If you're in front of your computer and need to access a different machine, Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection tool will let you access everything from afar. As long as the computer is turned on and set up for remote connection, you can grab a file, open an application, troubleshoot a problem, or just work remotely.
Through RDC, you can remotely access multiple computers over the same network, whether they are elsewhere in your household or at the office. If you remotely log into your employer’s network through a VPN, you can also use it to connect to other PCs in your office or business.
Reading: https://aka.ms/remote connections
Remote Desktop Connection is built into Windows but also exists as a Windows 10 Universal app in the Microsoft Store. If you want to access and control a computer from a non-Windows device, Microsoft's RDC app is available for Mac, iOS, and Android.
Set Up Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection
First, you or someone else must physically sign into the PC you want to remotely access. Turn on Remote Desktop on this computer by opening Settings > System > Remote Desktop. Turn on the switch next to “Enable Remote Desktop.” Click Confirm to enable the setting.
By default, the options to keep your PC awake for connections when plugged in and make your PC discoverable on private networks are both enabled. To view or modify either option, click the appropriate Show Settings link, but you can leave both enabled at this point. Instead, click the Advanced Settings link.
Check the box next to “Require computers to use Network Level Authentication (NLA) to connect.” NLA adds tighter security for remote connections over the same network as users must be authenticated before gaining access to the remote PC.
Assuming you're connecting to a computer on the same network, you can ignore the “External connections” section. The section for Remote Desktop port shows the default port to listen for and accept a remote connection.
Click the back arrow to return to the previous screen and scroll through the Remote Desktop settings. By default, any user who has an administrative account on the remote PC can access it. Assuming you're using a Microsoft Account to sign into Windows, and your account has administrative rights, your best bet is to simply use that account to sign in remotely. If you want to grant remote access to a different account, click the “Select users that can remotely access this PC” link at the bottom. Click Add and enter the username for that account.
Finally, make note of the name of this computer as you'll need it to log in remotely. If you wish to change the computer name to something easier to remember, follow these steps. Close the Remote Desktop settings screen when you're finished.
Connect to Remote PC From Windows
Now let's say you want to connect to this remote PC from your current computer at home. Launch the Remote Desktop Connection tool in Windows 10 by clicking the Start button and opening the folder for Windows Accessories. Click the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection.
The process is different for older versions of the OS. In Windows 8.1, press Win key+S to launch the Search tool. In the search field, type “windows remote desktop” and click the result. In Windows 7, click the Start button, open the Accessories folder, and select the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection.
At the RDC window, type the name or IP address of the remote PC in the Computer field. Click the Show Options button, and type the username of the account you'll use to log in. If you wish to save your credentials so you don’t need to enter them each time, check the box next to “Allow me to save credentials.” Click Connect.
Enter your password at the credentials window. Check the “Remember Me” box if you don't want to enter your password each time you use this account. Click OK. You may receive a message saying that the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified. Check the box for “Don't ask me again for connections to this computer” and click Yes.
You should now connect to the remote computer so you can run applications, open and work with files, and perform other tasks. At the top of the screen is a blue connection bar with various options.
The buttons on the left side of the bar let you pin the bar and check the connection speed. Those on the right let you minimize the remote window to the taskbar, change the window size, and terminate the remote session. When you're finished, click the Close icon to end the connection.
Remote Desktop Settings
From the setup screen for Remote Desktop Connection, you can tweak several of the tool's settings.
- General tab: Save the settings for this remote session to an RDP file and then copy that file to another computer to transfer those settings.
- Display tab: Change the size of the remote window and color depth.
- Local Resources tab: Configure remote audio settings, choose when to apply Windows key combinations, and select which local resources you want to use during a remote session.
- Experience tab: Manually adjust the connection speed to control the performance.
- Advanced tab: Set the default action for server authentication.
Use the Remote Desktop App for Windows 10
As an alternative to the built-in Remote Desktop Connection tool, you can use the Microsoft Remote Desktop app in Windows 10. Install the app from the Microsoft Store and launch it. Click the Add button and select the option for Desktop to set up a connection.
Type the name of the computer to which you want to connect. Click the plus (+) button to add your account. At the account window, add your username and password. You can also add an account nickname/display name if you wish. Click Save.
Double-click the icon for the remote PC to connect to it. At the certificate screen, check the box next to “Don't ask about this certificate again.” Click Connect.
You're now connected to the remote PC. Instead of a blue bar on top of the screen, the Remote Desktop app uses a black panel on the side of the screen.
The magnifier icon at the top zooms in and out, while the ellipsis icon switches between full screen and windowed mode. Click the ellipsis icon and then select Disconnect to end the connection.
Connect to a PC From a Mac
To connect to a remote computer from a Mac, install the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the Mac App Store. Launch the app and grant the necessary permissions. Click the button to Add PC, then enter the PC name or IP address.
If you type the PC name, you need to enter the fully-qualified domain name. In the case of an individual PC, you would add .local to the end of the name, as in wtbblue.coml.
For User Account, choose whether to keep the option set to Ask when required, or enter your username and password at this point so you don’t have to enter them each time. When finished, click Add.
At the Home screen, double-click the icon for the remote session. If a message appears telling you that the certificate couldn’t be verified, click Continue. You should then be connected to the remote PC.
Move your cursor to the top of the screen to display the menu bar for the remote desktop app. From the Window menu, you can change the size of the window and close the connection.
Connect to a PC From iOS
You can connect to a remote PC from an iPhone or iPad by installing the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the App Store. Launch the app and give it the necessary permissions, then tap the + button and select the option to Add PC.
At the next window, enter the PC name or IP address of the computer that you want to access. If you use the PC name, you need to enter the fully-qualified domain name. For an individual PC, that means adding .local to the end of its name.
Type or choose your user account. Under Additional Options, you can create a friendly name for the connection and enable other settings. Tap Save, then select the desktop icon to connect to the computer.
From the Credentials screen, enter your password and then turn on the switch next to Store username and password if you don't want to enter them each time. Tap Done. At the authentication window, turn on the switch for “Don't ask me again for connection to this PC.” Tap Accept, and you're connected.
There should be a small toolbar with several icons at the top of the screen. Tap the magnifying glass to zoom in and out. The middle icon takes you back to the main screen for the app without closing your current session. Select the keyboard icon to pull up the device's keyboard.
Connect to a PC From Android
Connect to a Windows PC from an Android phone or tablet by downloading the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from Google Play. Open the app and accept the agreement. Tap the + icon to add a connection and select the Desktop option.
If you're near the remote PC, you can scan for it wirelessly. Otherwise, add it manually. Type the PC name and username. Include any additional options. Click Save.
Tap the icon to connect to that PC. Enter your password and check the box next to “Store username and password,” then tap Connect. At the certificate verification screen, check the box for “Never ask again for connections to this PC” and click Connect.
You're now connected. At the top of the screen is a small toolbar. Click the first icon to open side panels that open additional options. You can start a new connection, end the current one, go back to the home screen, and switch between touch and mouse pointer.
The other icon on the top toolbar opens the device's keyboard. Tap the X in the upper-left corner to disconnect.