Live Mesh Bug Workaround

If you haven’t used the Live Mesh service from Microsoft yet, it’s worth checking out. As part of their whole cloud computing / SaaS initiative, the current features include a centralized “Live Desktop” with 5 GB of storage and the ability to add multiple remote devices. The remote devices currently supported are XP or Vista machines (though it does work on Server 2003), and will soon include Macs and Windows Mobile devices. One of the most useful features is synchronization between devices; so files & folders, media, and applications on one are accessible on another, or from the Live Desktop. Also supported, and my favorite feature, is the ability to remotely access a device through your web browser in what is basically an Active-X Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) plug-in. If you’ve used Remote Desktop Web Connection or TechNet Labs, the interface is pretty identical. The traffic is over HTTPS / port 443 and doesn’t require any firewall holes to be opened.

It is still in a Tech Preview release, so there will be bugs. I came across one that can be seen when you connect to a remote device that is configured to display a logon message prompt. Upon connection, when you send the Ctrl-Alt-Del command to get the login box, the message prompt and login box both display for less than a second, and you are then taken right back to the Ctrl-Alt-Del prompt, never able to enter credentials. I tried several workarounds and key combos that didn’t work, and submitted a bug report to the Mesh dev team. I eventually stumbled on a suitable workaround until this is resolved: simply connect to the remote device, close the RDC browser window and then immediately reconnect to the remote device. You’ll then be able to click through the message prompt and enter your credentials. It’s kludgy but it works. Of course you could also just disable the message prompt, but I’ve always preferred software to actually work like it’s supposed to over making changes to appease it.


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