- Published: Monday, 09 June 2008
Once in a while I still found some new freeware tools I was not familiar with. With the announcement that Citrix is working on starting local applications on one of the well-known SBC community sites in the some of the replies a referral to the website of MQ Technologies was made. Curious that another product beside RES PowerFuse was already available I went to the website I was amazed the solution was a freeware tool. Beside this tool MQ technologies offered also other freeware tooling. In this Glance at Free article I will take a look at their freeware tools named Remote Application Centre, Remote Executer for Terminal Server and Remote File Transfer.
Remote Application Centre
The first utility is an add-on on the Windows Terminal Server implementation. With the Remote Application Centre (RAC) you will display a Window with the applications you would like to provide to your end users instead of a Full RDP Desktop. On the Terminal Server you need to install the RAC. The installation is an easy setup installation with just specifying the destination directory. To auto start the RAC you need to specify this as the initial program within the RDP properties.
Configuration is done via an INI file. In this INI file you specify the applications, which will be shown in the RAC program to the users. Within the INI you can specify which users will be assigned to which applications.
RAC is useful in smaller environment to easily show the applications to users with Terminal Services only. Of course you still need to lock down the Terminal Server to protect it.
Remote Executer for Terminal Server
This tool brought me to the website of MQ Technologies. With this tool you can show and use local applications within the RDP or ICA session. Exactly functionality Citrix is working on right now. For this functionality you need to place the executable TSRemoteExec.exe on the Terminal Server, while on the client the DLL VDTSRemoteExec.dll should be placed in C:\Windows\System32 and registered as a Terminal Server client add-in.
Now you can create a kind of shortcut to the local application by calling the TSRemoteExec followed by the local executable and optional parameters. When starting an application using the Remote Executer an message will be displayed for a couple of seconds.
Remote File Transfer for Terminal Server
The last freeware utility by MQ technologies is Remote File Transfer for Terminal Server. This utility makes is possible to transfer files between the Terminal Server. Similar as the Remote Executer a DLL need to added to client and registered, while on the server also an activeX component need to be added and registered. On top of this you can write your own code to transfer files between the components. But probably the possibility to add a shortcut at the right click options pane on a file association basis to transfer files is the best option of this freeware utility.
I was and I'm still surprised that there is a freeware solution to start local applications within a Terminal Server. Although a message box will pop-up during starting and I noticed that the focus was lost once (during testing) this can be very useful for a few workstations and RES PowerFuse is not in focus. The Remote Application Centre is an easy and cost-effective way to display the applications to the user although with this utility security and lockdown is still necessary. Remote File Transfer utility is probably useful for specific situations to download files to the client, because you have to write some code for it (or use the specific right click feature).