can solve all of those challenges, most notably because it doesn't take over the display of the remote system. So as of today, I now have the notebook plugged into the TV via HDMI, and the notebook display can also be active. I’m viewing the notebook video directly from the HDMI TV connection, so I’ve completely eliminated my streaming video issues coming across the wireless RDP session. I have a DameWare MRC session initiated from the PC to the notebook, which is giving me wireless keyboard/mouse controls on the notebook.
Special tips of importance
Oh, a couple of tips for this scenario, to keep the control PC from stealing mouse control away from the MRC application.ing
- Aside from the MRC session needing to be in Full Screen mode on the control PC, you’ll also want to make sure you hide the taskbar on the control PC.
- Be aware of the MRC control bar that sits in the top center of the control PC. This will impact your ability to navigate into the Title Bar of the remote PCs windows if they’re open fullscreen. You can move the MRC control bar to a different location on the control PC. I dragged mine down to the farthest lower-left corner of the screen so the only thing it now impacts is the “Show Desktop” button on my left-side positioned taskbar – which I never use anyway. If your taskbar is in the native location at the bottom of the display, you might move the MRC control bar to the far lower-right corner.