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How to Use Microsoft Remote Desktop App for Windows 10: Step-by-step Guide

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The traditional Remote Desktop Connection application is being replaced with the new Microsoft Remote Desktop app, and users requiring remote access to a computer might need some help to understand how to set up Remote Desktop on Windows 10.

Redesigned with the user experience in mind, the app is easy to use but there is a functional limitation. The app can be downloaded from Microsoft Store to all versions of Windows 10, but the Remote Desktop Protocol that enables remote device access is only available on Windows 10 Pro and Business versions. You will not be able to gain remote access to a computer running Windows 10 Home edition.

This article will guide you through all the required steps you need to take to create a remote desktop connection on a Windows 10 machine.

How to configure Remote Desktop on Windows 10 (Initial steps)

To use the Remote Desktop app, you have to allow the remote desktop connections in Windows 10 remote access settings first, as it is disabled by default.

Permit Remote Desktop in the Windows settings

To do this, go to Start -> Settings -> System settings:

  1. Click the “Remote Desktop” menu.
  2. You’ll see the “Enable Remote Desktop” toggle option.
  3. Click to switch the toggle to “On” and click “Confirm” in the popup system message.

    enable remote desktop windows 10

Once done, you can now proceed to install the Remote Desktop onto your computer.

Install Remote Desktop App for Windows 10

If you don’t have the app, you can install it from the Microsoft Store:

  1. Open Microsoft Store.
  2. Search for the “Microsoft Remote Desktop” app.
  3. Download and install the app onto your machine by clicking the “Install” button.

    install remote desktop microsoft store

When the installation is complete, you will see the application on your Start Menu, or you can run the application directly from within the Microsoft Store.

How to create a remote desktop connection on Windows 10

Once you are all set, you are ready to make a remote connection. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Remote Desktop app.
  2. Select the “+ Add” option from the top menu options. Choose PCs from the available options.

    create remote desktop connection windows 10
  3. Enter the required details in the text fields. In the “PC Name” field, use the computer’s TCP/IP address to connect to a remote desktop on Windows 10:
    • Use the local IP address for remote computers that are within a private network.
    • For devices on a public network or if you’re connecting via the internet, use the computer’s public IP.

      configure remote desktop connection windows 10
  4. Click the + option next to the User account section.
  5. You will need to confirm the account login details to sign in to the remote computer:
    • Use the computer’s Microsoft account login details.
    • If the remote device does not have a Microsoft login account, then simply use the local username and password.

      add remote desktop connection windows 10
  6. Additionally, you can specify a nickname for the connection in the optional “Display name” field.
  7. Click the “Show more” arrow.

    show more remote desktop settings
  8. Configure the additional settings parameters if required. The parameters include resolution settings of the remote session; or the option to connect as an admin, etc. These settings are optional and you can leave them as the default values.

  9. When done click “Save” to confirm your settings.

  10. You’ll notice a “Saved Desktops” section within the app. Click the computer icon to connect to a remote Windows 10 desktop to start your remote session.

    remote desktop connect windows 10
  11. You’ll be prompted about a certificate the first time you connect. You can select the “Don’t ask about this certificate again” option to prevent seeing this each time you connect.
  12. Click “Connect” to start the remote session.

If you’ve successfully followed all the steps and configured your app correctly, you will now be able to access your remote Windows 10 device.

To terminate a session, simply close the app, or click the ‘…’ link to access the “Disconnect” option.

Windows 10 Remote Desktop app settings

You may find you need to make changes to your setup configuration. Changes to Windows 10 remote access settings can be done quite easily.

Changing general settings

To make any configuration changes to the app, simply open the settings page:

  1. Open the app.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select the user account that you wish to edit.
  4. Click the ‘Edit’ option (Pen icon).

    edit general remote desktop settings
  5. When done, simply click “Save” to save your changes.

    save changes general rdp settings

If you need to create additional user accounts, you would do this in the settings screen. Simply click the + plus button. You may want to connect to different devices with different user accounts or you may be sharing with other users.

You’ll notice there’s an option to select a Gateway server, although you’ll find that there is rarely any need in using it.

You can also create groups and organize your users into specific groups. This doesn’t change the functionality at all, but simply provides a means to organize your user accounts should you have many different users.

Adjust session settings

The steps to edit your Remote Desktop session settings are as follows:

  1. Launch the Remote Desktop app.
  2. Select the “Settings” option from the top menu bar.
  3. You can toggle whether you want the remote connection to start in full screen or not.
  4. You can opt for new connections to open in a new window or not.

    rdp session settings
  5. You can even determine how the app should handle the remote desktop display when the app is resized. Available options include:
    • Stretch the content, preserving the aspect ratio (recommended).
    • Stretch the content.
    • Show scroll bar.

      remote desktop display settings
  6. You can determine whether keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+C(Copy) work within the remote desktop session. To change the options select the “Use keyboard command with a “ dropdown and select from the available options:
    • My local PC only.
    • My remote session when it’s in full screen (recommended).
    • My remote session when it’s in use.
  7. You can also toggle the option to prevent the screen from timing out

The Remote Desktop app also offers a preview feature that shows a snapshot of the remote machine helping with determining the right connection.

Changing connection settings

Follow the following steps to make connection setting changes:

  1. Open the app.
  2. Select the additional options (three dots) from the saved desktop that you want to edit.

    edit rdp connection settings
  3. Make the changes as required.

    update pc remote desktop windows 10
  4. If you want to delete a connection, simply select Remove from the more options menu (…).
  5. You can also select “Pin to Start” from the more options menu to make the saved desktop more easily accessible.

When done your changes will be saved automatically and the changes will take effect immediately.