Remote Desktop software for Mac, that offers true resolution matching on the CLIENT side needed (no re-scaling)

I hope someone can shed some light on this.

For years I have used Remote Desktop for Windows (using the RDP protocol) to connect to Windows servers and workstations alike. One feature it has always had in its favour, is the ability to serve up the remote connection on the accessing client to either a pre-defined resolution, or 'full screen', with the resolution reverting back on the remote host, when logged in to that locally later. I have never been able to find software for the Mac platform that does the same thing (despite trying many VNC based clients, etc).

To explain what I want, I'll detail the scenario for what I'm trying to achieve. I'm taking some time off work later this week, and want to start having a crack at iOS / Objective-C programming. I have a MacBook Air with a 1440 x 900 display. I could just sit and work at this, but my Windows PC has 2 x Full HD res screens (1920 x 1080), and is more comfortable to work at. I would much rather be able to remote in to the MacBook Air from here, get the benefit of at least 1 of these screens being used (and ideally 2), at full res with 1 to 1 pixel scaling (I.e. no rescaling). If I connect to my Windows 7 desktop at work with RDC, this can be done no problem at all - it alters the remote resolution to match my local PC (or a window size I request), and allows the support of two screens, even though my work PC only has one.

Does anyone know if any such software exists for the Apple platform on the Server side that allows this, and a Windows client on the client side? If I use VNC, I have to set the resolution to what I want on the Mac (which could be impossibly high) and then I don't think two screens are supported. I last tried all this about a year back, so please forgive and educate me if things have changed - I thought I'd tap in to the great knowledge out there before wasting hours trying products I've tried before, only to find nothing has changed..... (I hoped Citrix's history in the RDP with MS stuff might have some direction on a Mac version, but couldn't establish that from their site)

Many thanks guys :D
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bluemercuryAsked:
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andymacfCommented:
Have you tried Teamviewer? You can try it free

Hope this helps.
Andy
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Hi Andy - fully licensed for TeamViewer, use it loads. But TeamViewer is a screen scaler of the remote system being connected to. For example, if I remotely connect to a 1280 x 1024 desktop from a 1024 x 768 TeamViewer window, TeamViewer keeps the res as 1280 x 1024, but uses scaling techniques to 'resize' the pixels, and fix the remote session in the window.

What I need is an app that connects to the remote computer, changes the native resolution given out by the remote system to 1024 x 768, which then sits perfectly in a 1024 x 768 window (for this example's sake). In my real world instance, dual screen support will be a bonus.

All of this you can do with Remote Desktops on Windows, but I suspect it doesn't exist for Mac, unless someone else confirms otherwise....

Cheers anyway :)
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andymacfCommented:
There is a programme called Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac.  I have donwloaded it but never used it so cannot comment on it's functionality.  Might be worth a try.

Andy
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Sorry - use that too. It is purely a client app, for connecting to Remote Desktop server instances from a Mac. If it worked the other way round that would be problem solved, but sadly it does not (it would require Microsoft producing a RDP based server for the Mac OS X platform, which at present is about as probable as Apple ditching Mac OS X altogether, and convincing the world to buy Windows!)

Cheers :)
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mccrickCommented:
How about the $30 Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB570Z/A

http://store.apple.com/us/question/answers/product/MB570Z/A?pqid=QHHF2YA7P474TTPKA4YKJ2YCHAXDPTACH

 http://www.hdtvsupply.com/mdphdmiv2.html?gclid=CP2Cp-qRj60CFRBphwodhgu2oA

Then just connect one of those big juicy monitors from the PC when you need it. Through in an AB switch box if you are going to do it often. With the AB switch box and the adapter ready to plug into the thunderbolt port, you have a nice full speed HQ video workstation, with your Mac and PC rockin full blast.
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Hi there.

Already have that adapter. My desk is small though, and the laptop has to sit to one side, which makes using a seperate keyboard and mouse to the one on my PC difficult. I also want to be able to switch between tasks I'm doing on my PC, and coding on my Mac. I did toy with getting my Analogue KVM back out (I have the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter too), but that had some minor banding issues, particularly with higher resolutions.

In short, I've thought about this lots, and the only real answer is a true MS RDC equivalent, but I suspect it doesn't exist, and the sense I'm getting on here is that is the case.

I might just go play with some current VNC releases myself, just to make sure nothing has changed. Also, if I just have a VNC window running at 1440 x 900, that will actually probably do the job I guess - just a shame the dual config setup won't be possible.

There are some things that are awesome on the Apple camp, but this is one of those areas where I feel Microsoft have actually implemented a better and more well thought out solution. Screen resizing on remote sessions has been possible since at least Windows 2000.....

From what I've read, Apple's Remote Desktop might do what I need, but the catch is you have to connect from another Mac - no good for me!

