Connect to another computer using Remote Desktop Connection

With Remote Desktop Connection, you can access a computer running Windows from another computer running Windows that is connected to the same network or to the Internet. For example, you can use all of your work computer's programs, files, and network resources from your home computer, and it's just like you're sitting in front of your computer at work.

To connect to a remote computer, that computer must be turned on, it must have a network connection, Remote Desktop must be enabled, you must have network access to the remote computer (this could be through the Internet), and you must have permission to connect. For permission to connect, you must be on the list of users. Before you start a connection, it's a good idea to look up the name of the computer you're connecting to and to make sure Remote Desktop connections are allowed through its firewall.

If you're user account doesn't require a password to sign in, you'll need to add a password before you're allowed to start a connection with a remote computer.


  • To find the Remote Desktop Connection shortcut, click the Start button Start button, click All Programs or Programs, and then click Accessories. To quickly open Remote Desktop Connection, open the Start menu, and then type mstsc in the Search box.


  • You can't use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Basic N, or Windows Vista Home Premium. You can, however, connect from those editions of Windows Vista to computers running other versions of Windows.

  • You can't use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Windows XP Home Edition.

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To allow remote connections on the computer you want to connect to

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

  2. Click Remote settings, and then select the one of the three options under "Remote Desktop." Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click Select Users. If you're an administrator on the computer, your current user account will automatically be added to the list of remote users and you can skip the next two steps.

  4. In the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, click Add.

  5. In the Select Users or Groups dialog box, do the following:

    • To select the search location, click Locations, and then select the location you want to search.

    • In Enter the object names to select, type the name of the user that you want to add, and then click OK.

    The name will be displayed in the list of users in the Remote Desktop Users dialog box.

To look up the computer name of the remote computer

  1. On the remote computer, click the Start button Start button, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then click System.
  2. Under Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, you can look up your computer name, and its full computer name if your computer is on a domain.

Your network administrator might also be able to give you the name of the computer.

To allow Remote Desktop connections through a Windows Firewall

If you're having trouble connecting, Remote Desktop connections might be getting blocked by the firewall. Here's how to change that setting on a Windows Vista PC. If you're using another firewall, make sure the port for Remote Desktop (usually 3389) is open.

  1. On the remote computer, click Start and then right-click Computer.

  2. Select Properties in the context menu.

  3. Click Security Center in the pane on the right.

  4. Click Firewall Setting.

  5. Click Change Settings and then check the box next to Remote Desktop.

  6. Click OK to save the changes.

To set a password for your user account

Your user account must have a password before you can use Remote Desktop to connect to another computer.

  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.

  2. Double-click User Accounts.

  3. Select Change your Windows Password under User Accounts.

  4. Click Create a password for your account and follow the instructions on the screen.

To start Remote Desktop on the computer you want to work from

  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 Computer, type the name of the computer that you want to connect to, and then click Connect. (You can also type the IP address instead of the computer name if you want.)