How to Set Up Remote Desktop Connection


Remote Desktop is a built-in utility of the Windows operating system that allows you to access another computer over a network or the Internet. This can be extremely beneficial in many ways, including letting users access another computer to download files, and to let help desk representatives assist others on a network from their own computer. It also allows remote users to connect to a single host computer, which is helpful for businesses. Setting this up requires many steps, but is easy to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP Professional
  • Sign in on your administrative account on the computer you want to be the host computer, or the computer you will be accessing from another location. Open the control panel by clicking "Start," and then "Control Panel." Click on "Performance and Maintenance."

  • Open the "System" menu, then click on the "Remote" tab. Check the "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer" box, then press "OK."

  • Return the to Control Panel, then click "Security Center." Click on the "Windows Firewall" option at the bottom of the screen, then check to make sure the "Don't allow exceptions" option is not selected. Then click on the "Exception" tab and verify that the box next to "Remote Desktop" is checked. Press "OK" when finished.

  • Find your computer's name by opening the Control Panel, clicking "Performance and Maintenance," then "System" and clicking on the "Computer Name" tab. Where it says "Full computer name" you will see the name of your computer. Write or copy this down exactly as it appears on your screen.

    If you plan on connecting from a computer outside your network, you'll need your computer's IP address. You can find this by simply going to from the host computer. Save this information as well.

  • Log on to another computer on the network, one that will be accessing the host computer. This computer does not have to be running Windows XP Professional, but can be Windows 95 or later. Log in to your administrative account, then open Remote Desktop Connection. Click "Start," then "All Programs," then navigate to "Accessories," then "Communications." Click "Remote Desktop Connection."

  • Type in the name of the host computer as you wrote it down before, then click "Connect." If you are accessing from a remote location, enter the computer's IP address instead of the computer's name. When the login box appears, type in your user name and password, then click "OK." You will then be able to see and access the host computer from the remote location.

  • To end the session, click "Start," then "Log Off."

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you set up the host computer, you can access it from any other computer on the network if you have the login credentials and the Remote Desktop utility.
  • Even when you are logged in to the host computer, it remains locked, and no one else can access it.
  • If you do not close your remote session when you are finished, other users can access the host computer on your computer.

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