Ever since the pandemic overpowered humanity and our livelihood, employment across the world took a deep virtual turn. Remote and hybrid workplaces are no longer a dream. Almost all of our work happens from home, and when this is the case, there’s a strict need to remotely access the office computer from home. To ease things in such a work environment, Windows has plenty of remote desktop access applications – of which, the operating system’s built-in remote access app – ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ stands out as the best. It is free, easy to use, and highly secure.
Remote Desktop is a built-in Windows feature. It was introduced in Windows XP and is still a part of the latest Windows 11 operating system. Remote Desktop allows remote access or control over another system from anywhere, via the Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). As a default setting, the Remote Desktop access is disabled on Windows 11. To use this feature, you must first enable Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Once RDP is enabled, users can easily connect their PC to other PCs to troubleshoot, access files, apps, network resources, and so much more without physical presence. In this step-by-step guide, we guide you through the process of enabling the Remote Desktop feature, setting it up, and connecting to other remote devices.
What is Remote Desktop on Windows 11 PC?
The Remote Desktop Connection allows you to connect and control other PCs or devices connected to the same local network. The feature extends to computers connected to the internet or outside your network as well. Remote Desktop enables remote access to a computer or server and allows control over it – including peripherals such as the keyboard and mouse.
Once you enable the remote desktop, you can use Windows’s client app ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ to establish remote connections with Windows PCs or Windows Servers using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a Windows-only connection protocol developed by Microsoft. It facilitates connecting machines that mutually support the RDS protocol. You need two elements for two machines to connect through RDP – an RDP server and an RDP client. An RDP client is the computer or device from which you are trying to connect and an RDP server is the computer or server that you are aiming to connect with.
As mentioned previously, Remote Desktop Protocol is available in almost every version of Windows. This means, you can connect your Windows 11 PC to Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows 10, and vice versa. However, Remote Desktop is only available in Windows 11 Pro, Educational, or Enterprise SKU, and full access to RDP is denied if you have a Windows 11 Home edition. However, Windows 11 Home can still be used as a client to connect to other PCs, but not the other way around.
If you need to offer assistance or get support for a computer or server to check on an issue or perform administrative tasks, Remote Desktop Protocol comes in as a handy feature. There are several ways to enable the remote desktop feature in Windows 11, including Windows 11 Settings app, Control Panel, Command Prompt, and Windows PowerShell. We’ll walk you through the methods.
Enable Remote Desktop on Windows 11 via Settings
Before proceeding to establish a remote connection, you must enable the remote desktop setting. The easiest way to enable remote desktop is through the Windows Settings app.
First, open Settings by clicking the Start button and then, the ‘Settings’ icon. You can alternatively hold Windows+I to launch the Settings app.
Now, select the ‘System’ tab on the left sidebar of the Settings page. Then, scroll and click the ‘Remote Desktop’ option on the right panel.
Next, click to slide the toggle switch to ‘ON’, to enable the Remote Desktop feature.
You will then receive a confirmation pop-up. Click ‘Confirm’ to proceed with the enabling.
Upon enabling the feature, there will be two options.
The ‘Require computers to use Network Level Authentication (NLA) to connect’ option adds security to remote connections by imposing authentications for each connecting user, before PC access. If you are connecting an older Windows version like XP or Vista to Windows 11, uncheck this option. If not, click the tickbox to enable it.
The number adjacent to the listening Remote Desktop port option should be ‘3389‘.
You can use the PC name shown in the screenshot above, to find and connect to this computer from another device across the network.
Add Users to Remote Desktop Users Group
All users on the Administrators group can access the PC, by default. Users only from this group, the Remote Desktop group, or the email ID with administrative privileges on your PC can access your computer via Remote Desktop. If you want to allow access to a different user account, you can add that account to the Remote Desktop group.
To add users to the Remote Desktop Users group, click the ‘Remote Desktop users’ option on the Remote Desktop settings page.
Click the ‘Add’ button on the Remote Desktop Users dialog box.
Enter the name of the user you want to allow access to and click ‘Check names’.
