How are direct RDP and SmartRDP different?

Skytap supports two forms of remote desktop connections. Both let you remotely access a VM desktop from your local machine.

  • A direct RDP connection uses the standard RDP protocol over port 3389. To use RDP, open an external port on the VM, and configure the VM for remote access.
  • A SmartRDP connection is unique to Skytap; it securely connects to the VM through existing Skytap infrastructure. SmartRDP does not require an open external port over the public Internet, or any additional VM configuration steps. Skytap creates a SmartRDP file that is pre-configured and automatically works with all VM operating systems.

The differences between these options are detailed below.

Direct RDP


Supported VM guest OS

  • Windows
  • Linux running an RDP service (like xrdp)
  • All operating systems; no RDP services are required.


  • An RDP client installed on your local machine
  • Opening an external port on the VM (through a published service, VPN connection, or attached public IP)
  • The VM guest OS must be configured to accept remote connections
  • An RDP client installed on your local machine

Supports audio, printing, copying and pasting files?



Is activity recognized by the Skytap auto-suspend timer?


Turn off auto-suspend to avoid unwanted suspension during RDP sessions. Optionally, use the guest OS settings to suspend an inactive VM (see Using guest OS settings to suspend Metered RAM usage for inactive VMs).


Supports “over-the-shoulder” VM view?


Multiple users can connect to the same VM, but they are logged in as separate users. If a new user connects with an account already in use, the existing account user is disconnected.


Multiple users can connect to the same VM and work collaboratively in the same user session.

Best performance

RDP may offer better performance than SmartRDP in high bandwidth or low latency situations.

File name format