Rdesktop at Work: More Windows Hate

18 September 2008

I’ve somehow ended up at another job that can’t get its Web Developers a working internet connection. Combine this fact with Remote Desktop, and the myriad problems with windows. This is what a typical 5-minutes looks like for me at work:


I’m working in remote desktop, about to type an important sentence…

Remote desktop freezes, the sentence I just typed never makes it

I sit and wait. A pop-up says remote desktop lost its connection and is reconnecting. I switch to another virtual desktop to do some work locally. I start to type an important sentence…

Remote desktop jumps onto the screen, stealing the focus and text I was typing into the other window. I just confirmed/canceled some unknown dialog??!!

I press WindowsKey+Down to sent Remote Desktop back to its own workspace, where it should have stayed in the first place. I log back into the remote desktop window now that the internet is working again. Finally, I type my important sentence…

Several windows pop up within remote desktop and then the window disappears entirely.

WTF??!! Ohhh yeah. Remote desktop has a major bug where it thinks the WindowsKey is being held down. It just executed several WindowsKey+X shortcut keys, culminating in WindowsKey+L, which logs off.

I go through the Start Menu->Accessories->Remote Desktop. Log in again.

To “fix” the WindowsKey bug I have to run the On-Screen Keyboard app. Back to Start->Accessories->Accessibility->On-Screen Keyboard. Click on the WindowsKey with the mouse, then unclick it. Close the Narrator, Magnifying Glass, and Explorer windows that opened by hitting U and E while trying to type.

After thinking for a moment, I remember the important sentence I’ve been trying to type for the past 5 minutes. I start typing…

Remote desktop freezes, sentence just typed never makes it. The internet is down again. D’oh!


Granted, the unstable internet connection is part of the problem. But this wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating if it weren’t for the Rdesktop WindowsKey bug, focus-stealing, and the lack of built-in virtual desktops. While none of these individually are “huge” issues, the lack of robustness in the interface results in some days feeling like an epic battle. The operating system should be the war hose I ride into battle, not the beast I do battle against.

This entry was posted on 18 September 2008 and is filed under Tech Support.

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