If the username is on the computer, it will verify the computer name and the username. If not, you will see an error. Click ‘OK’ to add the user to the Remote Desktop group.
You can also add a user who uses a Microsoft account or sign-in email ID by entering the email address.
In case you don’t know the username correctly, click on ‘Advanced’.
In the next window, click ‘Find Now’ to list all the usernames on your computer. Select the user in the ‘Search results:’ box, and click ‘OK’ to add it.
Selected users will be listed in the Remote Desktop Users box. Now, click ‘OK’ to add them.
Turn on Network Discovery
Now, you need to turn on the network discovery so that the computer can find other PCs or devices while staying visible to other computers on the network. Here’s how you turn on the network discovery:
Open Control Panel by searching for it in the Windows Search.
Next, select the ‘Network and Internet’ category.
Then, select ‘Network and Sharing Center’.
Click ‘Change advanced sharing settings’ from the left pane of the Network and Sharing Center window.
Then, select the ‘Turn on network discovery’ option under Network discovery and click the ‘Save changes’ button.
You can now connect and control another computer remotely from this computer and vice versa using the Remote Desktop app.
Enable Remote Desktop on Windows 11 via Control Panel
Another way to enable Remote Desktop Protocol on Windows 11 is to use the Control panel. First, open the Control panel by searching for it in the Windows search.
Select the ‘System and Security’ category on the Control Panel.
Then, click ‘Allow remote access’ under System settings.
You can alternatively search for ‘advanced system settings’ on the Windows search and click the result – ‘View advanced system settings’.
Either way, the System Properties Control Panel applet will open. Here, go to the ‘Remote‘ tab and check the box next to ‘Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer’ under the Remote Assistance section. Similarly, select the radio button ‘Allow Remote Connections to this computer’ under Remote Desktop.
And, leave the ‘Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication’ option checked (unless you’re going to connect from Vista or XP). You can also add users to the Remote Desktop group by clicking the ‘Select Users’ button.
Then, click ‘Apply’, and select ‘OK’.
Now, you can remotely connect to or from your system via Remote Desktop.
Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 11 Via Command Prompt
You can also enable or disable Remote Desktop on Windows 11 using Command Prompt. Here’s how.
You will first need to open Command Prompt in Administrator mode. For this, click on the Windows Start menu, type ‘cmd’ in the search bar, and select ‘Run as Administrator’ under the Command Prompt search result on the right. If prompted by a User Access Control dialog (UAC), click ‘Yes’ to proceed.
Now, type or copy and paste the following command in the Command prompt and press Enter.
reg add “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server” /v fDenyTSConnections /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
You can execute the following command to allow remote desktop through the Windows Firewall (optional):
netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="remote desktop" new enable=Yes
The remote desktop connection is now enabled.
To disable Remote Desktop, run the following command:
reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server" /v fDenyTSConnections /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 11 Via PowerShell
Another way to enable Remote Desktop in Windows 11 is by using PowerShell.
Type ‘PowerShell’ in Windows search, and select the ‘Run as administrator’ option below the search results on the right.
Then, type or copy and paste the following command in the PowerShell window and press Enter.
Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server' -name "fDenyTSConnections" -value 0
To enable remote desktop through the Windows Firewall (optional), enter the below command and press Enter.
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Desktop"
You should now be able to access remote computers even with the firewall enabled.
To disable remote desktop using Powershell, type this command or copy and paste, and press Enter.
Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server' -name "fDenyTSConnections" -value 0
Only the ‘Value 0’ is changed to ‘Value 1’ in the following code.
To disable remote desktop through the Windows Firewall (block remote desktop in Firewall), type or copy and paste the following command and press Enter.
Disable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Desktop"
Allow Remote Connections in Windows Firewall
Usually, when you enable the remote desktop via the Settings app or Control Panel, Windows will automatically allow Remote Desktop to communicate through Windows Defender Firewall. If you use any other method to enable remote desktop, it won’t be allowed through Firewall by default. If you didn’t allow it on the firewall, it will block any incoming connection to your device.
