Vol. 23, #15 - April 16, 2018 - Issue #1177

WServerNews: Ask Our Readers - Third-party RDP apps

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

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Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter we share some reader responses we received on the topic of third-party Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) apps that our readers prefer over Microsoft's own RDP apps for Windows, iOS, and Android that are available for free on each platform's store. After all, just because something is free doesn't mean it's the best solution for your problem or scenario. We also have a new Ask Our Readers question relating to Active Directory that one of our readers needs help with, so maybe some of you out there can suggest something. And we have all the usual other kinds of things including tips, tools, links and fun videos to while away your time as you struggle with rearranging the in your wiring closet. After all, you don't want to get burned by those nasty WiFi rays! On the other hand, correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, right? Obligatory XKCD comic:



Ask Our Readers - Ldap binding function call fail (new question)

This week a reader named Pradeesh has sent us the following question:

In my Domain when I try to enter gpupdate it's getting an error-Ldap binding function call fail-how can resolve this issue please help me

Can any readers who are experts in Active Directory suggest what might be causing Pradeesh's error to occur? Email us at [email protected]


Ask Our Readers - Need a good clipboard replacement (seeking more suggestions)

Last week I asked readers to help me out by suggesting a good clipboard replacement tool/service that replaces the built-in Windows clipboard and has at a minimum the following characteristics:

Additional features that could be useful might be:

I've received a couple of helpful responses from readers but would appreciate some more suggestions if any of you can recommend any software or service that has these features. Please send me your recommendations and I'll share them in next week's issue of WServerNews. Email me at [email protected]


Ask Our Readers - Prevent use of MS Edge (one more response)

Two weeks ago we included an item from a reader named Alessandro who asked whether Microsoft Edge can somehow be removed from Windows 10:

Hello Mitch! We have moved on to Win10 but our intranet it still needs IE. So we do not want Edge on our machines! How can we remove?? Or block users from starting it??

We published one reader response last week, but since then another reader named Jeremy has offered a more detailed suggestion for Alessandro's problem:

I had a few possible answers to help with the questions you asked your audience in the last newsletter. Specifically the question about disabling Edge and Windows Clipboard replacement options. I'll start with the query about how to disable Edge Browser. We also needed to do that at our organization because Edge doesn't allow DLP inspection for traffic (after version 1703) and we needed to be able to block sensitive data outgoing from browsers. We had to figure out a way to disable edge before we could start rolling out that update. We ended up using the below steps to setup a Group Policy to configure this. It can also be done on the Local Computer Policy to test if GPO isn't an option.

  1. Open gpedit.msc and go to Computer Configuration>Windows Settings>Security Settings>Software Restriction Policies> and make sure the settings shows this:


  2. Please right click on "Additional Rules" and select "New Path Rule"


  3. In the "New Path Rule" select the path "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe" and Security Level: Disallowed


  4. Click "Apply" and check the restriction policy by trying to launch EDGE.


When trying to run Edge after applying this you should see this message:

You might have to force the policy update using "gpupdate/force" if this was applied using GPO.

Now let's move on to the main topic of this week's newsletter.

Ask Our Readers - Third-party RDP apps? (recommendations from readers)

A couple of weeks ago we included the following question we received from John a sysadmin in Perth, Australia:

Microsoft has its own Remote Desktop Protocol apps for Windows, iOS, and Android and they're free on each platform's store. But what about third-party RDP apps? What's out there that the WServerNews community like to use? I'd love to hear from what other IT pros think about this. And why you use what you use. Thanks!!

Let's take a look at what our readers have recommended so far. A reader named Andrew doesn't hesitate to suggest this product:

Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager


They've thought of everything and it integrates with pretty much everything you can think of. I use it for RDP, SSH, web UI's, and much more. The level of customization you can do it amazing. Things like built-in VPN, macros, and different ways to do credential storage make it the best IT tool I've ever seen.

Kevin who works at a Community College in Tennessee, USA concurs:

I like remote desktop manager (free edition). It supports multiple protocals (Apple Remote Desktop, Microsoft Remote Desktop, SSH Tunnel, Telnet, VNC, SSH Shell, TeamViewer, FTP, Filezilla, etc)

Another reader named Kevin, this one working for U.S. National Flood Services, also thinks Devolutions' product is the best RDP client replacement:

Devolutions has the best RDP app hands down. They even have a free version. However, their enterprise version allows you to store all connections in a database and share them between coworkers. It supports more than just RDP, they have integrated with putty, web sites, cisco ASDM, and many other vendors and technologies to support their connections. My team's productivity went up the day we implemented it.

