I administer a number of Windows machines, and am trying to find a really good application to remote desktop in to them from my Mac. I've tried CoRD, and I really like its library approach to saved sessions (as opposed to Microsoft's file based approach), and tabbed sessions are great when working on a bunch of machines. Unfortunately, it's just too buggy for serious use, and given that it averages less than 2 releases a year, I have little hope that that will change. Microsoft's official client is very bare bones and doesn't support connecting on non-standard ports (which I need).

Is there a remote desktop client for Mac out there that's both fully featured and not buggy?

Edit: Apparently the Microsoft doc I read that states that the Microsoft RDC client can't be used on non-standard ports is out of date.

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    I'd given up on CoRD myself, and gone with the standard MS RDC client. And, as you've since discovered, it works fine with non-standard ports (I don't think I have a 'standard' port anywhere in the entire estate!). – robsoft Oct 5 '10 at 8:02
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    I seem to be able to use non-standard ports without any problem, and I'm using version 2.0.0 of Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. Just enter machinename.domain:port in the connection field of RDC. – gub Oct 5 '10 at 16:47
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    Microsoft's client works OK for displaying stuff, but I'm getting the mouse buttons reversed — when I do a left-click, it's like a right-click when it gets to the Windows 7 box. – David Dunham Jan 4 '12 at 21:19
  • @David See stanford.edu/group/macosxsig/blog/2010/12/…. Worked a charm for me, once I found the property! (swapMouseButtons… something) – Asherah Feb 29 '12 at 1:58
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    Since this question was originally asked and answered about 2.5 years ago, CoRD is reported to have fixed the performance problems. In the meantime, Microsoft has announced that they do not support Lion and above. So it sounds like now CoRD is the clear choice. – Yitz Mar 24 '13 at 8:00

15 Answers 15


Use RDC (Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2)
This free download runs natively on both Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs

Use One Mac, unlimited Windows.

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  • According to support.microsoft.com/kb/306759, the Mac client won't work with non-default port numbers, which for me is a fatal flaw. However, I decided to try it anyway, and sure enough, it worked. Thanks. – Warren Pena Oct 4 '10 at 22:22
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    ya i do it all the time just by adding ":<portnumber>" onto the end – Robert S Ciaccio Oct 6 '10 at 18:10
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    I'm very happy with RDC as well. It isn't completely stable on OS X 10.7 - I have had several crashes and broken connections already, even on the local network - but most of the time, it's working well, and it's free. – Pekka Mar 13 '12 at 21:02
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    Official from Microsoft website: "Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (version 2.1.1) is not intended for use with Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion) or later". That's a shame!!! And we almost have 10.8.1 released :p – sorin Aug 21 '12 at 9:57
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New Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 supposed to be best RDP client for Mac. Works super smooth btw.

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  • why would a company offer two different RDP clients?? At least the other is quite buggy (in version 2.1.1). – n1000 Aug 5 '14 at 19:09
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    Yes, RDC (Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2) is discontinued. – jpkeisala Jun 14 '15 at 10:06
  • And now Microsoft Remote Desktop 8 is superseded by Microsoft Remote Desktop 10. You can currently find both versions in the App Store. – wisbucky Jan 4 '18 at 23:54

I use a program called CoRD.

It's worked well for me without fussing with any configuration files or properties.

It's been a while since I tried any alternatives, so I'll give RDC another try. I don't remember why I rejected it before.

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    +1 for CoRD, I prefer this one to RDC since it's simplify interface and easier to manage connections :) – Dzung Nguyen Dec 13 '12 at 21:21
  • by far cord is the best. – grepit Mar 1 '16 at 4:28

Check out Royal TSX if you're after a full featured connections manager that can do RDP as well as other protocols like, VNC, SSH, Telnet, etc.


Disclaimer: I'm the developer of the mentioned product.

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  • Please have a look at the faq, especially the part about self-promotion. – nohillside Jun 15 '13 at 15:00
  • The old Microsoft client is really, truly awful. The new Microsoft client is great. RoyalTSX is better. I really like having folders for my connections and resizable windows. – Scott Centoni Apr 10 '15 at 20:18
  • OS X 10.8.5 connecting to Windows Server 2012 R2 on Azure. Microsoft's client 2.1.1 fails, searching for 2.1.2 only finds warez sites, newer client requires OS X update and CoRD fails with "Connection reset by peer". Royal TSX 2.2.4 works! – jjrv May 20 '16 at 17:55
  • Either way, this belongs to an alternative answer. – Shritam Bhowmick Jul 28 '16 at 3:29
  • Edit: just tested, doesn't work with macSierra. It crashes. – Shritam Bhowmick Jul 28 '16 at 3:50