To allow remote connections in Windows Firewall, open Control Panel and select the ‘System and Security’ category.
Next, click the ‘Allow an app through Windows Firewall’ link under Windows Defender Firewall Settings. You can also click the ‘Windows Defender Firewall’ Settings, and select the ‘Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall’ option from the left sidebar.
Click the ‘Change settings’ button in the Allowed apps control panel applet.
Then, scroll down the list of apps and tick the boxes – ‘Remote Desktop’ and ‘Remote Assistance’.
Tick the ‘Private’ box if you’re only planning to use the remote connection within a local network. This way, your PC will only be discoverable to devices on the same network, and you can block access or attack from outside the network. If you’re planning to remote access your PC over the internet or outside the network, then tick the ‘Public’ checkbox.
When you’re done click the ‘OK’ button.
Add Remote Desktop Connection (Port 3389) in Windows Firewall
When you turn on the remote desktop via the Windows settings app, it automatically adds Remote Desktop port ‘3389’ to the list of inbound rules in the Windows Defender Firewall. If that’s not on the list, other devices on the network will not access your device. In that case, you will need to add the Remote Desktop port to the allowed list.
Normally, there’s no need for this process. But if Windows is unable to add the RDC (Port 3389), you can manually create an inbound rule (Port 3389) in the Windows Firewall. Here’s how you do it:
First, open Control Panel and select the ‘System and Security’ category. Then, select the ‘Windows Defender Firewall’ settings.
Next, click the ‘Advanced settings’ link from the left sidebar.
Right-click ‘Inbound Rules’ and select ‘New Rule..’. in the next window.
Select ‘Port’ from the list of rules on the New Inbound Rule Wizard window, and click ‘Next’.
Next, select ‘TCP’ and then select the ‘Specific local ports’ option and enter ‘3389’ in the field next to it. Click ‘Next’.
Select ‘Allow the connection’ and hit ‘Next’.
Now, select the network type (‘Domain’, ‘Private’, or ‘Public’) to which you wish to apply the rule. The default is all three networks. Then, click ‘Next’.
Finally, name the rule as ‘Remote Desktop’ and click ‘Finish’.
Connect to Remote Desktop in Windows 11
Nearly all versions of Windows PC including version 11 and Windows Servers have the Remote Desktop Connection tool available as an inbuilt application. The Remote Desktop Connection is a client application that allows you to connect to another PC in the same network or from outside your network.
If you want to access a computer via Remote Desktop over the internet or from outside your network, you’ll need to configure your router or use VPN. In the next section, we’ll see how to configure the additional settings on your Router to access your PC from the Internet. But first, let us see how to remote access a PC inside a local network via the Remote Desktop Connection app.
Find Your Hostname / IP Address
If you’re connecting to another PC on your private/local network, first, you will need to know the local IP address or hostname/computer name of the PC you’re connecting to.
You can usually find your PC name on the ‘About’ page or ‘System info’ page of your system settings. You can connect to any version of Windows from your Windows 11 PC. But each version has different ways to find the Computer name.
If you want to find your hostname in Windows 7 and older versions, click the Start menu, right-click on ‘Computer’, and select ‘Properties’. In Windows 8, press the Windows key, click the settings icon, and select ‘PC Info’. In Windows 8.1, right-click on the Start button and select ‘System’.
For Windows 10 and 11, open ‘Settings’, select ‘System’ settings, and then ‘About’. Also, in most versions of Windows, you can right-click ‘Computer’ or ‘This PC’ in Windows Explorer, and select ‘Properties’ to find your device name. Alternatively, you can press and hold the ‘Windows’ key, then press the ‘Pause/Break’ key.
You can find your PC name on the ‘About’ or ‘System info’ page.
You can use the local IP address to connect to a remote PC. There are several ways to find an IP address on Windows PC. But, in almost all versions of Windows, you can find your local/private IP address by executing the ipconfig command in Command Prompt.
When you enter ipconfig, you get different types of addresses for your machine. All you need is an ‘IPv4 Address’ for remote connection in a local network.
