1.3 Overview

Remote Programs, also known as remote applications integrated locally (RAIL), is an RDP feature (as specified in the Remote Desktop Protocol: Basic Connectivity and Graphics Remoting Specification [MS-RDPBCGR]) that presents a remote application (running remotely on a RAIL server) as a local user application (running on the RAIL client machine). RAIL extends the core RDP protocol to deliver this seamless experience. Support for RAIL is optional in RDP, and it is negotiated as part of the capability negotiation process.

The RAIL client, running on the user's local machine, creates one local window or notification icon for every window or notification icon running on the RAIL server. These local windows/icons, called RAIL windows/icons, exactly mimic the appearance of their corresponding remote windows/icons, which are created by remote applications running on the RAIL server. All local user input to the RAIL windows/icons is captured by the RAIL client and redirected to the server. All display updates to the remote windows/icons on the RAIL server are captured by the server and redirected to the client

RAIL relies on the core RDP protocol for basic connection establishment, connection security, local input redirection to server, and drawing order updates from server to client (as specified in the Remote Desktop Protocol: Basic Connectivity and Graphics Remoting Specification). In addition, RAIL adds the following extensions to the RDP protocol:

  • Extensions to the RDP core protocol to send drawing orders from the server to the client describing individual windows and notification icons. This enables the RAIL client to mimic their geometry in RAIL windows/icons.

  • Virtual channel messages from client to server containing client information, system parameters information, and RAIL-specific commands, such as remote program launch.

  • Virtual channel updates from server to client containing responses to client messages, server system parameters information, or information regarding other RAIL-specific features such as local move/resize (specified in section

  • Certain classes of user input are not directly received by the RAIL window/icon as keyboard or mouse input. Examples include right-clicking the window's taskbar icon; key combinations to minimize, maximize, or restore all windows; and all user interactions with notification icons. These interactions are posted to the RAIL window/icon as non-keyboard or non-mouse messages, and, hence, cannot be sent over the core RDP channel. The client sends these interactions to the server as RAIL Virtual Channel messages.

  • A virtual channel message from the server to the client that indicates the ID of the server-side marker window.