Hello and welcome, my fellow tele-toilers and anyone just scrolling by!
Today’s HelpWire blog is aimed to give you some helpful instructions on using the Windows 10 Remote Desktop app without compromising the safety of the computers. Find out where to find the standard RDS tool in Windows 10, what data you need to make it work, and whether or not you can get it on your iOS device too. On top of that, I’m going to provide you with a clear and easy guide on remote access activation.
So buckle up, and off we go!
Check your Windows version
Before we even start tweaking with any system settings, you need to make sure the operating systems you’re using on both PCs you’re about to link up aren’t Home editions. To set up Remote Desktop on Windows 10 Home editions, the standard RDP app is not the option, sadly. You’ll need to get some third-party tool specifically developed for that particular task.
If you’re not sure which Windows version you have, here are three easy ways to check it:
1. Type ‘version’ in the system search box on the taskbar and choose the System Information application on the results.
2. Go to Start → Settings → System → About. The data you need will be at the very bottom of the About tab:
3. Hit Win + Pause (Break) on your keyboard to invoke the System properties window and find the info there:
Ok, now that we are positive none of the PCs we’re going to link up runs on the Home version, let’s enable the remote connection for both of them, shall we?
How to enable RDP connections on Windows 10
By default, the remote desktop connections are disabled, so to connect computers using the RDC technology you’ll need to mate some changes to the System properties. But don’t get discouraged, ‘cause it’s really easy to do (provided you’ve got the Administrator permissions, of course).
Here are some easy to follow instructions for you:
1. Go to Start → Settings → System → Remote Desktop (1), change the position of the Enable Remote Desktop slider (2) to On, and click the Confirm button (3) in the invoked Remote Desktop Settings window:
After that, every user in your local network that has administrator permissions will be able to connect to this computer remotely. The good thing is that it doesn’t have to be a Windows machine, for there are Remote Desktop versions for other operating systems, including Linux and iOS. Also, you can manually add other users’ MS IDs so they could access your computer’s resources using their MS account authentication credentials.
And don’t forget to click the Advanced settings link to check if the ‘Require computer to use Network Level Authentication (NLA) to connect’ box is ticked. If it is, the users trying to access your PC from other machines in your local network will be prompted to provide login credentials.
As for the external connections, I positively encourage you to get a third-party software tool for that, for the standard Microsoft utility lacks a lot in the safety department even with a decent VPN in place. But we’ll get back to safety aspects later, once we’ve figured out how to use the standard RDC technology application.
Where to find the Remote Desktop application in Windows 10
The most apparent and least convenient method to launch any software is to start at your local disc’s home directory and click your way to the Windows Accessories folder. Or you can take a nice shortcut and get to the said folder using the Cortana search box on your taskbar. Just type ‘remote’ and pick the Remote Desktop Connection app from the search results:
Please note that unlike the similar Microsoft tool named Remote Assistance, the Remote Desktop Connection utility won’t give you an opportunity to communicate with the person on the other side. Quite the opposite - for the whole session time, the user sitting in front of the client-side computer will be cut off and totally out of control. That’s why this tool is not very popular for remote tech support. No one wants to become that confidential with strangers.
Now, to connect a remote PC, you’ll need to know its name or IP address:
Once you click the Connect button, you’ll be able to see the other computer’s desktop, control that machine’s resources, and pass files through the shared clipboard. Well, actually, nine times out of ten, you’ll see the message saying that the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified first, but don’t get discouraged by that, it’s a formal warning. Just confirm that you want to connect anyway by clicking the "Yes" button.
On the top of the screen, you’ll see the blue connection bar showing you the connection speed and some handy tools you can use during your sessions, like the + and - magnifying glass icons for east window size adjustment and the X icon for instant session termination.
To finish the session, click the X icon on the connection bar. The shared clipboard will be automatically cleared, so make sure you’ve saved all the files from there you may need later.
As an alternative to the standard Remote Desktop Connection tool, you can download the Microsoft Remote Desktop application from the Microsoft Store, marketed as a more sophisticated and much safer remote access tool. But I personally don’t see any practical point in doing that. Apart from a couple of new features, it’s really not that different from the older application and shares all its weak points. So why bargain one trouble for another? If you’ve made your mind about getting a non-standard tool for remote desktop connections, get the best one you can.
And that’ll be all for today. Don't hesitate to click my links to dig a bit deeper, stay safe, always remember that VPN is your best friend, and see ya all in the following blogs.