By default, your PC uses a dynamic IP address, which means, it periodically changes, automatically. If you are using a dynamic IP address to connect, you must check the IP address each time you connect.
For this example, we’re going to connect a Windows 11 PC to a Windows 7 PC with the name ‘Vin-Mistborn-PC’.
To do that, first, open the Windows search (magnifying glass icon) and type ‘remote desktop connection’. From the list, select the result – ‘Remote Desktop Connection’. Alternatively, you can press Windows+R on your keyboard, type
mstsc into the Run dialog box. Then, click ‘OK’ or press Enter.
This will open the Remote Desktop Connection application through which you can remotely connect to another PC.
Configure Remote Desktop Connection Options
Before we see how to establish a remote connection, let’s take a quick look at the Remote Desktop Connection settings and how to configure them. Click the ‘Show Options’ to view settings.
This opens the Remote Desktop Connection options, where you can tweak many of the tool’s settings. The tool settings are organized into different tabs as shown below.
In the General tab, you can type the computer name or IP address of the PC you want to connect (remotely) and the username on that PC you want to connect with. You can also save the credentials you just entered by ticking the ‘Allow me to save credentials’ box.
Use the ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ buttons to save the Current Connection Settings (of all the tabs) as a ‘.rdp’ file, so you can use that file to quickly establish the same remote connections on this computer or a different computer. You either double-click a ‘.rdp’ file or click the ‘Open’ button and select the ‘.rdp’ file to open a saved connection.
In the Display tab, you use the slider under ‘Display Configuration’ to set the size of your remote desktop display. By default, the remote session uses a full screen with full resolution of the remote PC. If you have multiple monitors on your computer, tick the ‘Use all my monitors for the remote session’ option to use all your monitors for the remote session.
You can change the color depth of the remote desktop on the drop-down list under the ‘Color’ section. If you have a slow bandwidth, reducing the color depth will help improve the performance of the connection. Checking the ‘Display the connection bar when I use the full screen’ option will show a blue connection bar at the top of the screen that helps you switch between full-screen and windowed mode.
Local Resources tab
Click the ‘Settings’ button under the ‘Remote audio’ section to choose if you want to play audio on the remote computer, local computer, or don’t play audio at all and if you want to record audio from this computer or don’t record the audio.
Click the drop-down menu under the ‘Keyboard’ section to choose the location you wish to apply the Windows keyboard shortcuts pressed on the local computer (this computer) – on the remote computer, local computer, or on the remote computer but only when it’s using the full screen.
Under Local Devices and Resource, you can select/deselect devices and resources such as your local printers and clipboard, that you want to use in your remote sessions. Click the ‘More’ button to select other devices and resources that you want to share with the remote PC.
If you are facing performance issues with the remote sessions, you can choose a different connection speed from the drop-down to optimize the performance.
‘Persistent bitmap caching’ option lets you save the bitmap images on the local computer, and the ‘Reconnect if the connection is dropped’ option automatically reconnects a dropped connection. Leave both options ticked as shown in the screenshot below.
If the server authentication fails due to issues like an unknown security certificate, you can set it to warn you, connect anyway, or not to connect. You can choose this option from the drop-down under the ‘Server authentication’ section.
You can configure Remote Desktop Gateway settings to manage remote access to computers inside secure enterprise networks. To do this, first, click ‘Settings’ under ‘Connect from anywhere’ section.
When you’re done setting up the Remote Desktop Connection options, click ‘Hide Options’ to close options or click ‘Connect’ to remotely access another computer.
Connecting to a Remote PC on a Private Network
After finding the IP address or the hostname of the computer you are connecting to, launch the Remote Desktop Connection app on the client machine, and enter the computer’s name (the remote PC) or the IP address in the ‘Computer’ field. Then, click ‘Connect’.
Alternatively, you could click ‘Show Options’ and type the computer name or IP address of the PC you want to connect with and that PC’s username. This way, you can directly connect to a particular user account on the remote PC. Check ‘Allow me to save credentials’ if you want to save the credentials. Then, click ‘Connect’.
