How does Microsoft compare RDP to VNC

What is the difference between RDP and VNC?


RDP is semantic. Controls, fonts, and other similar graphical primitives are known to the RDP. This means that when rendering a screen on a network, this information is used to significantly compress the data stream. For example, if you know that this area of ​​the screen is occupied by a button that is gray, you don't need to send an image of the button over the network, just information such as the location of that button. Size and color.

VNC is "dumb" in this regard and mainly works by sending the actual images over the network.

RDP is tightly coupled to the Windows platform, while VNC is available for most platforms. Due to the semantic advantage, RDP is also seen as having a much higher performance than VNC.

RDP stands for Remote Desktop Protocol and is a proprietary protocol that was developed by Microsoft. (More from Wikipedia)

VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing and is platform-independent. (More from Wikipedia)

Although the terms have been mixed up, RDP is typically used to connect to a Windows PC. RDP is built into Windows PCs, but there are clients for Mac and Linux. Linux users can connect to a Windows computer using rdesktop.

VNC requires a separate client that runs on a PC but is platform independent so I can have a VNC client on my PC and connect to a Linux box that is running a VNC server. VNC programs can usually be linked together and often contain other features that RDP does not offer, such as: B. sharing / transferring files and chatting with the person on the other computer.

Our own Jeff Atwood even has a coding horror article from 2005 about the two protocols.

RDP logs you in like at the console in the remote system (only with a delay and DirectX support that is not so good) ... VNC only blindly transmits keystrokes and mouse inputs and receives the desktop in a kind of streaming video.

Adding information to other answers I found while researching,


  • RDP stands for Remote Desktop Protocol. It is a proprietary protocol from Microsoft that allows users to graphically control remote computers.
  • RDP logs a remote user on to the server computer by effectively creating a real desktop session on the server computer that contains a user profile.
  • RDP works the same as if the user had logged into the physical server directly.
  • RDP can support multiple remote users who are logged on to the same server and do not know each other.
  • RDP supports multiple monitors if the client has them


  • VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is a platform-independent graphical desktop sharing system that can be used to control another computer remotely.
  • VNC follows the older model of simply displaying what's on the screen without the need for forced logins.
  • VNC connects a remote user to the computer itself by sharing the screen, keyboard and mouse.
  • When multiple users (including the one using the real physical monitor and keyboard) connect to the same server, they see the same thing and type on the same keyboard.
  • VNC has security implications. If you are working remotely on a computer that is logged on by an administrator, you are effectively an administrator. And if the two of you try to use the computer at the same time, it's even more fun!

Similarities between the two,

  • Both RDP and VNC technologies require client-side and server-side software to support the communication protocol.
  • Both technologies use direct peer-to-peer communication. This means that the local user computer connects directly to the remote computer

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