Microsoft's integrated Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is an essential tool in my developer's utility belt... and is one tool that I think every developer/computer geek should keep close at hand.
For the uninitiated, a Remote Desktop Connection allows you to log into a Microsoft Windows OS installed on a remote computer (i.e. - not the one you're sitting at) and use it just like you were sitting at it. You have full mouse & keyboard functionality, and you even seen the full UI on your local monitor.
What's it for?
At home I use Remote Desktop connections to log into and manage the servers on my network - the servers are literally two boxes in the utility room closet. They have a power cord and a network cord, and that's it! No mouse, no keyboard, and no monitors to be found.
So when I need to change a setting on my web server, or create a new file share on my file server, I just open a new RDC to the necessary server and viola! It's like I'm sitting at the server's terminal.
Transfer files to & from the Remote box
One of the most common tasks you'll need to do when using an RDC is transfer a file from your local machine to the remote machine that you're logged into. In the past I would open a new file share on the local machine and browse to it from the remote one. Or maybe I'd map a drive using NetBios.
But not anymore! Microsoft's RDP Client has a sweet little feature that will connect your local hard drives to the remote machine when you open a RDC.
I'll tell you!
First, open the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Communications -> Remote Desktop Connection). Then click on the Options button and go to the Local Resources tab. The bottom section of the tab is titled Local Devices, and there you will see a check box labeled Disk drives. Checking this box will automagically connect all disk drives on you local machine to the remote machine when you open the RDC.
When you get logged into the remote box, open My Computer and you'll see that all the drives (hard drives, floppy drives, CD/DVD ROM drives, and even mapped drives) will show up as mapped disk drives. Sweet!
Go ahead and open one of the newly mapped drives and transfer files to your heart's content. Now, how easy and painless was that!
From the Hope This Helps Department... enjoy.