Next, Windows Security windows will ask you to enter the username (if you didn’t enter before) and password of the remote PC. Enter your login credentials and click ‘OK’.
You might encounter a message saying the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified and reconfirm if you want to connect anyway. If you don’t want to see these warnings again, check the box for ‘Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer’, click ‘Yes’.
You should now connect to the remote computer as shown below. You would be able to access apps, files, and perform other tasks on the remote computer, instantly.
Once the remote connection is successfully established, you would see a blue connection bar at the top of the screen as shown below.
On the Connection bar, you would have buttons to pin/unpin the connection bar to the top of the screen, minimize the remote window to the taskbar, change the size of the remote desktop window, and close the remote session.
Sometimes, minimizing the remote desktop window to access your local computer would require you to log into the remote session, again, when you return. Also, when you click the close icon to end the session, you’ll get a message box informing you that you’re about close the current remote session and that even after you disconnect from the remote session, the program and tasks on the remote computer will continue to run. Click ‘OK’ to disconnect the remote session.
Note: If the remote PC is sleeping or hibernating, you cannot connect to that computer. For the remote connection to work, the target PC (server PC) must be up and running (or locked and running).
Remotely Accessing Another PC Over the Internet
Accessing a remote PC with the same network is easy, but connecting to a remote PC outside your network or over the internet is a bit more complicated. For this, you will need to configure some additional settings.
By default, Remote Desktop Connection only connects to a PC within the same network (local network). If you want to access a computer outside the local network or from the internet (like when you try to access your office computer from your home), you will need to configure additional settings on your router to forward ports to the PC being accessed.
To access your remote computer over the internet, you need to set up a static IP address in your system and then configure your router to forward all traffic using TCP port 3389 to that static IP address. Then, use your public IP address (which is assigned by your ISP) to connect to a remote PC through the internet. Let us show you how to configure your Router to access your remote PC from the internet.
Setup Static IP Address
Most routers use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to automatically assign dynamic IP addresses to all connected devices or computers. But if you want to forward a port onto the IP address of a target computer (remote PC), you will first need to set a static IP address (i.e constant) for that computer. This way you can avoid reconfiguring port forwarding every time the PC gets a new IP address.
Before we configure a static IP address, let’s check the current IP address of the computer, so that we can assign the same static IP address, and avoid IP conflict with other devices on the network.
To find the current IP address, open Command Prompt and enter
Locate ‘IPv4 address’ under the network adapter connected to your router. Here, we have ‘192.168.255.177’ as our current local IP address and we’re manually assigning the same IP address to make it static. You can also use the same subnet mask and default gateway (router address) for the TCP/IP configuration.
There are two ways to configure a static IP address on a Windows 11 – using Control Panel or Settings.
To assign static IP address via Settings, open Windows 11 Settings and select the ‘Network & internet’ tab on the left panel. Then, select the network adaptor you are currently connected to. In this case, it’s Wi-Fi.
Then, select the ‘network properties’ on the next page. In this case, it’s ‘WiFi properties’.
On the network (WiFi) properties page, scroll down and click the ‘Edit’ button next to ‘IP assignment’.
Then, select ‘Manual’ from the Edit network IP settings drop-down in the dialog box.
Then, turn on the ‘IPv4’ toggle and enter the IP information you obtained from the Command Prompt, which includes the IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, Preferred DNS server, and Alternate DNS server. You can also use your own IP settings as long as it doesn’t clash with other devices.
- IP address – Specify the IPv4 address obtained from the CMD or any valid IPv4 address – for example 192.168.255.177.
- Subnet mask – Specify the subnet mask for the network (which is usually 255.255.255.0)
- Gateway – Specify the default router address, which is also the default gateway address (e.g. 192.168.255.1).
- Preferred DNS – Enter the IP address of your DNS server, which is generally the address of the router as well – for example 192.168.255.1.
