Troubleshoot Remote Desktop problems

Here are solutions to some common problems with Remote Desktop Connection.

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I can't connect to the remote computer.

Depending on the type of error message you see, here are several things you can try:

Not enough memory. Close your other programs, and then try connecting again. If the problem continues, restart your computer, and then try connecting again. If you still can't connect, contact your network administrator or technical support. (For more information, see Preventing low memory problems.)

Network failure. Make sure that your router is turned on (home networks only), the Ethernet cable is plugged into your network adapter (wired networks only), your computer’s wireless switch is turned on (mobile computers on wireless networks only), and your network adapter is working. If the problem continues, contact your network administrator or the person who set up your network.

The remote computer cannot be found. Ask the administrator of the remote computer to verify the computer name, and make sure you typed the name correctly. If you still can't connect, try typing the IP address of the remote computer instead.

Connecting a home computer to a computer on a corporate domain requires an intermediate step to ensure that the computers can communicate. One way to do this is to establish a virtual private network (VPN) connection to the corporate network. Another way is to use a Terminal Services Gateway server. If you have problems doing either of these things, contact your system administrator or technical support.

Connecting two home computers across the Internet is also possible. However, doing this typically requires detailed knowledge of the router configuration, port mappings, and IP addresses.

If authentication is enabled, you must type a full computer name (for example, Computer1.Example.com) on the General tab of the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box. For a definition of full computer name, see "What is a full computer name?" in Remote Desktop Connection: frequently asked questions.

  • To find out what level of authentication is enabled:

    1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Remote Desktop Connection.

    2. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, click Options, and then click the Advanced tab.

  • To find the full computer name of the remote computer, follow these steps on the remote computer:

    • Open System by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking System.

    The full computer name is listed under Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings.

Here are some other possible causes of connection problems:

  • The Remote Desktop port might be blocked by a firewall.

    If you're using Windows Firewall, follow these steps:

    1. Open Windows Firewall by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Security, and then clicking Windows Firewall.

    2. Click Allow a program through Windows Firewall. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    3. Select the Remote Desktop check box.

    If you are using a different firewall, make sure the port for Remote Desktop (usually 3389) is open.

  • Remote connections might not be enabled on the remote computer. To fix this:

    1. On the remote computer, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
    2. In the left pane, click Remote Settings. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    3. Under Remote Desktop, click either Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop or Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication.

    4. Click OK.

  • The remote computer might be asleep or hibernating. To fix this, make sure the settings for sleep and hibernation on the remote computer are set to Never. (Hibernation is not available on all computers.) For information about making those changes, see Change, create, or delete a power plan (scheme).

  • You cannot connect remotely if your user account does not have a password. To add a password to your account, see Protect your computer with a password.

  • The remote computer might be too busy to accept any more connections right now. Wait a while, and then try connecting again.

I can't log on to the remote computer.

If you can see the logon screen of the remote computer but you can't log on, add yourself to the Remote Desktop Users Group or to any group with administrative rights on the remote computer (or ask the administrator of the remote computer to do this). For more information, see Add a user account to a group.

I can't copy text from the remote computer to my computer.

Make sure you have redirected the Clipboard so that you can use it on the remote computer. To do this:

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Remote Desktop Connection.

  2. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, click Options, and then click the Local Resources tab.

  3. Under Local devices and resources, select the Clipboard check box, and then click Connect.

When I minimize the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, my screen goes blank.

Using a password-protected screen saver can cause this. Don't minimize the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box if you have a password-protected screen saver, or don't use a password-protected screen saver.

The screen saver on the remote computer is blank.

When the screen saver comes on in Remote Desktop, it is blank by default. This is normal.

My saved credentials don’t work.

If your computer is part of a domain, by default you aren’t allowed to save your credentials when you connect to a remote computer. But you can change this.

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, type gpedit.msc, and then press ENTER. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. Under Computer Configuration, double-click Administrative Templates, double-click System, and then double-click Credentials Delegation.

  3. In the right pane, double-click Allow Saved Credentials with NTLM-only Server Authentication.

  4. In the dialog box that appears, click Enabled, and then click Show.

  5. In the Show Contents dialog box, click Add, type the name of the remote computer (server) in this format: TERMSRV\<computername>, and then click OK.

    Note

    • Be sure to capitalize “TERMSRV” as shown. <computername> can either be the name of a specific remote computer (for example, TERMSRV\myremotepc) or you can use an asterisk (*) to include a group of computers (for example, TERMSRV\* or TERMSRV\*.corp.com). <computername> should exactly match the name you enter in the Computer box in Remote Desktop to connect to that remote computer.