How to Enable, Connect and Fix Remote Desktop in Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7

Remote desktop feature is like a remote control to your PC. This is useful when a third-party service like Microsoft technical support wants to fix problems on your computer. For example, an MVP in India wants to troubleshoot a client in United States with “windows update error”, he can use this option.

By default, it is disabled.

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Note: Remote desktop service works only on Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate versions of Windows.
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This does not work on the Home edition of Windows 10 or 8.1 or 8 or 7. That is, you cannot connect to a Windows 10 Home PC from another computer. But there is a trick using which you can gain remote access to it.

First of all a few definitions:

What is a Remote Host?

The computer that is currently having issues or the computer you want to connect to. This is the remote PC to which you want to connect to, so that you can have access to its resources. Generally, the remote session is hosted by this PC. You can see the screen of this computer, when the Remote Desktop function starts working.

What is a Remote Client?

This is the PC from which you want to connect to. This is basically another computer located in a remote location from which you will connect to the remote host PC. This is free of problems or issues. This can be any computer like Windows 10 Home Premium or Windows 7 Ultimate.

How to Enable Remote Desktop Settings in Windows 10, 8.1 or 8?

These are available in the “System Properties” window.

To access this pop-up, you can do it two ways.

First Method

remote-access-windows-10

For example, in Windows 10 you can type “Remote Access” in the Cortana Search Box.

Out of the search results available, you can click on “Allow remote access to your computer” option.

This will show the pop up windows containing the “remote desktop” settings.

Second Method

In this method, you can use the Control Panel to access the same window.

control-panel-windows-10

remote-settings-windows-10

This is the key part to enable remote desktop in Windows 10 or 8.1 or 8.

Once the “System Properties” window opens, you will find two options here.

  1. Remote Assistance
  2. Remote Desktop

system-properties-windows-10-enable-remote-desktop

In the first item, you have to check the option “Allow Remote Assistance connection to this computer“. In the second item, you have to check the option “Allow remote connections to this computer“. This will automatically enable the option “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended)“. If not, you just enable that option also.

In the “Remote Assistance Settings” there are some advanced options also, which are available when you click the “Advanced”  button.

remote-assistance-advanced-settings-windows-10

Similarly, in the “Remote Desktop” settings, you can add users to whom you want to give remote access to your PC or laptop. Just click the “Add” button and select the users in your network to give access.

remote-desktop-add-users

The above settings are mentioned for Windows 10. These are very similar in Windows 8.1 and 8. The below video shows on how to set up remote desktop access in Windows 8.1 Pro.

How to Use Remote Desktop for Windows 10 or 8.1 and 8?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a good old feature since the XP days. It can be useful to connect from one system to another PC to FTP files or resolve any PC issues.

There are other several desktop programs which can set up with a remote connection. Some of these utilities are like join.me, TeamViewer and Chrome Remote Desktop. They are especially useful when inter-connecting different platforms like Windows and Android, Windows and Linux etc.

But if you want to connect two Windows PCs, then the built-in RDP service in Windows 10 is just enough.

This YouTube video shows, how to enable remote desktop access in Windows 10. It also shows the way to connect remote PC using remote desktop connection. In this tutorial video, you can also find on how to connect, when the remote PC is on a LAN or WAN using port forwarding.

How To Connect Windows 10 Home from Windows 10 Pro (Both desktop)

In this example, we are going to try to remote connect a Windows 10 Home PC (remote host) from a Windows 10 Pro Edition (remote client).

As we said earlier, by default, the RDP system does not work in Windows 10 Home.

So we have to use some “tricks” to make it as a remote client.

Step #1

First, visit the following link.

https://github.com/stascorp/rdpwrap/releases.

You can find the latest “RDP Wrapper Library” package, which is in zip format. The current version as of now is 1.6.1.

rdp-library-for-windows-10-home-remote-desktop

Step #2

Download this zip file and unzip. You will find Remote Configuration files in exe format. You will also find another two files – install.bat and update.bat. Run the “install.bat” as Adminstrator. This will open the command prompt window and some processes will run and install.

