With Remote Desktop Connection, you can sit at a PC and connect to another PC in a different location (the remote PC). For example, you can sit at your home PC and connect to your work PC, and use all of your apps, files, and network resources as if you were sitting right in front of your work PC.

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How do I connect to another PC with Remote Desktop Connection?

  1. Set up the remote PC so it will allow remote connections.

    1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
      (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

    2. Enter remote desktop in the search box, then tap or click Select users who can use remote desktop. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

    3. In the System Properties dialog box, under Remote Desktop, select the Allow remote connections to this computer button.

    4. Tap or click Select Users, and in the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, tap or click Add.

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

      1. To choose the search location, tap or click Locations, and then select the location you want to search.

      2. In Enter the object names to select, enter the name or user name of the person that you want to add, and then tap or click OK. The name will be added to the list of people who can connect to this PC.

  2. Also, when you want to connect to a remote PC, you'll need to know the full name of that PC.

    1. Open System by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering System in the search box, and tapping or clicking System.

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

  3. Next, you'll need to make sure the settings for sleep and hibernation are set to Never, since you can't connect to a PC that's asleep or hibernating. For more info, see Power plans: FAQ

  4. Finally, enter the full name of the remote PC into Remote Desktop Connection on your local PC.

Note

  • You can only allow remote connections to PCs running certain Windows operating systems. For more info, see the next section “Which PCs can I connect to using Remote Desktop Connection?”

Which PCs can I connect to using Remote Desktop Connection?

You can use a PC running any edition of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, or a PC running Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, or Windows RT 8.1 to initiate a connection. But the remote PC must be running one of these Windows operating systems:

  • Windows 8.1 Pro

  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise

  • Windows 8 Enterprise

  • Windows 8 Pro

  • Windows 7 Professional

  • Windows 7 Enterprise

  • Windows 7 Ultimate

  • Windows Vista Business

  • Windows Vista Ultimate

  • Windows Vista Enterprise

  • Windows XP Professional

How do I connect to a work PC?

You can connect to a work PC from another work PC or your home PC. Only one person at a time can sign in to a PC. If someone else is using the work PC, you'll automatically sign them out if you sign in. Also, Windows Firewall will automatically open the required port when you start a remote connection. If you're using another firewall, make sure the port for Remote Desktop (usually 3389) is open.

Connect from a work PC to another work PC

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering mstsc in the search box, and then tapping or clicking mstsc.

  2. Enter the name of the work PC that you want to connect to, and then click Connect. (You can also enter the IP address instead of the PC name)

Connect from a home PC to a work PC

To connect to a work PC from a home PC, you need to connect to your corporate network. You can do this in one of two ways (if you're not sure which one to use, talk to your system admin):

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs connect PCs to large networks (usually corporate) over the Internet. Ask your IT admin for the name of the VPN server before you begin.

    1. Open the Connect to the Internet wizard by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Network and Sharing Center in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Network and Sharing Center. Tap or click Set up a new connection or network, and then tap or click Connect to a Workplace.

    2. Follow the instructions on the screen.

    3. Open Remote Desktop Connection by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering mstsc in the search box, and then tapping or clicking mstsc.

    4. Enter the name of the work PC that you want to connect to, and then click Connect. (You can also enter the IP address instead of the PC name.)

  • Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) server. An RD Gateway server helps people connect to work PCs on a corporate network from any PC with an Internet connection, even if the two networks use different protocols. Note that your system admin might not allow changes to RD Gateway server settings.

    1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering mstsc in the search box, and then tapping or clicking mstsc.

    2. Tap or click Show Options, tap or click the Advanced tab, and then, under Connect from anywhere, tap or click Settings.

    3. Select Use these RD Gateway server settings, and then enter the server name (ask your system admin for this info).

    4. In Logon method, choose one of the following:

      • Allow me to select later. This option lets you choose how to sign in when you connect.

      • Ask for password (NTLM). This option asks you for a password when you connect.

      • Smart card. This option asks you to insert a smart card when you connect.

