With remote desktop software, you can access and control physically distant computers connected to the Internet or a LAN as if you were sitting in front of the machine. Remote access software for Windows and macOS allows users to work from any location, collaborate with colleagues around the globe, and provide worldwide technical support from a centralized location. There is also an option to work with commercial apps like TeamViewer, and get remote access on Linux machines with VNC, for example. But in this article we will talk about Remote Desktop Windows configuration.
Using remote access software for Windows
Imagine that you need to connect to one of the computers at the office from your local laptop. On a Windows machine, you can do this with the operating system’s Remote Desktop feature. This tool offers free remote access software for Windows without requiring any complex installation. Open the application with the following steps based on the version of Windows you are running. Remote desktop Windows sessions are supported in all varieties of the OS.
- • Windows 10 remote access – Click the Start button and open the Windows Accessories folder. Select and click the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).
- • Windows 8.1 – Use the Windows + S key combination to open the Search tool. Search for Windows remote desktop, select the result, and follow the prompts.
- • Windows 7 users need to click Start and open the Accessories folder. Click on the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection.
- • Windows XP users should right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Open the Remote tab and select Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.
- • You can also start the Microsoft Terminal Services Client (MSTSC) as a command-line interface to the Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP) client. You can start MSTSC from the Run app or a command prompt.
- • Once you have the RDC window open, enter the TCP/IP address or name of the remote computer you wish to access in the Computer field. Open the Show Options dialog by clicking its button and enter the username you will use when logging into the remote machine.
You can save the credentials so you don’t need to enter them every time you remotely access Windows servers or desktops. Simply check the box next to the Allow me to save credentials option.
- • Click Connect to proceed with the Windows Remote Desktop connection.
- • Enter the password for the account you will use to establish the Windows remote access connection. If you want to save the credentials so you don’t need to constantly enter the password, just check the Remember Me box.
You might be presented with a message indicating that the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified. You can ignore this message and check the Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer box if you are satisfied that you are connecting to the correct machine. After checking the box, click the Yes button.
The remote desktop Windows connection should now be established, allowing you to perform all of the activities you can on local computers. You can access files, save things to the clipboard, and send documents to a local printer from your RDP session. A blue connection bar displaying available options can be found at the top of the screen.You can perform tasks like checking connection speed using the buttons on the left side of the bar. Buttons on the right let you end the session, modify the size of the window, or minimize it to the Window taskbar. Click the Close icon to end the connection when you are done with the Windows Remote Desktop session.
Remote Desktop Settings
The Remote Desktop Connection setup screen lets you modify some of the settings of this Windows remote access software solution.
- • General tab: From here you can save the RDP settings to a file that can be used on another machine to replicate the session.
- • Experience tab: This lets you modify connection speed to control session performance.
- • Local resources tab: This tab enables you to select where Windows key combinations will be applied, modify remote audio settings, and choose local resources, that will be available in the remote session.
- • Display tab: Here you can change the remote window’s size, resolution, and color scheme.
- • Advanced tab: Default actions related to authentication can be set in this tab.
Connect to a PC From an Android Device
An Android phone or tablet can run mobile to PC remote access software. Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from Google Play and perform the installation.
Open the Android remote access software and accept the user agreement. Tap the ❛ + ❜ icon to add a new connection and choose the Desktop option.
You can try to locate the remote computer wirelessly if you are close enough to the machine. If not, the connectivity details need to be entered manually. Enter the name of the remote computer and the username to be used in the connection. After selecting any additional options, tap Save.
Tap the connection icon to establish connectivity with the remote mobile access software. When prompted, supply your password and check the box to enable the Store username and password option. You will be presented with a certificate verification screen where you should check the Never ask again for connections to this PC box. Tap Connect to complete the process.
After the connection is established, a small toolbar is available in the remote access software for Android. Opening the side panels by tapping the first icon allows you to access more options that let you start connections, end the current session, return to the home screen, and switch input modes.
The second icon in the toolbar opens the keyboard on the smartphone. Tapping the X in the upper-left corner of the app disconnects the session.
Connect to a PC From iOS DevicesConnecting to a remote PC from an iPad or other device is possible with remote access software (it also may be commercial software like LogMeIN or TeamViewer).
- Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the App Store. Start the app and follow the prompts to give it the appropriate permissions. Then, begin adding a connection by tapping the ❛ + ❜ button and choosing the Add PC option.
- The next window in the remote access software iPhone app asks you to enter the name or TCP/IP address of the remote machine. When using the name, the fully-qualified domain name must be used and you will need to append .local to its name.
- Select the user account that will be used for the connection. You can designate a user-friendly name for the connection as well as modify additional settings. Tap Save and then the desktop icon to establish the connection to the remote computer.
- On the Credentials screen, furnish the account password. You can enable the switch to Store username and password to eliminate the need to manually enter them for each connection. Tap Done.
- Next, turn on the Don’t ask me again for connection to this PC switch and then tap Accept. You are now connected to the remote computer.
At the top of the screen is a small toolbar with icons that allow you to open the device’s keyboard, zoom in and out for better resolution, and go back to the main screen without ending the session.