Q: How do you enable Windows 8 and Windows RT users to subscribe to published applications by email address?

A: In Windows Server 2008 R2, the Remote Desktop Services role offered a web portal ability and also the ability to subscribe to the published applications and desktops from a client side component, which then places the published applications and desktops directly on the Start menu/screen.

In Windows 7, this is accomplished via the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections control panel applet and typing in a special URL which is the feed source. In my environment, for example, where my web portal server is savdalrds01.savilltech.net, my feed URL would be


In Windows 8, the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections can still be used. However, the new Metro-style Remote Desktop client in Windows 8 and Windows RT allows a user to simply type in their email address and the configuration is performed automatically, as the screen shot shows.

To enable the ability for users to type in their email address and auto-discover the publishing server, the only requirement is a single DNS text record at the root of the user's DNS domain (e.g., in my example, savilltech.net is named _msradc. The value of this record should be the actual feed URL-- https://savdalrds01.savilltech.net/RDWeb/Feed. Notice we don't add webfeed.aspx to the end).

Essentially, what happens is that when the user types in his or her email address, the DNS domain of the email address is used to search for the appropriate _msradc text record. My record can be seen below.

To configure this, do the following:

  1. Open DNS Manager.
  2. Right-click the domain's forward lookup zone and select Other New Records...
  3. Select a type of Text (TXT) and click Create Record...
  4. Enter a name of _msradc for the record name, and in the Text field enter the URL for the feed; then click OK.

That's it! You might also check out "Top 10: Windows 8 Enterprise Features."