I've Mac OS X (El Capitan) VMs in ESXi 6 on our local network that I can SSH into and I can VNC into and I can connect Xamarin Mac Agent to but I can't Remote Desktop Connection (Windows 10) into. Our developers are all on Windows but need access to the Mac VMs for cross-platform development, particularly viewing the iOS Simulator.

How do you set up a vanilla Mac OS X install to enable remoting into it with Windows Remote Desktop Connection?

  • As far as I'm aware, it's simply not possible with MS RDC, only Win>Win or Mac>Win.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    I was able to use RDC to connect to a macincloud instance I rented last week.
    – Boggin
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:23
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    There are RDP servers for Mac: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/125792/…
    – Boggin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


It's your virtualization software that provides the RDP server, not OS X itself.

I don't know what you are using specifically, so I will frame my answer using VirtualBox as the example. However, the principle is basically the same.

On my FreeBSD VM that I have running on my iMac (10.11.5), I have the option to turn on Remote Display as well as configure which port it connects to as well as how I authenticate to the display server.

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In this case, VirtualBox uses the RDP protocol, so you can have any RDP client, whether it's Windows or OS X or even Linux connect to this particular VM.

There is nothing that I have to do to the OS running in the VM instance to connect. Infact, the connection will remain persistent across reboots so you can in fact issue a shutdown -r now command and watch it go through the whole process.

  • I've updated my question to show that we're using ESXi 6, thanks.
    – Boggin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 8:08
  • It's been a looooog time since I have used VMWare - we switched to the MS Hypervisor because we were a mostly MS shop for the server. From what I remember, we connected the RDP client through VM View, but you will have to get your documentation for ESXi6
    – Allan
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:10

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