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Quickie: Remote Desktop IP address

February 24th, 2009

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop for Mac is a great piece of software (Remote Desktop on Windows is way ahead of the Mac, which is slow and based on VNC).

Because VNC is so slow, I often ssh into my work system when I work remotely. But I want to use Remote Desktop for my Windows work as well.

My Windows system has a dynamically-attributed IP address and no fixed name (it’s not “on the domain”). I also have a Remote Desktop session running on my work Mac.


lsof (list open files) not only lists open files by all processes, it also lists open ports. Once you know that the Windows Remote Desktop port is called ms-wbt-server, all you need to do is:

    % lsof | grep ms-wbt-server
    -> Remote      220 philippec    9u    IPv4 0x8977e64       0t0       TCP> (ESTABLISHED)

Voilà! The address of the remote Windows system is .

Parsing this through awk to extract the IP address for scripting purposes is left as an exercise to the reader…

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