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The Mac Cannot Connect To The Windows-Based Computer, OSX RDP With CoRD

I have noticed every now and then when using Remote Desktop Connection for Mac that I am unable to connect to Windows based computers. Initially I thought the issue was related to specific versions of Windows 7 and then when that turned out not to be the case I thought it had to do with the Remote Connection Settings on the Windows computer specifically the “More Secure” and “Less Secure” setting when configuring RDP on Windows. It turns out neither of those were the actual problem and it really is just the fact that the computer is connected to a Domain or Domain Controller.I was able to make connections using actual Domain accounts however not the local computer accounts which not only included users in the Remote Desktop Users group but also Administrators that by default should be able to make Remote Desktop Connections. Below I describe some of the basic items that should be confirmed to not be the case however I still suggest that you uninstall Remote Desktop Connection for Mac and install CoRD: Simple RDP Remote Desktop.

Error Connecting To Windows 7 From OSX Using Remote Desktop Connection for Mac:

The Mac Cannot Connect To The Windows-Based Computer

OSX RDP To Windows Error Text:
The Mac cannot connect to the Windows-based computer.
The problem can occur if:

  • The Windows-based computer is not set up to accept remote connections.
  • The Windows-based computer is not turned on.
  • The Mac, or the Windows-based computer is experiencing network problems.

Try connecting to the Windows-based computer again, or contact your administrator.

Troubleshooting Tips If Your Computer Is Not Connected To A Domain Controller: 

There are numerous things that can be attempted if you are set on using Remote Desktop Connection for Mac but again it is suggested to simply uninstall Remote Desktop Connection for Mac and install CoRD which will be described in more detail below. The first things that should be checked including making sure you are able to reach the RDP port on the Windows computer which by default is port 3389. You can verify this port is open and it is actually RDP by using something like nmap and the nmap banner script as shown in the below example image. If RDP is running on port 3389 the banner will return something similar to Microsoft Terminal Service.

Use nmap To Verify Remote RDP Port Or Port 3389 Is Open:

Use nmap Banner Script To Verify Remote RDP Port Is Open

If the port is open you could next confirm that you are typing the Windows servers hostname properly into the domain field and again if you come to find out that the Windows server is connected to a Domain you will not be able to RDP to the server with local users. You will however be able to connect if you are attempting to RDP from OSX to a Windows server connected to a domain if you are using domain users with the proper credentials. Regardless CoRD is a much better RDP app and does not cost any money so it seems like a waste of time to do to much troubleshooting with Remote Desktop Connection for Mac.

Uninstall Remote Desktop Connection For Mac And Install CoRD: Simple RDP Remote Desktop:

Follow the steps below to uninstall Remote Desktop Connection for Mac and install CoRD the Simple RDP Remote Desktop for OSX.

  1. Uninstall Remote Desktop Connection For Mac: Open a Finder windows and drag the Remote Desktop Connection for Mac application to the trash bin. This will actually uninstall the application from your OSX computer.
  2. Download CoRD: CoRD can be downloaded by clicking here or by visiting cord.sourceforge.net.
  3. Install CoRD: Now double click on the zip file downloaded from CoRD’s website which will be named something like CoRD_0.5.6.zip. This will unpack the CoRD application. If the windows doesn’t automatically pop open it may have fallen behind some other windows so simply close out some other windows until you find it. Once located double click on the CoRD .app file to launch CoRD which will ask if you would like to move the CoRD.app file to your Applications directory. Once the application is moved it will automatically launch and look similar to the below example image.

    CoRD Simple RDP Remote Desktop To Connect To Windows RDP Servers

  4. Configure New Windows RDP Server In CoRD: Once the CoRD application is running you can either make a quick connection or add a new server that will stay in the left menu of the CoRD application. To add a new RDP server click File in the Mac top navigation menu when CoRD is active as shown in the below example image.

    CoRD OSX RDP Add New Server Menu

    Select New Server from the drop down displayed above which will launch the CoRD New Server configuration window as shown below.

    CoRD New RDP Server Configuration Window

    Once you have configured the new server close the window and you will now see a server in the left navigation menu. Any servers listed in the left menu of CoRD can be double clicked to make an immediate Remote Desktop connection.

CoRD is awesome in more ways that one including the fact that it is extremely light weight, you can make a full screen RDP connection, and so far I have been able to configure every necessary setting that I have needed for each specific server. Do yourself a favor and give CoRD Simple RDP Remote Desktop application a try and ditch the Remote Desktop Connection for Mac.

Windows Server® 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services Resource Kit (Paperback)

By (author): Christa Anderson, Kristin Griffin


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