Sep 14, 2014

How to Access Another Computer from Your Computer Using Windows Remote Desktop


Ever wish you could access some files on your work computer when you’re sitting in your home office? Need a report from your home computer that’s due in class? You can configure your computers to be accessible anywhere in the world, from virtually any other computer. There are a variety of ways to do this, including built-in tools, downloadable programs, and browser-based solutions. Read on after the jump to learn how.

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1. Enable Remote Desktop on the computer you want to access. On the Windows PC that you want to access, you will need to enable Remote Access so that other computers can connect to it. You can enable this on the Pro or Enterprise versions of XP, Vista, 7, and 8. This method requires that you be on the same network as the computer you want to access, either through the router or through a VPN.
  • Press the Windows key + Pause to open the System menu. An alternative method is to click the Start menu, open up the Control Panel, click System and Security, then click System.
  • Click the “Remote settings” link on the left side of the window.
  • Check the “Allow remote connections to this computer” box. You can adjust some of the advanced options, such as length of time an invitation is good for, by clicking the “Advanced” button.
2. Add users. You will need to set which users can log in remotely on that machine. Click the “Select Users” button, and then click the Add button. Choose which users you would like to add.

3. Find the system name. When you connect to the computer, you will need to know the system name. You can find this by pressing Windows key + Pause and looking for the “Computer name” entry.

4. Disable Sleep mode. You will not be able to connect to a computer that is Sleeping or in Hibernate. Make sure to disable these if you want to connect remotely.
  • Open the Control Panel and then select Power Options. You may have to switch views to see the icon.
  • Click the “Change plan settings” link next to your active plan.
  • Set Sleep and Hibernate to Never. Click the “Save changes” button when you are finished.
5. Connect to the computer. Log on to the computer that you want to use to connect to the remote computer. Click the Start menu and enter “remote desktop connection” into the Search field. Click it to open it.
  • Enter in the system name of the computer that you want to connect to.
  • Enter in the user name that you are connecting with.
  • Click the “Show options” button to open the advanced options for your connection. You can use these options to tweak your connection to give you the best performance, as well as configure the sound and display.
  • Click Connect to start connecting to the computer. When the connection is made, the other computer’s display will appear in a window on your computer. You can navigate Windows just like you normally would.
6. Open port 3389 to allow connections through the internet. If you want to be able to connect to your remote computer directly over the internet, without having to use a VPN, you will need to open port 3389 on the firewall of the computer you are connecting to. This will expose the Remote Desktop to the internet, meaning potentially anyone access it. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you have a very strong password.[1]
  • To find out how to open ports on your router, check out this guide.
  • Once you open port 3389, you will be able to connect to the computer by entering its public (external) IP address. To find the public IP address, check out this guide. Remember, you will need the IP address of the computer you are connecting to.
7. Connect to your remote desktop with a smartphone or tablet. If you are running Windows 8 0r 8.1 Professional, you can connect to your remote desktop through the official Microsoft apps on iOS and Android. You will need to have Remote Desktop configured on your computer.

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