So, let's start with the easiest and cheapest method. This is simply to buy a remote desktop software; something like "Desktop Connect". We found this one in the App Store and it looked like it was the best in terms of performance and price. With this application you can setup multiple remote connections to existing systems. These can be Windows, Mac and even Linux (with VNC).
For most the easiest method is going to be to setup a Windows or an OSX system and connect using the default clients. We may cover the Linux side of things later, but for those that are interested the Desktop Connect software even supports VNC over SSH.
To get this going on the Windows system you need to take a few steps. Depending on the version of Windows you are using, you will have a different way of turning remote desktop on. For Windows 7 you have to head into the system properties. From there click on Advanced System Settings and then select the "remote" tab. On this tab click the 'Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop' (less secure) and then apply.
After this is done you can select the users you want to be able to access the computer over this connection.
Now that the Windows 7 PC is setup, let's configure the Desktop Control on the iPad. This is also a pretty easy thing to get going. After you launch the app you just need to add a computer. When adding a Windows machine you want to select the RDP Computer option. This lets the App know what protocol and port to use. From there give your new connection a name, an IP Address or Host Name (host name works best) and then you can choose to setup your authentication.
Personally I do not like to save things like that on my remote products, so I enter in the user name and password with each connection.
Under the advanced settings you can choose the resolution by either manually entering it or by a preset slider. You can make the resolution much higher than the iPad's, but it will force you to scroll around to see everything.
Once you have the setup to your liking (you can see a few more options below), it is time to log in and use your OS of choice. We used Windows 7 for our testing and found it to be well done and quite responsive. You can use any application you have installed on the remote system with the exception of games. The RDP protocol will not allow DX or OpenGL to stream properly yet; maybe in the future we will see this, but not any time soon.
For those of you that are either security conscious or simply paranoid, Desktop Connect offers the option to require a password just to open the App.
Once inside you have multiple options for control. You can see the keyboard, the function keys and even a few Windows specific controls.
But one of my favorite items is the right-click option. This is great for use inside applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even on the Internet.