Chris from Newcastle in the UK also thinks Remote Desktop Manager is the best enterprise-level replacement for Microsoft's in-box RDP client:

I'm a big fan of Devolutions' Remote Desktop Manager. It's been a staple tool for me for the past eight years and hasn't let me down once. The free version is very usable, but I'm happy to pay for the enterprise single user license (currently $149). It runs a good-looking tabbed interface for multiple RDP sessions, and the latest version can run multiple windows with multiple tabs, for those with more than one monitor. Other favorite features include Active Directory Sync, so I'm always up to date with the estate; robust credential management, so I can use minimum access accounts when necessary; and third party tools integration, so access to our other sites and web interfaces is really easy. There's an iOS version too. It's the first piece of software I install when I rebuild an admin machine and if I could hug it I would!

By the way, thanks so much for WServerNews, you've been a great help on many occasions. Keep up the great work.

Moving on, a reader named Mark who works at a college in Alberta, Canada uses this open source tool:

One that I use for access to Servers is mRemoteNG:


Good old TeamViewer also has some fans:


A reader from MIT with initials DB says:

Teamviewer! Love it. Multi-platform, and there are diff versions depending on particular use, i.e., non-installable version, unattended version, etc. Even the remote support person can run a version that you don't have to install on your own system, for occasional use.

Another reader named Scott from Perth, Australia agrees:

I use Teamviewer it's good. Config is a bit complex to setup. It is not obvious to setup that way. There is some suspicion about their security but so far no definitive proof I could find. You don't have to use their central server if you are suspicious you can direct connect to machines if you have dynamic dns setup or just using only in Intranet setup. I found less CPU overhead on Windows machines compared to other RDP apps.

Clarence, a Cloud & Managed IT Solutions Specialist, suggests that the best tool to use depends on what you want to use it for:

We utilize both Teamviewer and Splashtop (RMM integration) for remote connections:


However, for local network access, I prefer Parallels Client (formerly 2X RDP Client) as the client frontend to Microsoft default:


Finally for readers using or leaning towards Linux we have these suggestions from a reader named Peter:

I have recently been moving to Linux for various tasks. A gem for multi-platform remote access is Nomachine:


If you have to deal with multiple platforms it's a great option. It also has quite a few advanced options like easy file UL/DL and USB device forwarding (I understand). It's highly performant - very comparable with RDP performance - Maybe even better... Linux users who persist with VNC-based solutions don't know what they are missing out on. There is NO comparison.

I am in the middle of running an experiment where I do all my Linux development on a graphical desktop on a Google Compute Engine instance, that I access from wherever I am. If I want 12 CPUs or 64Gb of RAM today - I just reconfigure the VM temporarily and pay a few more cents per hour. And the machine always has the fastest connection to the Internet you could imagine...

It costs just cents per day, particularly since I shut it down when not in use. Working up to writing a Medium post about my experiences...

There is also X2go which is another open-source fork of the same underlying technology:


If any readers have any additional third-party RDP client tools they'd like to recommend, you can email us at [email protected]

One more thing. This just in from the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security Blog:

Remote Desktop web client public preview

As announced at Microsoft Ignite, a new web client is being developed to provide access to virtualized apps and desktops from a browser, without the need to install a local client. This provides a consistent experience across devices, minimizes installation or maintenance costs, and provides quick and easy access from kiosks and other non-personal devices. Find out more here:



Ask Our Readers!

WServerNews now has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

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At Microsoft today, we think of Windows as a service. Cloud-powered Windows Analytics have streamlined the upgrade to Windows 10 Creators Update for our employees around the world. In this IT Showcase session, listen in as Microsoft IT experts share lessons learned, best practices, and tips and tricks. Explore concepts around transitioning to Windows as a service, agile enterprise adoption, and streamlining the adoption approach. Plus, get details on application compatibility testing, upgrading, readiness, and user-initiated deployment. And wrap the course with details on adopting Windows Hello and Always-On VPN connection.


Factoid of the Week - Ka-ching!!

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

Jupiter's Great Red Spot may soon disappear. Any astronomy buffs among our newsletter readership? What's your favorite astronomical story or factoid?

We obviously have some astronomy buffs among the 400k+ subscribers to our newsletter. Let's start off with this comment from Don from Iowa, USA:

Eris Discovered; Pluto Demoted. In January 2005, Mike Brown and his team at Palomar Observatory, Calif. discovered 136199 Eris, a minor body that is 27 percent bigger than Pluto. Eris had trumped Pluto and become the 9th largest body known to orbit the sun. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided that the likelihood of finding more small rocky bodies in the outer solar system was so high that the definition "a planet" needed to be reconsidered. The end result: Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet and it acquired a "minor planet designator" in front of its name: "134340 Pluto." Mike Brown's 2005 discovery of Eris was the trigger that changed the face of our solar system, defining the planets and adding Pluto to a growing family of dwarf planets.

