Windows Remote Desktop Connection is a protocol built-in to Windows 7 and Windows Vista that lets you connect to another Windows-based machine and control the machine remotely. This is a great tool for systems and network administrators as well as tech support teams offering remote assistance. When you log in with Remote Desktop Connection, it will be as if you were sitting right in front of the host computer. You’ll be able to read/write the files on the computer and perform any necessary functions on the computer. For security reasons, Windows Remote Desktop Connection is disabled by default. Here’s how to get it up and running on your Windows desktop machine.
From the machine that will be accepting a Windows Remote Desktop connection, log in to Windows and click the Start button.
Right-click Computer and choose Properties.
From the Systems Properties Windows, click Remote Settings.
In the Remote tab of System Properties, select the option under Remote Desktop that reads Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure). This is the most secure option and will work with all Windows 7 and Windows Vista computers. However, computers running Remote Desktop Connection for Mac or attempting to connect from a Linux-based or third-party Remote Desktop Connection client may not have access. If you’d like, you can choose the second option, which reads Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop which will allow these clients to connect.
Your computer is now ready to accept connections from Remote Desktop Connection protocols.
To connect to a host machine, launch Remote Desktop Connection from the client machine. If you are on the same local area network as the host machine, simply type in the computer name of the host machine and click Connect. If this does not work, or if you are connecting to a machine on the Internet, type in the computer’s IP address.
Note: If you connect to a computer using the IP address, you’ll receive a security warning from Windows telling you that the remote computer could not be authenticated. This is because the connection name you entered doesn’t match the computer name. This is normal if you’re using an IP address. Simply click Yes to dismiss the message and proceed.
You’ll be prompted to enter the user name and password for the host machine. This is the same user name and password you would use if logging into the computer locally.
Once connected, any local users will be logged off and locked from using the computer until the Remote Desktop Connection is terminated. Alternately, you can log in from the local machine to end the Remote Desktop Connection.
Note that the remote user will have any privileges that are associated with the user account they used to log in. If you do not wish to give remote users full administrator access when logged in remotely, set up another account for remote users.