- Alternate DNS – You can use any alternate DNS server address for this. Here, we’re using Google’s public DNS addresses (e.g. 22.214.171.124)
Once you finish typing in the IP information, click the ‘Save’ button to save the details. Now, the static IP address is configured on your computer. The IP settings won’t change in the future (unless you change back to automatic (DHCP) IP settings).
Via Control Panel
Another way to set up a static IP address is by using Control Panel. If you’re using any other Windows version other than Windows 11, you would probably have to use Control Panel to change the IP address. Here’s how
First, launch Control Panel from Windows search. Then, open the ‘Network and Internet’ category.
From here, open the ‘Network and Sharing Center’ window.
Next, click the ‘Change adapter settings’ option from the left navigation pane.
In the Network Connections window, right-click the active network adaptor connected to the router and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.
On the Properties dialog box, click ‘Internet Protocol Versions 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ and then select ‘Properties’.
In the dialog box, click the ‘General’ tab, and select the ‘Use the following IP address’ option. Then, fill in the fields below with the IP information obtained from the Command Prompt just like we did in the previous section. And then, select the ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ radio button and enter the ‘Preferred DNS server’ address (e.g.192.168.255.1) and alternate DNS server address (public DNS server) as shown in the screenshot below.
Then, double-click ‘OK’ to apply the static IP address.
Find Your Public IP Address
Next, we need to determine the network’s public IP address to connect over the internet. This is usually provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you are connecting from outside of your LAN using an internet connection, enter your public IP address or domain name, followed by the port number. You can easily find your public IP address simply by searching “what’s my IP address” on your search engine or by using the command prompt.
In the screenshot above, the public IP address is a 32-character IPv6 address. Fortunately, Remote Desktop also allows you to use IPv4 addresses that are only 12 numbers. To find your public IPv4 address, you can visit one of the sites from the above search results or use one of these websites – whatismyipaddress.com, whatismyip.com, or ip4.me.
Also, if you have a dynamic public IP address, it may change from time to time. In this case, you’ll need to configure your router with a Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS), that can track the public IP changes.
Enable Port Forwarding on Router
Remember: The router interface and the settings for adding port forwarding rules are different for each manufacturer, and sometimes even between models. You can always refer to the manufacturer’s website or manual for more information.
Next, you’ll need to log into your router and forward the TCP port ‘3389’ to the computer running Remote Desktop, to allow a remote connection over the internet.
To configure port forwarding, open your browser, and type the IP address of the router (which is usually 192.168.1.1,192.168.0.1, 192.168.2.1, or 192.168.1.100) or the ‘default access’ link of the router. You can find the router IP address (Default Gateway) by executing the
ipconfig command on the command line app as shown before. You can also find your default router address or default access link on the label behind your router device.
Then, sign into the router using the username and password. You can also find the default username and password behind your router.
Once you are in your router’s interface, look for ‘Port Forward’, ‘Port Forwarding’, ‘Port Mapping’, or ‘Forwarind Rules’ settings page. After locatin the Port Forwarding settings, enable the service. Then, click the ‘Add Rule’ or ‘Add profile’ button.
Now, you need to create a new port forwarding rule with the required information:
- Forwarding Rule or Mapping or Service Name: Specify any name for the rule.
- Protocol: TCP
- Internal IP address or host: Specify the static IP address of the PC you’re trying to connect (the Static IP address that we assigned earlier). E.g. 192.168.255.177
- Internal port: 3389
- External port: 3389
Once done, click ‘Apply’ or ‘OK’ to save the settings. Now, the port will open on your router, allowing you to remotely access that specific PC through the internet.
Note: Windows always uses the port number ‘3389’ for Remote Desktop Connections. But if you are planning to use Remote Desktop on more than one PC within the same local network, you’ll need to add a separate port forwarding rule for each computer. For instance, 3390, 3391, etc. for each additional PC.
Connecting to Your Remote PC Over the Internet
You have finally set up your router and IP address. You can now reach your remote PC through the internet using the Remote Desktop Connections app.
If you are connecting to your remote computer from outside of your network using the internet, then you need to enter your public IP or domain name followed by a colon, and then the port number for the PC you wish to connect to.
