Make Microsoft Remote Desktop A Portable App

Jorge Sierra 17-01-2009

remote desktop portableMicrosoft Remote Desktop is one of those great day-to-day tools that I use quite often. If you use multiple Windows computers in different locations, it allows you to connect to them and use them as if you were sitting directly in front of them. If you access computers remotely from guest machines where you use portable apps 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS Portable apps let you take your favorite software anywhere via a flash drive or cloud storage. Here are 100 of them to cover your every need, from games to image editors. Read More , you can make Remote Desktop a portable application with relative ease.


To make Remote Desktop a portable app, you will need to copy four files from your Windows system.  Two of them, mstc.exe and mstscax.dll are located in the C:\WINDOWS\system32 directory.

remote desktop portable files

The other two, mstsc.exe.mui and mstscax.dll.mui, are located in a subdirectory within C:\WINDOWS\system32. The name of the subdirectory will depend on the language and locale of the Windows system you are using. If your language is English and you are in the USA, they will be located in C:\WINDOWS\system32\en-us.

portable remote desktop client

When you copy the files to your drive, you will want to replicate this structure. Let’s say you are in the USA, your portable drive is Y:, and your portable apps reside in Y:\PortableApps. You can create a new Folder in PortableApps called Y:\PortableApps\RemoteDesktop


Portable Remote Desktop Directory

Within the RemoteDesktop directory, you would create a subdirectory with your locale. If you have an English installation in the USA, create a subdirectory called en-us. Then copy mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll into RemoteDesktop and mstsc.exe.mui, and mstscax.dll.mui into en-us.

That’s all there is to it!  Now you can take portable Remote Desktop client on the road with you. I prefer Remote Desktop to VNC, because I find it to be faster at higher color depths.

What portable remote control program(s) do you use?

Related topics: Portable App, Remote Desktop, VNC.

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  1. ksh
    December 1, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Regarding someone's question on why someone would need the portable edition - I dunno about them guys but at some places - the "edited" editions available for the Windows OS don't actually have RDC there so a portable edition would be invaluable in that situation.

  2. Friends
    October 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Vielen Dank für diesen Vorschlag. Ich schicke Dir einen Gruß aus Deutschland.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I send you regards from Germany.

  3. sem
    September 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Having a speedy portable remote desktop is a very nice commodity. This is perfect for the traveling business man. Great post.

  4. shokti
    July 31, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    if you want to install remote desktop in windows 2000 just download it to microsoft website [Broken Link Removed] . I install it on my windows 2000 pro and it works fine. I tried a lot of remote control software but remote desktop is the fastest in windows.

  5. rvdmast
    January 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I wonder why you'd want to take a portable version of mstsc with you when it's built in on every windows OS since windows 2000 ? And for those rare occasions where you need it on Windows 9x or NT, you can download a client for those too from MS. And your portable mstsc isn't going to work on Linux or Mac either, there are native clients for those OSses too though...

  6. Nicbot
    January 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    "What portable remote control program(s) do you use?"

    MSTSC for sure, but I've found lately that having a free Logmein account or using Teamviewer have proved to be priceless (no pun intended). I realize it's a bit off topic to mention them, but if the environment allows the use of these tools, I would highly recommend them.

    ...Obviously probably not for corporate LAN use :)

    Also, I like mRemote for management.

    Portable version available.

  7. sanb
    January 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Two of them, mstc.exe and mstscax.dll are located in the C:\WINDOWS\system32 directory.

    maybe mstsc.exe ?

    • Jorge Sierra
      January 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      You need four files in total: mstc.exe, mstscax.dll, mstc.exe.mui, and mstscax.dll.mui. mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll are in C:\WINDOWS\system32 and the others in the local directory (C:\WINDOWS\system32\en-us if you're in the US with an English installation).

      • Guy Nishimoto
        July 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm

        I tried what you suggested, but could not find the *.*.mui files in the en-us subdirectory. In fact, the laptop from which I copied the mstc.exe and mstscax.dll did not have an en-us subdirectory and did not have the *.mui files.

        But Remote Desktop worked without them. I remote desktopped to another computer.

  8. Nick
    January 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Cool, thanks for that.

    now how do I host Remote Desktop on Vista Premium?

    • Jorge Sierra
      January 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm

      It is possible to do and there is info out there on how to do it. Perhaps I'll write up a post on it.

      • Nick
        January 18, 2009 at 3:06 am

        That would be good. Some of the info I have come across seems to be outdated as M$ blocked a previous hack. It would be good to clarify the info.

        Thanks again.