Thanks for the input :)
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mccrickCommented:
Sounds like you are the top expert on the subject.
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Thanks ;) I think it's probably more the case I want to do something that isn't possible - who knows, maybe Apple will release a Remote Desktop client for Windows in the way Microsoft have for the Mac (this would be very a sensible move if you're looking at this post, Apple, and I would pay for it!)

I will continue my tests and see what I can find that is going on the VNC camp et al - will report back here with anything I've found.

Sorry to shoot any ideas down - I've certainly got a keen focus on what I want here, and will be sure to report if I find anything positive  :)

Thanks guys...
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mccrickCommented:
Ha Ha Ha, so much for being the expert. Apple will NEVER do that with ARD, but they actually have done a ton for Mac/PC compatibility. (just my tongue in cheek opinions)

Back to using your existing setup though: The MBR is so small you could velcro it to the back of one of those monitors. With the right KVM switch you keyboard will pretty much do the trick. Obviously, stay away from VGA.
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Interesting view. I'm only talking about the client side of things remember (I agree, Apple would not in their right mind produce the server side of ARD for anything but an OS X platform). What you have to remember is that more and more Macs are being implemented in every environment with OS X as their native system, almost universally alongside Windows desktops in any organisation. As a system admin, I don't think my needs here are uncommon, and if Apple did want to muscle in on the likes of TeamViewer's market, it would be a good move to bring the ADR CLIENT to Windows, like MS have done with RDC on the Mac.

Many said the notion of iTunes coming to Windows was absurd (but it happened), and other technologies such as Safari & Quicktime are on Windows too. It's impossible to say that Apple would ever produce a Win Client of ARD or not, but I would certainly think the consideration must be on the table. It would only enhance their sales of ARD and the increased adoption of Apple products if they did.

I think you can enable a legacy mode of ARD for VNC, which I'm going to take a look at the effectiveness of as well. This obviously isn't quite the same though.

By MBR, were you refering to the MacBook Air? They are indeed slim little things :)

Also a KVM is tricky, because the last time I looked DVI ones were darn expensive, but also my logitech keyboard uses the Unity receiver, which requires a USB based KVM, and I would expect to have some interesting problems with from past experiences.

Cheers! :)
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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Just my tuppence worth .. my favourite VNC client for OSX is JollysFastVNC and on Windows the RealVNC client.
For remote access of my iMac I've relied on LogMeIn Free for several years in preference to VNC for its ease of use and connection from almost anywhere.

You are correct that you will have to manually change the screen resolution when connected remotely to MacBook Air if you want a different resolution on your destination PC than the MacBook Air is set by default.  Unless you have an external screen installed on the MacBook Air then you won't be able to have an extended screen area on the VNC connected PC.
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serialbandCommented:
VineServer(OSXVnc) is what you need on the Mac.  The instruction for tiger still mostly works. http://homepage.mac.com/kelleherk/iblog/C755751163/E20060918221834/index.html

On Leopard and Snow leopard, you have to log in on the Mac and stay logged in for the server to start.  Then connect to the Mac Via ssh and set up a tunnel to keep the channel encrypted.  Start up your VNC client.  I've been able to set up multiple VNC connections to the Mac with multiple users, but it requires that the user log in to the Window and connect first before switching to the Login Window or another account.
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Hi guys. My apologies for taking a time to come back to this. All the input confirmed what I already thought - that unfortunately there simple isn't a program for the Mac platform that works in the same way, and as effectively, as Remote Desktop does on a PC. Even Apple's own Remote Desktop system is just a screen scaling VNC server with a few bells and whistles, from what I can tell.

In the end, I have radically changed my setup here so I can start working on dev projects on a Mac, whilst using both my HD screens. I had recently upped the RAM in my Mac Mini to 8GB, and now run VMware fusion with my converted Win 7 workstation alongside Mac OS X. It performs adequately, and this allows me to work how I want to, when I'm at my desk. When connecting in off my MB Air via any kind of VNC system, it's not going to be so clever (given the absurdly different res), although I'll probably just install the dev tools on there too, and then sync the code I'm working on between the two systems as I need to.

Points go to eoinosullivan; whilst you couldn't provide a solution, I believe you understood most what I was targetting doing here, and clarified that a solution simply doesn't exist. I might just give JollyFastVNC a go for another project at some point - thanks for the recommendation!

Thank y'all kindly, and Happy New Year :)

Cheers :)
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bluemercuryAuthor Commented:
Closing comment:

eoinisullivan summed up what I feared to be fact still:

"You are correct that you will have to manually change the screen resolution when connected remotely to MacBook Air if you want a different resolution on your destination PC than the MacBook Air is set by default.  Unless you have an external screen installed on the MacBook Air then you won't be able to have an extended screen area on the VNC connected PC."

I long for a day when Apple can create something in OS X that works as well as RDC on a Windows PC. Thanks for confirming it still doesn't exist! :)
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serialbandCommented:
LogMeIn is probably more secure than VNC unless you purchase the VNC versions with encryption.  The Free versions of VNC are plain text and you really need to tunnel it over SSL or SSH to be secure.
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