Remote Desktop: frequently asked questions

The Remote Desktop feature in Windows XP Professional gives you access to all the programs, resources, and accessories on your computer from another Windows-based computer. Get answers to common questions about using Remote Desktop.

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How do I turn on Remote Desktop?

Right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click the Remote tab. Turn on Remote Desktop by selecting the Allow users to remotely connect to this computer check box. Designate users by clicking the Select Remote Users button.

Is Remote Desktop available on Windows XP Home Edition?

No. However, you can upgrade from Windows XP Home Edition to Windows XP Professional to get Remote Desktop. You can use Windows XP Home Edition as the client for accessing your Windows XP Professional computer running Remote Desktop.

Does Remote Desktop work with Windows Firewall?

If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and you enable Remote Desktop, Windows Firewall will be automatically configured to allow Remote Desktop connections to your computer.


  • If you or someone else has configured Windows Firewall to allow no exceptions, Remote Desktop will not work. To allow exceptions in Windows Firewall, open Security Center in Control Panel, click Windows Firewall, and then clear the check box next to Don't allow exceptions.

If you're using the Internet Connection Firewall on Windows XP SP 1 or earlier, in the Network Connections window, right-click the connection through which you will use Remote Desktop, and then click Properties. Click the Advanced tab, and then select the check box for Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet. Click the Settings button. In the Services list, select the check box for Remote Desktop.

Is Remote Assistance the same thing as Remote Desktop?

No, it isn't. Remote Assistance uses Remote Desktop technology to allow an expert to provide assistance to a novice user on a computer running Windows XP.

The local computer screen locks when a user is connected remotely. How can I get more than one connection to a computer running Windows XP Professional?

If you want to have more than one person simultaneously use a computer running Windows XP Professional, you could try Remote Assistance for collaboration and support scenarios.

Do I need a terminal server license server for Remote Desktop?

No, a terminal server license server is not required for Remote Desktop. Remote Desktop is designed for a single user, local or remote.

What protocol does Remote Desktop in Windows XP support?

Remote Desktop in Windows XP Professional uses Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 5.1. Some of the features included in RDP 5.1 are support for 24-bit color, audio redirection, smart card redirection, COM port redirection, local network printer redirection, and disk drive redirection. RDP 5.1 also has better compression, improved performance, and virtual channel compression.

Is the Remote Desktop Connection client compatible with Windows 2000 Terminal Services and Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition?

Yes, the Remote Desktop Connection client supports Remote Desktop Protocol 5.1. The client is backwards-compatible with Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition. When using the client against older servers, you will get the features of the older protocol.

Can I get a Remote Desktop Client for other platforms?

The Remote Desktop Connection software can not be run on Windows for Workgroups or Windows 3.11. The last terminal server clients for these versions of Windows shipped on the Windows 2000 Server CD.

Why don't MIDI files play over Remote Desktop?

MIDI files are not currently supported over Remote Desktop.

What port does Remote Desktop use? Does everything go over port 3389?

Port 3389 is the only port you need to open. Windows will attempt to stream sound through User Datagram Protocol (UDP) first. If no port is available for UDP, sound will stream through a virtual channel in Remote Desktop Protocol, which uses port 3389.

How do I connect Windows Desktop Client to a remote port other than 3389?

In the Computer field in the Remote Desktop Client connection dialog box, specify the port in either of the following ways:

  • Computer name, colon, port number

    Example: TSComputer: 22229

  • IP address, colon, port number

    Example: 22229

What is the Remote Desktop Web Connection? What is it for?

The Remote Desktop Web Connection is the Remote Desktop Connection client packaged as an ActiveX control that can be embedded in a webpage to provide access to a Terminal Server or a computer running Windows XP Professional with Remote Desktop enabled.

What are the requirements for Remote Desktop Web Connection?

  • On the server side, you need Internet Information Server 4.0 or later. Windows XP Professional comes with Internet Information Server 5.1 out of the box.

  • On the client side, it will only run on the Windows 9x, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), Windows NT (Intel only), and Windows 2000 operating systems using Internet Explorer 4 or later. It is not supported on any other platform.

Does the Remote Desktop Web Connection support audio and drive redirection?

Yes. The Remote Desktop Web Connection supports the same features that the Remote Desktop Connection supports.