I felt sad the day I heard the IAU had demoted Pluto from the status of full planet to minor planet. My own feeling is that if it looks like a planet and smells like a planet then it's a planet! :-P

Gustavo from Ontario, Canada is also obviously an astronomy buff:

Hi Mitch. Thanks for the great newsletter you put together every week for IT professionals.

I've been interested in Astronomy since my high school days. I currently own an eight-inch telescope. Unfortunately I don't use it as often as I would like! I try to keep up with astronomy-related news with newsletters and websites. Occasionally I buy magazines (Astronomy, Sky and Telescope).

One of the most exciting things that I've seen is the advance of astronomy due to technology, specially computers. A few examples:

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey:


Very Large Telescope:


Square Kilometer Array radio telescope:


The amount of computer power and data storage required for these projects is mind-blowing! Example:


Besides the technology aspect, over the years I've been lucky to enjoy many "astronomical" moments:

I look forward to many more years of astronomy news and events!

Many years ago when I was studying Physics at university I earned some bucks for several years as the lab tech for my Astronomy professor. I remember spending all night on the college roof peering through a 12 inch reflector trying to find Messier objects. My most fun (NOT) evening was going outside the city into a dark rural area in 30 below weather in the winter to set up telescopes to observe and time a lunar occultation:


The idea was that the professor and I would set up telescopes a kilometer apart and measure the exact moment when a particular star disappeared behind a mountain on the visible edge of the moon. Our measurements would then be combined with those of other astronomy buffs to create a profile of the mountain and determine its height above the moon's surface and its width at various heights. In those days we didn't have CCD cameras for our telescopes, so we used our eyeballs and clicked a toy metal "clicker" (see video below) the moment the star disappeared and again when it reappeared:


We then tape recorded the clicks together with the sound of a NIST atomic clock ticking as heard on our shortwave radio receiver:


Playing the tapes back later and allowing for our own estimated reaction times allowed us to determine the occultation times in Coordinated Universal Time to an accuracy of about a tenth of a second.

Gee astronomy was fun in those days…

Anyways, let's now move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, recently announced his retirement as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings


I never realized before that the expression in this Dilbert comic originated with a real live person:


: Where did the pumping gesture used with this expression originate?

Email your answer to us at [email protected]

Until next week, 

Mitch Tulloch


Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Take a crash course on Active Directory with Microsoft MVP Sander Berkouwer to learn how to properly deploy, configure and virtualize an Active Directory in Windows Server 2016.


EBF Delegated Admin enables MobileIron CORE multi-client capability for distribution of roles and rights by administrators:


Darktable is an open source photography workflow application and raw developer:


Drive Tools for Windows are all freeware and work under Windows 2000 and higher:


This Week's Tips

Azure - Secure your resources

Anuj Chaudhary has a new post on his blog on how you can use Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management (PIM) to manage, control, and monitor access to Azure Resources within your organization:


MacOS - Tracing network machine traffic

Frank Hu from the Azure Active Directory Developer Support Team has an article that explains how you can configure your Mac OS X to be able to track all your network traffic using MITMProxy, a free and open source alternative to Fiddler, Charles, and other network tracing alternatives for Linux/mac OS X systems:


PowerShell - Getting started with Azure CLI

Danny Kolke has a post on the Premier Developer blog that gives you a practical guide on getting started with PowerShell and Azure CLI:


Events Calendar

Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas Apr 30 - May 3:


Citrix Synergy in Anaheim, California May 8 - 10:


VeeamON 2018 in Chicago May 14 - 16:


Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit in Toronto, Canada May 15-17:


Microsoft Ignite 2018 on September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

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WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Don't Look Down - Living On The Edge

A compilation of people who are not afraid of heights and enjoy living on the edge:


Eric Mead Fools Penn and Teller With Incredible Magic Trick

Watch this incredible sleight of hand coin magic trick by Eric Mead which even impresses and fools Penn and Teller:


Men In Coats - Humour - The World's Greatest Cabaret

The comedy team 'Men in Coats' perform at the French television show The World's Greatest Cabaret hosted by Patrick Sebastien:


Cool Cats

Cats can be so funny and full of personality. When they are not busy hunting, they can be cool, relaxed and nonchalant:


Have any other readers found similar content they'd like to recommend for our Fave Links section? Email us at [email protected]


WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.