In my experienced opinion, CoRD and Jump Desktop are the best RDP clients for Mac. CoRD is more for those that know what they're doing - it's simple, stable, fast and reliable. Jump Desktop however is for those that are new to Remote Desktop Connections and want something that makes things easy. It's easily the slickest RDP client for Mac too and looks great. There's a useful extensive review of the best RDP clients for Mac here: http://machow2.com/rdp-for-mac/

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    I agree with you whole heartedly about Jump Desktop, but I cannot agree with you on CORD. I often see visual distortion and poor performance in CoRD. I just purchased JumpDesktop, which now has RD Gateway support. I'm so glad I did. – codewise Jul 9 '13 at 21:17

Reading this answer I learned about Royal TSX and after a few hours I'm happy with it.

In addition to RDP it has a terminal plugin for SSH/Telnet connections with X forwarding. Mac OS terminal can do the same, but connection documents are handy.

The terminal plugin also allows COM port use. I have not tested this but I hope that works OK because I have not found a good terminal program for plain COM port. I still use minicom.

Licensing terms are generous enough that in my case I can use it for free but I may consider purchasing to encourage the maintenance.

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    I wholeheartedly agree. Royal TSX solved the problems I had with CoRD and MRDP. – Jamgold Jan 20 '15 at 18:27
  • I cannot get RDP with Gateway to connect... :( – Paul-Sebastian Manole Sep 15 '16 at 16:22

The best RDP client for OSX (whether free or not) is Thinomenon RDC. It supports audio, printing, scanning, and most importantly, RemoteApp/RAIL.

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  • I disagree... Thinomenon didn't provide access to local drives. Nor does it solve any issues I had with MS RDP such as keymappings not working in all cases... Command + C can't be used as a replacement for CTRL+Z in all applications. – blak3r Sep 12 '12 at 4:15
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    For me, drive mapping and device redirection are working flawlessly. Did you try contacting Thinomenon support? The product is backed by a commercial entity. I would go for tech assistance. For instance, there is a support forum at thinomenon.com/forum – jeremy Sep 16 '12 at 10:40
  • Welcome to Ask Different! Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. Please take a look at the FAQs for more info. – gentmatt Sep 26 '12 at 12:13

If you are willing to spend some money, there is LogMeIn, which I have used for my home Macs with great success. On the free side, we used to use "Chicken of the VNC" but decided to go with Microsoft's official client for reasons unknown to me. Six of one half dozen of the other, if you ask me. Frankly, the VNC market is pretty banal.

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  • There is a free version of Logmein. – Harv Jul 18 '11 at 20:07
  • OS X use VNC, Windows use RDP – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Apr 13 '13 at 17:37

try Teamviewer I am not sure about the multiple tabs for easy switch never had a chance to test it. Also you can set it for lan incoming connection so you can connect via a lan rather than internet. You can create a free account and add all machines to it, So you can even see which system is on and connect with one click

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You may want to try iTAP.

It seems it does support NLA per the specs. (I only tested TSG, which works fine).

If you come from CoRD, you will find the overall frame quite basic, but the emulation itself seems to work pretty well (I normally work in full screen mode and switch windows with the top menu).

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Chrome Remote Desktop is cross-platform. "Provide remote assistance to Windows, Mac and Linux users, or access your Windows (XP and above) and Mac (OS X 10.6 and above) desktops at any time, all from the Chrome browser on virtually any device, including Chromebooks."

Used LogMeIn til they yanked free utility, Chrome RD works almost as well, but I can't reboot a computer without losing connection completely. It must then be reconnected locally - AHRRRG.

So, still looking for cross-plat solution, too.

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Since updating my iMac to El Capitan 10.11.4, CORD Version 0.5.7 (5701) is no longer crashing.

I've been using it since Tiger. It began crashing intermittently with OSX Yosemite, then would always crash on quitting with El Capitan before 10.11.4, and often crash on changing screen resolution. After 2 days of use, I have no longer seen a crash with OSX 10.11.4.

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Microsoft now has a beta for yet another new RDP client: Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac v8.2.20

It still has a variety of problems, but it at least looks more like a MacOSX application.

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The best RDP client for Mac is Thinomenon.

I can even run .rdp files from remote apps and work only the application does not show the entire desktop

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  • You said, "only the application does not show the entire desktop", then it certainly is not the best as you claim! Also, this client has already been mentioned in another answer in this thread, so there is no need to duplicate what's already offered! – user3439894 Jul 10 '17 at 1:21

I use Real VNC. It works really well for me.

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    They asked about Microsoft RDP, not VNc. – kinokijuf Dec 1 '11 at 8:49

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