Why Can't RDP Be Used in a "We Both See the Desktop" Mode? RRS feed

  • Question

  • RDP is arguably the most efficient, best protocol for remote access.

    I have personally seen a "special" version of RDP software work in a way that allows both the person at the PC being controlled and the remote person controlling to see the desktop, moving cursor and all.  This was a beta version back in the days of XP, so it's clear the functionality is possible.

    What I want to know is why Microsoft insists that the user must be "locked out" of the user interface at the controlled PC when RDP is used.

    IT people continue to use other 3rd party remote access tools like Dameware, RAdmin, and even VNC to do the job, because RDP doesn't give them this functionality.  None of these are nearly as efficient as RDP.  

    Notably I have not seen an IT group using the Remote Assistance feature of Windows, which uses a different protocol than RDP from what I can see.

    Clearly RDP can do this, yet it is programmed not to allow it.  Why?


    Monday, December 7, 2009 4:55 PM


  • Hi Noel,

    RDP is still used for this, it's exactly the same protocols used for a terminal server session.

    From Windows 7, you can offer remote assistance to another PC more easily by setting up a shortcut for:

    C:\Windows\System32\msra.exe /OfferRA

    Or on XP using:


    Enter the PC name and if the remote user oks it, you can connect and both see the screen and you can take control as you need if the user again oks it.

    We originally used a 3rd party product for this that was purchased only because the powers that be did not realise that you can do this already in Windows. We no longer use it, as you mention, RDP is the most efficient in terms of quality and speed plus it's free so why continue to pay licences for another product to do it?

    Our Helpdesk, trainers and all of IT use offer remote assistance every day and it works very well.

    Lastly, you need to be in the "Offer Remote Assistance Helpers" on the remote PC for both Windows 7 or XP to be able to offer assistance and there are some Windows Firewall considerations, etc, that need to be turned on or configured.


    • Proposed as answer by Rob.Ford Tuesday, December 8, 2009 10:52 PM
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Wednesday, December 9, 2009 6:17 AM
    Monday, December 7, 2009 7:10 PM