3

We have a Windows 10 PC that is connected to our sound system. I would like to be able to log into that PC from my MacBook (High Sierra) and play music, either off of the (PC) hard drive or from an online service (Deezer).

Essentially, I would be using the MacBook only for its keyboard and screen. The reason is that the PC does not have its own screen but is instead connected to a projector, and turning this on just to change a song is very obtrusive.

The solution I'm looking for does not have to be free but must be secure. I have tried the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client but it will only play sounds off of my MacBook speakers.

1

In my experience, the performance and quality of Microsoft's Remote Desktop (free) is the best in the industry. This isn't a personal preference but rather a trial and error using many other remote desktop apps.

In short...

Using Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 or higher, there should be a new option to play music on the remote machine. Once toggled, I believe you'll get what you're looking for.. This is accessible through the + icon (new connection) or the ✏️ icon (existing connection).

enter image description here

  • As an aside, there are some nuances to using RDP, some of which are shortcuts. I would love the option to disable ⌘ + w, ⌘ + q as I tend to hit them on accident intending Ctrl + w, etc... but it'll only close the RDP session, not the stuff that's running on the remote machine.

The long...

Disclaimer: The solutions below may look subjective, but they're objectively evaluated for the requirement of 1. Free or not free. 2. Secure. 3. Play sounds on the remote computer.

  • VNC: (free and commercial) Comes in many variants (macOS built-in, TightVNC, UltraVNC, etc). Offers secure and insecure options. Performance is the worst I've used but is viable on a very fast network.
  • Splashtop: Secure. Cloud-based so you can get to it anywhere. Performance is better than VNC. Requests are routed through the cloud, so can be slower than other solutions on a LAN. Linux support is still experimental
  • GoToMeeting, WebEx, AnyDesk, etc: Online meeting apps are great (performance, options, audio), but often contain tools designed for group voice conversations (dedicated phone number, etc), making remote access a toggleable feature, not ideal hoops to jump through each for a dedicated remote desktop.
  • TeamViewer (free and commercial): Secure. Great quality, speed. Universal solution on Linux, Windows, macOS. Cloud-based so may perform worse than LAN-driven solutions like RDP and VNC, however in my experience out-performs VNC.
  • Microsoft RDP (free): Secure. Performs best when connecting to a Windows machine. Historically LAN-driven, but Azure's rise in success makes it more attractive over WAN too (popular choice for Windows Server). Performance, speed and quality are the best if a Windows machine is what's being connected to.
    • RDP even has support for streaming content and some compositing, which is very nice for video playback as well as for a curated Windows 7+ compositioned desktop experience (thumbnailing, transparency, etc).

For your needs I believe RDP is the way to go, especially since they've offered the option to keep audio routed through the Windows machine, which wasn't available back in Remote Desktop 8.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you, Microsoft Remote Desktop absolutely works for my purpose. The reason i couldn't get it to work before was that i could not find the menu to set sound to play on the remote PC. I thought that that option simply was not available for the OSX Client but it turns out it is part of the initial menu when setting up the connection. This menu can also be accessed after a PC was added, by clicking the (tiny) pencil icon. MS: the software is good but the UX leaves something to be desired. – Koinc Mar 11 at 21:27
  • I almost added the detail that I had found it after clicking the + icon, but I figured that a picture was more descript. Thanks for the update. I've amended the answer to include this detail. – tresf Mar 11 at 21:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .