Manual

Getting Started

Prepare your Windows PC

RDP is an integrated feature of Microsoft Windows (except home editions, see details). On all non-server editions RDP has to be enabled before it can be used. To do so, please follow the guides for your installed version of Microsoft Windows. On our webpage we offer a high-level set-up guide for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Connection Center

Navigation

After starting iTap mobile RDP the connection center opens. From here you can:

  • Access published applications/desktops with RD Web Access
  • Connect to a Windows PC or server through manually entered bookmarks
  • Manage bookmarks
  • Modify Global Settings
  • Set up TSG (Terminal Services Gateway)

The graphic below illustrates the bars and buttons available in the Connection Center:

By using the side bar you can switch between bookmark lists, RD Web Access, Terminal Services Gateways (TSG) and Certificates view. Depending on which view is selected the bar at the top may contain less options.

Important notice: The navigation of iTap mobile RDP is the same for tablets and smart phones. The appearance of the Connection Center and where to find the global settings might differ between the android devices as this is depended on the operating system running on the respective device.

Manage Bookmarks

What is a Bookmark

A bookmark summarizes all the settings for the entity you want to connect to. When opening the application the first time you will just find "iTap RDP Testserver" as initial bookmark setup. Never modify this bookmark to connect to another entity. Set-up a new bookmark always.

Generally each bookmark shows the following information:

The icons on the left side show the status of your bookmark. or shows that everything is ok, while will appear if there is a problem. will appear if network testing is disabled for this host.

If the connection test succeeds then the icon below will show the security level of the connection. The number of dots indicate the security strength. One dot indicates basic security (up to 140 bit FIPS compliant but with no host verification), while 2 dots indicate TLS (strong security with host verification via certificates) and 3 dots indicate NLA (Network Level Authentication) which is the highest supported security method of RDP.

The upper text shows the label of the bookmark, which defaults to the computer name, but can be changed to any text. A star next to the label indicates if this bookmark is part of the favorites. Directly below the label, the bookmark will show the credentials which will be used for automatic re-connect. If no credentials are shown a logon screen will appear when trying to connect.

By using the icon to the right you can change the settings of your bookmark.

A tap on shows the credentials list with all available users for that specific bookmark. You may log on by a tap on the user name. To hide the list simply tap .

Create/Edit a Bookmark

Add a new bookmark by a tap on the '+' button in the bar at the top of the Connection Center.

If you would like to delete, favor or clone one or more entries use a long-tap on one of the bookmarks in the list Next select more bookmarks or simply tap the appropriate option in the context menu. If you decide not to change anything you may tap done.

In order to change the settings of a specific bookmark tap the icon available next to the bookmark’s label or within the context menu.

Modify Bookmark Settings

When adding or modifying a bookmark the following settings tabs are available:

The most important tab is the "Connection" screen where the essential information for an RDP connection needs to be entered.

After all settings are set, save all changes either by using the "Back" button on your Android device or tapping "Done" in the action bar.

Connection

The upper section summarizes the host information.

  • Label: The name of the bookmark in the connection center. This can be any string. If this is empty, it will be set to the hostname.

  • Host: The name of the computer you want to connect to. This can be a Windows computer name, an Internet domain name or an IP address.

  • Port: The port to connect to. The default port for RDP is 3389. We recommend not to change this setting.

  • Gateway: Choose a Gateway which you have set up globally. If no Gateway is set up the list shows "No Gateway" only. How to set up a gateway is explained in the Terminal Services Gateway (TSG) chapter.

The credentials section determines the username and password to connect to a host. Once a set of credentials is added a new input line appears.

Session UI

The "Screen" settings allow you to set the resolution and the color depth for your RDP session.

  • Resolution: Choose a predefined resolution or enter a custom one (last option in the list). Bigger screens need more memory, so it is recommended to use smaller resolutions or "Fit to Screen".

  • Color Depth: You have four options for color depth. It is recommended to use "Thousands" of colors, as a compromise between bandwidth and quality. You can use 256 colors when you are using the connection via 3G networks to reduce the bandwidth required.

  • Improve Visual Quality: This option is enabled by default. Disable this setting to improve the refresh rate for screen updates at the cost of visual quality.

Furthermore a bunch of user interface settings is offered:

  • Border: Add a border around the desktop. Use this if you have problems clicking on things at the very edge of the desktop.

  • Utility Bar: Set the initial visbility state of the utility bar.

  • Mouse Mode: Set the initial mouse mode to use for this bookmark.

  • Lock Screen: Set the initial lock screen behavior.

  • Show Status Bar: The Android status bar is hidden during a session by default. Enable to show it.

  • Swap Mouse Buttons: Whenever a mouse gesture would send a command with the left mouse button, it sends the same command with the right mouse button instead. This is needed for some left-handed mice in Windows.

Remote Program

This functionality is available on Windows Terminal Server editions only.

  • Program: Set a program to execute when you log on to a remote computer. You must specify the full path. When you specify a remote program you will not see a normal desktop, instead the remote program will be launched fullscreen.

  • Working Directory: Set the working directory of the remote program.

  • Arguments: Set optional program arguments.

  • Remote App Mode (RAIL): Check if the session should be started like a RemoteApp session.

Advanced Connection Settings
  • Console: Connect to the console session with Windows Server 2003 and later.

  • Redirect SD Card: Mount your SD card as remote filesystem on the host.

  • Sound: Choose how to play sound. You can play it on your device, on the server or not at all (the default).

  • Auto Reconnect: Reconnect to known sessions automatically and return to the exact place you left. Change the timeout for automatic reconnect tokens. Reduce this if you have security concerns about automatic reconnect.
    Please note that this feature is controlled by the server. Therefore it is not possible to guarantee that it works 100% of the time.

  • Security Level: Limit the maximum security level. We recommend to set this to the maximum available (NLA).

  • Client Hostname: The hostname the client should use to present itself to the server.

  • Keyboard Locale: Choose the keyboard locale for the remote host. The default setting is to use the system locale currently set on your device. If you have problems with wrong characters being inserted, try to switch to a locale that resembles your on-screen keyboard as good as possible. E.g. "US English" is a good choice for the typical available Android keyboards.

  • Keyboard Mode: Choose the mode for the keyboard. It is strongly recommended to keep this on "Automatic", but you may try "Unicode" if you have problems with keys not working, or keys inserting the wrong characters.

Change various performance and quality options for the selected bookmark:

  • Draw Desktop Wallpaper: If enabled, a wallpaper is allowed on the remote computer, if off then a wallpaper is never shown. A wallpaper can help prevent getting lost on a big desktop but uses more bandwidth than a single color background.

  • Full-Window Drag: If enabled, the window contents are drawn while moving or resizing a window, if off then only a frame is shown. On a small screen, the contents of the moving window can obscure where it is moving to, so this is off by default.

  • Menu Animations: If enabled, menus fade in or expand when activated, when disabled they (dis)appear without animation.

  • Cursor Effects: If enabled the caret (the vertical bar in text boxes) blinks, if disabled it does not bling. A blinking caret helps very much in identifying the focused textbox, so this is enabled by default.

  • Use Windows Themes: If enabled the windows frames and controls may be drawn in a nicer way, if disabled the window frames and controls look like Windows 2000.

  • Font Smoothing: If enabled, allows Windows to automatically antialies (smooth) texts to improve readability. This greatly increases the bandwidth for applications with lots of text.

  • Desktop Effects: If enabled, Windows may use advanced desktop effects like crossfades or transparent windows. This greatly increases the bandwidth.

Please note the following limitations:

  • When connecting to an already running RDP session with a different color depth, you may not get the new color depth. This behavior is server dependent and different versions of Windows behave differently.
  • Automatic login may be disabled by the server, so even when you store your password it can happen that you still have to enter it.
  • The server may refuse a specific screen resolution and give you a different resolution instead.
  • The performance flags are just recommendations to the server. A server may disregard them due to server policy, missing support or other reasons.
3G Mode

If you are connecting to your host via 3G you may enable this mode to use different settings than for WiFi. For the screen settings it is generally recommended to keep them low.
The symbol next to the bookmark label indicates if this mode is active when you are in a 3G network.

The following performance settings are available (which are the same as you have within the advanced settings)

  • Draw Desktop Wallpaper: If enabled, a wallpaper is allowed on the remote computer, if off then a wallpaper is never shown. A wallpaper can help prevent getting lost on a big desktop but uses more bandwidth than a single color background.

  • Full-Window Drag: If enabled, the window contents are drawn while moving or resizing a window, if off then only a frame is shown. On a small screen, the contents of the moving window can obscure where it is moving to, so this is off by default.

  • Menu Animations: If enabled, menus fade in or expand when activated, when disabled they (dis)appear without animation.

  • Cursor Effects: If enabled the caret (the vertical bar in text boxes) blinks, if disabled it does not bling. A blinking caret helps very much in identifying the focused textbox, so this is enabled by default.

  • Use Windows Themes: If enabled the windows frames and controls may be drawn in a nicer way, if disabled the window frames and controls look like Windows 2000.

  • Font Smoothing: If enabled, allows Windows to automatically antialies (smooth) texts to improve readability. This greatly increases the bandwidth for applications with lots of text.

  • Desktop Effects: If enabled, Windows may use advanced desktop effects like crossfades or transparent windows. This greatly increases the bandwidth.

Manage Favorites

Long tap the bookmark that you would like to add to the favorites. At the top of the screen the context menu opens. You may select more bookmarks or simply tap the star to add the selection to the favorites. Any bookmarks that are part of the favorites are marked with a star next to the label in the „All“ list.

If you would like to remove one or more bookmarks from the favorites switch to the favorites list first. Long tap the bookmark and again the context menu opens. Make your selection and tap the star to unfavor the bookmark(s).

Search bookmarks

The search becomes a useful tool in the case when you have to manage many entities. In order to search for a specific connection tap the magnifier to activate the search bar. Next enter any value which might be part of the hostname or the bookmarks label to filter the bookmark list temporarily.

The hostname may contain the following information:

  • A Windows computer name
    The name of one of your computers in your local network. For example "home".
  • An Internet domain name
    The Internet domain name of your home or office computer. For example "rdp.office.com".
  • An Internet address
    The IP address of a computer. For example "10.100.23.45".

Global Settings

These settings apply for all connections and summarize user interface settings as well as session settings:

User Interface:

  • Default Tab: Choose if the bookmarks or the RD Web Access tab shall be shown by default at application start.

  • Connection Test: Enable/disable connection tests for all bookmarks. The bookmark-specific setting still applies when this option is enabled.

Session:

  • Key Repeat: Should alternate keyboards send a key multiple times if the key stays pressed. Choose between the available options to disable or enable with a specific key repeat rate.

  • Hardware Keyboard Mode: This setting only affects devices with hardware keyboard. If your device features an on-device hardware keyboard, such as the Motorola Milestone, you can select the "Native" mode to make use of the default keyboard behavior. In "Native" mode, no emulation is happening, modifiers (such as Shift, Alt, Sym) have their typical behavior. In "Desktop" mode (default), keystrokes are sent as individual keys to the server.

  • Scope Activation: Choose between the available options how fast the scope should be activated or choose "Off" to disable the scope.

  • Left-handed Scope Mode: If enabled, optimizes the scope position for left-handed scope users.

  • Invert Touch Scrolling: Invert the behavior of the scroll gesture.

  • Scrolling Speed: Control the scrolling speed of the scroll gesture.

  • Click Sounds: Enable/Disable playing of a click sound if a mouse click gesture has been executed.

  • Background Color: Off-screen color.

  • Hardware Rendering (experimental): Use hardware accelerated rendering to improve performance. Available on Android 3.0+ and enabled by default for Android 4.1+.

Terminal Services Gateway Settings

iTap mobile RDP for Android supports Terminal Services Gateway (TSG) out of the box. In order to set up a new gateway tap Gateways in the side bar. Next tap "+" to add a new gateway.

The settings screen lets you configure all necessary settings for a TSG.

  • Label: If no label name is entered the host information will be used instead.

  • Host: The name of the computer you want to use as gateway for TSG. This can be a Windows computer name, an Internet domain name or an IP address.

  • Port The port for TSG to connect to. The default port for TSG is 443.

  • Manage Credentials: Brings you to a new screen where you can either create new, edit or delete credentials for the TSG. If the TSG credentials are left empty the credentials of the connecting bookmark will be used automatically.

  • Current Credentials: This shows the currently active credentials for TSG. When clicked you can select one of the stored credentials or reset to login with the bookmark credentials.

Back in the connection center each gateway set-up gives you additional information if it is currently in use as shown in the screenshot below.

To assign a gateway to a bookmark you need to set this within the bookmark's host settings.

