Remote desktop is certainly a life saver when it comes to work productivity; it can save us lots of time, providing its configuration is done correctly. Depending on the situation, Windows Remote Desktop can go from easy to challenging. In this short tutorial I will show you how to enable remote desktop in Windows XP. This article is divided into two parts: The first part, “Enabling Windows Remote Desktop“, is for people that are on the same network or connected from the web using a VPN, and the second part “Opening Ports in the Firewall” is for those who want to connect through the Internet for a quick job and are not concerned about security. Click on the following link if you with to enable remote desktop in windows 7 and Vista.
Enabling Windows Remote Desktop
If both computers are within the same network or connected through the web using a VPN, these are the only instructions you will need.
In order for Remote Desktop to be operational, it needs to be enabled in the computer you will be connecting to (the destination computer). To enable it, do the following:
1) Click on “Start“.
2) Click on “Control Panel“.
3) Double-click on “System“.
Once the “System” window opens…
1) Click on the “Remote” tab.
2) Under “Remote Desktop“, check “Allow Users to Connect Remotely to this Computer“.
This will enable the “Administrator” account.
Allowing Additional Users (optional, only if needed)
If you want to add other users besides “Administrator”, do the following:
1) Right-click on “My Computer“.
2) Click on “Manage“.
3) On the “Computer Management Window“, under “Computer Management (Local)“, click on “Users“.
4) On the right-hand side of the window, right-click anywhere on the white background and select “New User“. Fill out the information and add it to the list. (Skip this step and go to the next if your user is already on the list).
5) Right click on the new user (or modify an existing one) and click on “Properties“.
6) On the new window that will pop-up, click on the “Member of” tab.
7) Click on the “Add” button.
8) Enter “Remote Desktop Users” on the blank field and click “OK“.
Now you have given your user rights to access the computer from the outside using Remote Desktop.
Opening Ports in the Firewall (Optional, not for VPN Users)
If you decide to connect directly from the web without having a secure connection such as a VPN, you can open the right ports in the firewall. Please note that it is not recommended to leave these ports open all the time, since even though your computer might be password protected, you are making it easier for hackers to access your computer. This, however, can be done when a quick remote access connection is needed and there is no other alternative.
All routers are pretty much the same, but they can use different terminology. Basically, you have to enter your router’s configuration, look for the “Port Forwarding” section and forward port 3389 for both TCP and UDP protocols.
Just remember to remove the port forward once you are done working with Remote Desktop.
Connecting “To” and “From” Other Operating Systems Via Windows Remote Desktop
Windows 7 and Vista
Did you know you can connect remotely to a Ubuntu Linux machine using Windows Remote Desktop? Did you know you can connect from Ubuntu Linux to a Windows Machine using the real Remote Desktop as well? (not the VNC knock-off that comes with Ubuntu and is slow as molasses). I have written articles just for this.