After finish, close the window. If “install. Bat” is not working, then try using “update.bat”.

This makes Windows 10 Home suitable for Remote Desktop connection.

Step #3

Now open another command prompt window and type “ipconfig”.

This will give the IP of your remote host PC. Generally the iPv4 address is your IP address.

use ipconfig command to find ip address of remote host

Source : tenforums.com

Step #4

Now go to your Remote Client, from where you want to connect to your remote host computer.

Here our Remote client will be Windows 10 Professional desktop.

Now press Win + R and enter “mstsc”.

This should open the “Remote Desktop Connection” pop-up window.

Step #5

Now enter the IP of your remote client, which you have found earlier. Now click Connect.

You will be prompted with the username and password of the remote computer client.

If you are using a common Microsoft account, only password is required. If you are using different accounts, you need to click “Use another account“.

username and password of remote host

Enter the credentials.

Now, you will get some security warning about certificate. This is a common thing and caused by non-existing authorization certificate on the remote host. Just select the option that says “Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer” and click “Yes”  button.

security-warning-remote-desktop-windows

Now you should see your remote PC screen in a window.

You can do several tasks on this remote client, as if you were sitting in front of it.

You can fix any problems, update software, open Office documents and save them, transfer files etc. You can also reboot the system if you like, by using the Start Menu.

This YouTube video shows the way on how to enable remote desktop connection in Windows 10 Home. In general, RDP access is not possible in Home edition. But using the “trick” above, you can enable remote access in Windows 10 Home.

My Experience: I found a few things which are not mentioned on the Internet. When we connect to the Windows 10 Home, I observed that it signs out automatically. So if you want to work on your PC directly again, you need enter the password or PIN details again.  Also, I observed that any tasks done on the remote PC (here it’s Windows 10 Home) were very slow when we use remote desktop connection.

How to Connect a Remote PC over the Internet?

The above configuration is somewhat like a local network. But suppose you are working in an office and want to connect to a home PC, you would probably use the Internet or WAN connection for remote access.

First make sure, Remote Desktop is not being blocked on the remote computer. Otherwise, you can follow the steps mentioned below in the errors section.

Next you need to configure your router, so that it knows the correct addresses of your computers. For this you need the default gateway and WAN settings. You can get them using the “ipconfig” tool or using properties of network connection or using any web service on the Internet. Then you need to enable Port Forwarding using the Port 3389.

As each router has its own settings, you may need to take the help of the corresponding router manual to do it.

It is important to note that, if you are using Internet to connect to your remote PC on a regular basis, the external (WAN) IP address is likely to change from time to time. To avoid the hassle of rediscovering the address every time, subscribe to a dynamic DNS service. Many routers have an option for dynamic DNS. So look in your router manual and select one of the services supported by your router.

This YouTube video shows how to connect to remote PC using WAN or router settings. In this specific example, TP-LINK router is used for setting the options for remote desktop connection.

After completing the above steps, the connection to your remote client is the same as above. You just have to open the “Remote Desktop Connection” and enter the external IP (WAN) of the client you want to connect. Then enter the credentials and you will have full access to the client PC.

Some Common Errors and Solutions for RDP in Windows 10 or 8.1 or 8

Remote Desktop is useful for common users when they have any problems. The technical support team of Microsoft or any other third-party can connect to your computer using this software. It allows us to control your computer from another system.

There are different ways like LAN, WAN, HomeGroup and Internet methods to remotely connect your computer. But sometimes, ever after following the steps mentioned above, you can still face problems. So below we are going to discuss about these issues and how to resolve them.

There are a few set of causes for Remote Desktop problems in Windows 10. They are – limited network connection, port forwarding not done properly, router not properly setup, not enough memory and wrong firewall settings etc. So if you can’t connect to your remote client using Remote Desktop Connection in Windows 10, make sure your PC is free from the following issues.