RD Web Access

This module allows you to connect iTap mobile RDP to one or more RD Web Access portals. The portals must be running at least Windows Server 2008. You will be able to see and launch the published applications and desktops.

In order configure a connection to a portal tap RD Web Access on the right in the side bar. Next tap „+“ and enter the following values:

  • RD Web Access URL: The location of the RD Web Access portal. This typically looks like "http://www.some-company.com/rdweb". Your IT staff should be able to give you the correct value for this.
  • Username: The username you are using to log onto the RD Web Access portal. If you have a seperate domain value in your credentials use "DOMAIN\username".
  • Password: Supply the password for the username.

Enable „Re-use credentials for session“ to use these for all published applications and desktops at this portal. This way you do not need to enter them again on connect.

Furthermore custom screen settings may be set for the published applications or desktop.

Trusted Certificates

iTap mobile RDP tries to validate the server certificate when connecting to a server. If a server certificate cannot be safely validated, the user is presented with a choice of disconnecting, or accepting the connection anyway. If a server certificate is permanently accepted, it is stored in this list, so a user can later check the certificate or remove it (stop trusting it).

To delete one or more trusted certificates long tap the certificate to open the context menu. Tap the bin to delete the selection.

Once you are connected

First Steps

One of the first things you might need is a keyboard to enter your username and password in the RDP session. Swipe three fingers downwards to activate the keyboard. Use the same gesture to hide the keyboard again.

Not all Android devices recognize three or more fingers gestures. Use a two finger double tap to show the utility bar and the keyboard. Use the same gesture to hide the both again.

To perform mouse clicks, just tap the screen where you want to click. You will get an audible feedback when a click is sent. Pan the view by dragging it with one finger, or pinch it with two fingers. See the section on gestures for more information on input gestures.

To disconnect from the computer, use the "Back" button on your device. This will not close any programs on your computer and you will be able to quickly reconnect to it again.

Utility Bar

iTap mobile RDP features a utility bar on top of the screen which can be used to control additional features of the client when inside an RDP session. To activate the bar, do a three finger tap anywhere on the screen.

Please note that not all Android devices recognize three fingers, i.e. this gesture may not work on your device. On devices with a hardware "Menu" button the bar can be toggled with the "Menu" button or you may activate the bar and the keyboard by doing a two finger double tap.

The following buttons are available in the utility bar:

  • Shift: Simulates the Shift key on a keyboard. This button is a toggle button to combine it with another button. Pressing another non-toggle button, cleares the state of this button. By pressing the button twice the button gets sticky, i.e. the state is not automatically cleared when pressing another button. You need to press the button again to clear the sticky state.

  • Ctrl: Simulates the Control key on a keyboard. This button is a toggle button, refer to the documentation for the Shift button above for explanation.

  • Alt: Simulates the Alt key on a keyboard. This button is a toggle button, refer to the documentation for the Shift button above for explanation.

  • Tab: Simulates the Tabulator key on a keyboard.

  • - Switches the mouse modes. Please see below for an explanation of the possible modes.

  • - Locks the screen in place. While this is active, you cannot pan or zoom the screen.

  • - Toggles the keyboard.

  • - Switches between the available keyboards.

When you are connecting to a RD Web Access portal you have two additional buttons available:

  • - Switch between applications.

  • - Open a new application. While this is active, you cannot pan or zoom the screen.

Mouse Modes

You can use one of three different mouse modes. You can select your preferred mode in the bookmark configuration and also switch during a session by using the utility bar.

  • Scope Mode: Tap the screen to perform a left click. Touch the screen and move around to pan the screen. Tap with two fingers to perform a right click. Pan/Zoom the screen by dragging/pinching two fingers.
  • Pointer Mode: In this mode the mouse cursor is always visible. You can move the cursor around with a single finger (you do not have to hit the pointer for that). Tap anywhere on the screen to click where the pointer is. Tap with two fingers to perform a right click. The scope is not available in this mode.
  • Draw Mode: In this mode you can only use the left mouse button. Touch the screen to perform an immediate click or drag. Move/Zoom the screen by dragging/pinching two fingers.

Scope Mode

Buttons and other controls in Windows programs are designed for use with a mouse and not with a touch based interface. While typical point-and-click semantics work very well, the size of the controls often prevents effective use. iTap mobile RDP supports zoom to alleviate the problem, but given the already small screen on todays mobile devices, this prevents efficient work. To resolve this situation we include a scope functionality. When holding down a single finger for a short duration without moving, a small scope window pops up, showing the screen at normal magnification and also showing the mouse cursor exactly where it is on the desktop.