    5. To help make your connection faster, select the Bypass RD Gateway server for local addresses check box.

      We recommend this option because if the gateway server is on a different network than the one you're on, you won't be able to connect to PCs on the network.

    6. Tap or click OK, tap or click the General tab, enter the name of the PC that you want to connect to, and then tap or click Connect. (You can also enter the IP address instead of the PC name.)

How do I open the Start screen and charms when I connect to a remote Windows 8.1 PC from a Windows 8.1 PC?

Use the connection bar that appears at the top of the screen to open the remote PC's Start screen, charms, recent apps, and to use Remote Desktop Connection side by side with other apps.
Charms menu in the connection bar
Charms menu in the connection bar

Note

  • If your Remote Desktop Connection windows isn't maximized, you'll need to click the Remote Desktop Connection icon at the top-left of the window to show the Start screen, charms, and other options.

Why can’t I connect using Remote Desktop Connection?

Here are some possible solutions to common problems you might encounter when trying to connect to a remote PC. If these solutions don’t work, you can search for more help on the Microsoft Community website.

  • The remote PC can’t be found. If you see this error, talk to the system admin of the remote PC to make sure you have the right PC name, and then check to see if you entered the name correctly. If you still can't connect, try entering the IP address of the remote PC instead of the PC name.

  • There’s a problem with the network. Make sure that:

    • Your router is turned on (home networks only).

    • The Ethernet cable is plugged into your network adapter (wired networks only).

    • Your PC’s wireless switch is turned on (laptops on wireless networks only).

    • Your network adapter is working.

    If the problem keeps happening, talk to the person who set up your network.

  • The Remote Desktop port might be blocked by a firewall. If you're using Windows Firewall, follow these steps:

    1. Open Windows Firewall by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering firewall in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Windows Firewall.

    2. Tap or click Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall.

    3. Tap or click Change settings. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

    4. Under Allowed apps and features, select Remote Desktop, and then tap or click OK.

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

  • Remote connections might not be set up on the remote PC. To fix this, see the "How do I connect to another PC with Remote Desktop Connection?" question in this topic.

  • The remote PC might only allow PCs to connect that have Network Level Authentication set up. For more info, see the "What types of Remote Desktop connections should I allow?" question in this topic.

  • The remote PC might be turned off. You can’t connect to a PC that's turned off, asleep, or hibernating, so make sure the settings for sleep and hibernation on the remote PC are set to Never (hibernation isn't available on all PCs). For more info, see Power plans: FAQ.

Note

  • If you can see the sign-in screen of the remote PC but you can't sign in, you might not have been added to the Remote Desktop Users Group or to any group with administrator rights on the remote PC. Ask your system admin to do this for you.

How do I change Remote Desktop Connection settings?

You can change different settings for your remote connection, including the size of the remote PC's desktop, the audio, and the connection speed.

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering mstsc in the search box, and then tapping or clicking mstsc.

  2. Enter the name of the PC you want to connect to.

  3. Before connecting, tap or click Show Options, and then make the changes you want on the Display, Local Resources, Programs, Experience, and Advanced tabs.

  4. If you want to save these settings for future connections, tap or click the General tab, and then tap or click Save.

  5. Tap or click Connect.

Why can't I change some Remote Desktop Connection settings?

Your system admin might manage these settings. Ask your admin for more info.

What types of Remote Desktop connections should I allow?

Before you or someone else can connect to a remote PC, you need to choose the appropriate connection setting on the remote PC. To change your remote settings, follow these steps:

  1. Open System by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering System in the search box, and tapping or clicking System.

  2. Click Remote settings. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

There are two remote settings options:

  • Don’t allow remote connections to this computer. This will prevent anyone from connecting to your PC remotely.

  • Allow remote connections to this computer. This will allow remote connections on your PC.

    If you know that the people who will connect to your PC are running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 on their PCs, check the Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended) box. These versions of Windows use Network Level Authentication, which is an authentication method that completes before you establish a full connection and the sign-in screen appears. This can help protect the remote PC from hackers and malware.