Issue #1 – Check your Network Connection

As we said earlier, your remote client should be within your network for Remote Desktop connection. Though there are other solutions, if your PC is not in the network, but generally it’s preferable to keep it within your Office or Home network. So before you start your RDC (Remote Desktop Connection), please check whether your PC is in the local network or WAN.

If your system is not within a LAN, it’s best to check your Internet connection. If you find that you have some problems connecting to the internet, resolve those issues first before you start your RDC.

Issue #2 – Check your Firewall Settings

Windows Firewall can also be a cause for your Remote desktop problems in Windows 10. If your Remote Desktop software is blocked by your firewall, you cannot connect to your remote PC. To find out if your Windows firewall is blocking Remote Desktop, check the following.

windows-firewall-settings-for-remote-access-windows-10-8-1-8

  1. Open Control Panel and click on “Windows Firewall”.
  2. Window will open with some options on the left hand side.
  3. Click on “Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall”.
  4. This will open “Allowed Apps” window.
  5. Click on “Change Settings” if the allowed apps are dimmed or inactive.
  6. This will make all the apps or programs which are allowed by Windows Firewall active.
  7. Now find the following two apps in the list – “Remote Assistance” and “Remote Desktop”.
  8. Generally, these two programs are checked with “Private” and “Public” access, once you enable the “Remote Assistance” and “Remote Desktop” features, as mentioned above.
  9. In case, if they are unchecked, just enable them with the above access settings.

This makes sure that Windows Firewall is not blocking your Remote Desktop settings.

remote-settings-firewall-windows-10

As a precautionary measure you can also check the Remote Settings are enabled or disabled, using the “Advanced Settings” link.

windows-firewall-advanced-settings-for-remote-desktop-connection

Issue #3 – Check your Services

For smooth functioning of Remote Desktop, you have to make sure the corresponding services are also “running”. Generally, the following services are required.

  1. Remote Access Auto Connection Manager.
  2. Remote Access Connection Manager.
  3. Remote Desktop Configuration.
  4. Remote Desktop Services.
  5. Remote Desktop Services UserMode Port Redirector.
  6. Remote Procedure Call (RPC).
  7. Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator.

So depending upon the way you connect to your remote client (like using LAN, WAN or Internet), some services of the above may not be running. In case, if you have issues with the Remote Desktop connection, you can “Start” some of the services mentioned above which are not running.

remote-services-windows-10

How To Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7 or Vista ?

You can access the “System Properties” window using Control Panel, as mentioned above. Otherwise, you can right-click “Computer” icon in the Start Menu and select Properties item.

remote desktop settings in windows 7

Here also, you can check the “Remote Assistance” option. Suppose you want to connect to this Windows 7 PC from another computer of same OS or higher level, like Windows 10 or 8.1 or 8, you can use the last option. i.e “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure)“. But in case, if you want to connect from a lower level PC like Windows XP or 2k, you can use the less secure option – “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)”.

How to Use Remote Desktop in Windows 7 and Vista?

There may be slight variations when you try to use remote desktop feature in Windows 7 or Vista. The following videos will show you, how to connect to a remote host (which may be a Vista or 7) from a remote client ( may be a Windows 10 or 8 machine).

This YouTube video will follow the process of setting up remote desktop connection in a remote session on a Windows 7 computer. You can then use the RDC to connect from a remote client to gain access to it. The settings are similar, but you may have small variations.

This YouTube video talks about how to enable and connect remote host using RDP in Vista. You may be required to do more settings when compared to Windows 10. 

Conclusion

The remote desktop feature is present by default in the recent editions of Windows. Instead of using third-party software and having problems connecting to each other, it’s always better to use the in-house tool of Microsoft. Also this is very simple to use and has very less complications.

You just have to know the local IP or external IP of your remote client and enter it’s details in the Remote desktop connection pop-up window. This is more than sufficient for most of the cases.

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