The mouse cursor (and the scope) will always follow the first finger. This means, that in scope mode you can hover the mouse over a windows control. If you move the finger to the border of the screen, the screen will start to scroll in that direction. Second, touching the screen with additional fingers simulates mouse buttons. Touch it with one finger to use the left button, touch it with two fingers at the same time to use the right button. Please note that not all Android devices recognize three finger touches, i.e. the right button click may not work on your device. The buttons are pressed immediately and as long as you hold down the additional finger(s). This makes drag and drop a very simple operation.

Tip: The location of the extra fingers is not important. You can use the thumb of your left hand to touch a corner of the screen, while using the index finger of your right hand to move the scope.

On-Screen Keyboards

Double tap with two fingers to toggle the keyboard in combination with the utility bar. To toggle the keyboard alone do a three finger swipe downwards. When the keyboard is activated, the standard Android keyboard is shown. Use the utility bar to switch to alternate keyboards to get access to function keys, numpad, navigation or editing keys.

External Mouse and Keyboard

Mouse

Right button is supported on Android 2.3+. Mouse wheel is supported on Android 3.2+.

Keyboard

External keyboards are supported. If you encounter input problems, set a proper keyboard locale in your bookmark settings. If your device has an on-device hardware keyboard, take a look at the global setting "Hardware Keyboard Mode".

Gestures

iTap mobile RDP uses gestures to control all input actions except keyboard input. This frees up your screen, because it doesn't need to display any buttons.
Important notice: Not all Android devices recognize three or more fingers, i.e. some gestures may not work on your device.

Most important

Tap with two fingers two times to show or hide the keyboard and utility bar.

Tap with three fingers to show or hide the utility bar.

Swipe three fingers from top to bottom to show/hide the keyboard.

Swipe three fingers from left to right to disconnect and return to the connection center.

Scope and Pointer Mode

A single tap will produce a mouse click on the location where you tapped. Zoom in if you need very precise control over the click location.

A simple drag will pan the display. This is a client-side operation, no mouse movement is generated on the server.

Perform a pinch gesture with two fingers to zoom in or out. Like panning this does not produce any mouse input on the server.

Drag two fingers up or down the display to emulate a mousewheel.

Tap with two fingers to produce a right click.

Tapping with one finger two times in quick succession will produce a double click. Tap three times for a tripple click, and so on.

The same can be done with two fingers to do a right mouse button double click.

Tap with a single finger and then quickly touch the screen again but do not release the finger to initiate a mouse drag. The mouse will be released once you remove the finger from the display.

The same can be done with two fingers for a right mouse button drag.

Scope Mode

Touch the screen and hold the finger for a short while to begin scope mode. Scope mode is in effect as long as the scope is visible.

Move the finger to move the scope. As you approach the screen borders the screen will scroll in that direction. The closer you are to the border, the faster it scrolls.

Touch the screen with a single additional finger to press the left mouse button. Release the additional finger to release the left mouse button. Repeat for double- or multi-clicks.

Touch the screen with two additional fingers simultaneously to press the right mouse button. Release the additional fingers to release the right mouse button. Repeat for double- or multi-clicks.

Move the original finger to perform a mouse drag while holding down an additional finger to press the left mouse button. The additional finger does not have to move.

Move the original finger to perform a mouse drag while holding down two additional fingers to press the right mouse button. The additional fingers do not have to move.

Draw Mode

A single tap will produce a mouse click on the location where you tapped. Zoom in if you need very precise control over the click location.

Drag a single finger to drag the left mouse button (paint).

A drag with two fingers will pan the display. This is a client-side operation, no mouse movement is generated on the server.

Perform a pinch gesture with two fingers to zoom in or out. Like panning, this does not produce any mouse input on the server.

Appendix

URL Scheme

iTap mobile RDP supports opening special links from the browser. As a normal user you do not need to concern yourself with this feature, since it will work completely automatic. Just click an RDP link in your preferred web browser and iTap mobile RDP will automatically open and connect to the given server.

If you are a system integrator or otherwise want to provide RDP links in your webpages, please see the URL scheme documentation on how to provide RDP links.