Downloading Microsoft’s Remote Desktop installer package from the App Store
Microsoft recently released a new version of its Remote Desktop application, which is used to connect from a Mac to a Windows-based computer and work with programs and files on that PC. Like previous versions of the Remote Desktop application, it’s a free application but the new Remote Desktop application is only available via the Mac App Store and doesn’t currently have a separate installer available for download.
However, if you have already added Remote Desktop to your list of App Store applications, it is possible to get a copy of the Remote Desktop installer from the Mac App Store using a process I’ve previously documented. See below the jump for details.
To install Remote Desktop, the Mac App Store will download an installer package from Apple, install Remote Desktop, then delete the installer package as part of the post-installation clean-up. However, it is possible to make the App Store leave behind a copy.
1. Go to a machine that does not have Remote Desktop installed.
2. If it is open, quit out the App Store application
3. Open Terminal and run the following command:
defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true
4. Launch the App Store application. It should now have a Debug menu showing.
5. If needed, sign into the App Store and go to Purchases. From there, find Microsoft Remote Desktop.
6. Begin the installation process, then click the Pause button to pause the download.
7. Under the Debug menu, select Show Download Folder…
At this point, you should see a folder inside the displayed folder. In that directory, you’ll see a package with a long randomized name. That will be the Remote Desktop installer.
8. In Terminal, run the following command:
ln /path/to/package_from_mac_app_store_name_here.pkg /path/to/name_you_want_to_save_package_as_here.pkg
Using the ln command will set up a hard link to the downloaded installer package. This will create name_you_want_to_save_package_as_here.pkg in the location specified, which is then linked to the contents of package_from_mac_app_store_name_here.pkg. The reason to do this is that the hard-linked name_you_want_to_save_package_as_here.pkg will not be deleted when the App Store deletes package_from_mac_app_store_name_here.pkg as part of the post-installation cleanup.
9. Go back to the App Store and click the Resume button to have the installation complete.
10. Once the installation finishes, name_you_want_to_save_package_as_here.pkg will be available as a signed Remote Desktop installer package. From there, you can use it on its own or as part of a deployment workflow.
When Remote Desktop is installed using the downloaded installer, there will not be a _MASReceipt from the App Store included as part of the application.