Choosing a session type

Window Switch supports 5 different session types that you can choose from when starting a new session.
(assuming that you have the required tools installed).
This table should help you choose the one most suitable for your needs:

Features Xpra xpra NX NX VNC VNC RDP RDP SSH ssh X display forwarding
Stability starstarstar starstarhalf-star starstarstar starstarstar starstar
Performance over slow links starstarhalf-star starstarhalf-star starhalf-star starstar half-star
Ability to suspend and resume sessions small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick unticked
Speed of suspend/resume starstarstar star starstarstar starstar n/a
Seamless mode small-tick small-tick unticked small-tick(*) small-tick
Full Desktop mode small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick(*)
Session Shadowing small-tick small-tick small-tick unticked unticked
Session pre-loading small-tick unticked small-tick unticked unticked
Tunnel pre-loading small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick unticked(*)
Does not require a local
small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick small-tick
Typical Server Port number varies

(generally via an ssh tunnel)


(generally via an ssh tunnel)

5900 3389 22
Main Issues
  • Delay when closing/moving sessions
  • Keyboard mapping on Mac OS X
  • Conflicts with RDP sessions
  • Enabling RDP requires a reboot
  • Seamless mode requires disruptive registry changes
  • Should only be used over fast and reliable network connections

  • Stability: this is the reliability of the connection to the server.
    Less stable options (like xpra on MS Windows) may occasionally require you to re-connect the session.
    Note that ssh-forwarding does not allow you to suspend and resume sessions, therefore any session lost due to network connectivity issues will not be recoverable!
  • Performance over slow links: what we consider to be a slow link is anything slower than 1Mbit/s. Performance is also affected by network latency. Xpra can be used with video compression (x264 and vpx), which will trade some picture quality for better performance, this can be adjusted at runtime manually or automatically.
  • Seamless mode: the ability to make the remote applications appear as locally managed windows, without needing a full remote desktop.
  • Full desktop mode is the opposite of seemless mode, the sessions contain a full remote desktop. (xpra and ssh will use Xephyr and may not be very efficient)
  • Session pre-loading: the ability to prepare empty sessions in advance, and only start the real application demanded by the user.
    This reduces session startup time.
  • Tunnel pre-loading: the ability to tell the clients to prepare SSH tunnels which are likely to be needed in the future.
    This reduces application startup time dramatically when connecting to distant servers.
  • If you disagree with any of the assessments above, please send us some measurements to prove your case and we will update the marks.

About the "Microsoft Windows Limitation" message: you may see this warning when connected to a Windows server.
This is to indicate that Windows servers can only export their local display (and even this is subject to limitations imposed by Microsoft, see RDP protocol for details), you will not be able to start new applications or virtual desktop sessions.
This limitation is imposed by the fact that Microsoft Windows is unable to support any of the protocols above in any useful way (as a server only).
This does not prevent you from starting and connecting to sessions on any other type of supported servers as the client for Windows supports all protocols.