Open the Remote Desktop Connections app, enter or copy/paste the public IP that we found out using Google followed by a colon, and then the port number (as shown below). You can either enter IPv4 or IPv6 address in RDP and click ‘Connect’. Then, enter the login details for the user account to establish the connection.
Now, you finally established a remote connection with a PC through the internet.
Connect Remotely using the Microsoft Remote Desktop App
Windows has not one but two separate remote desktop apps for accessing a remote PC. One is the classic Remote Desktop Connections (RDC) and the other is the newer Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD) app. Unlike the RDC, the new app allows you to access your remote PC from almost any device. You can even access your Windows PC from an android phone, iPhone, or Mac.
The classic RDC comes pre-installed with Windows, and you have to manually install the Microsoft Remote Desktop client application to use it. Follow these steps to install, configure, and connect Microsoft Remote Desktop on Windows.
You can install the Microsoft Remote Desktop client app from Microsoft Store (PC), Google Play (Andriod), and App Store (iOS). Here’s a list of client applications for different platforms and where you can get them:
If you are using Windows PC, open the ‘Microsoft Remote Desktop’ page by searching for it in Microsoft Store or using the link above. Then, click the ‘Get’ or ‘Install’ button.
Once you installed the app on your device, launch it. To connect to a computer remotely, click the ‘Add a PC’ button on the home page or click the ‘+ Add’ button in the top-right corner. Then, click ‘PCs’.
Under the PC name, specify the computer name or the IP address of the computer you’re trying to connect. If you want to directly connect a specific user on the remote computer, you can add that user account by clicking the ‘+’ (plus) button next to the ‘User account’ section.
If you are connecting to a remote PC outside your network or through the internet, enter the public IP address, followed by the port number (3389) in the ‘PC name’ field.
In the ‘Add an account’ screen, enter the login credentials for the remote PC. You can add a ‘Display name’ (optional) which will be shown on the Remote Desktop window. Then, click ‘Save’. If the remote PC uses a Microsoft account, enter the Microsoft account login details. Else, enter the local account login details.
In the ‘Add a PC’ screen, add a display name for the connection (optional). If you want to configure the additional connection settings, click the ‘Show more’ button.
You can change the remote desktop connection settings that include connect to admin session, set gateway address, set remote desktop display resolution, local resources, among others (just like the ‘Options’ settings we showed in the RDC client). Generally, you can connect without changing these settings, so change them only when necessary. When done, click the ‘Save’ button
Once you saved the PC, it will be added to the list of Saved PCs or the Group you choose. Under the Saved PCs section, click or tap the PC to start a remote session.
Then, enter the login credentials for the remote PC and click ‘Connect’. If you already added a user account, it will directly connect to that account.
If the certificates for remote connection are not verified, the MRD app will show that the connection is not certified. Click ‘Connect Anyway’ to accept the certificate and connect. If you don’t want to see this warning again, check the ‘Don’t ask about this certificate again’ option.
Now, you should connect to the Windows PC or device. At the top of the window, you will see two buttons, the ‘Zoom’ icon and ‘More’ icon (three dots). Click the ‘Zoom’ button to zoom in and out of the remote screen.
Clicking the More (…) button will show two options, ‘Disconnect’ and ‘Full-Screen’, on the top-right corner of the window. To close a remote session, you can either click the ‘Disconnect’ button or the ‘Close’ (X) button of the window. You can also switch between full-screen and windowed mode by clicking the ‘Full-screen’ button.
Change Connection Settings
You can change the remote desktop connection settings anytime, from the dashboard of the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. To change the connection settings, click the ‘More’ button at the lower right corner of the connection and select ‘Edit’. Here, you also have the option to remove the connection, start the session in this window, and pin it to the Start.
This will open the Edit a PC screen, where you can edit a connection.
Changing General Settings of Remote Desktop Client
Microsoft Remote Desktop app has a settings panel where you can customize general, account, session, and app settings. To access the settings panel, click the ‘Settings’ button at the top-right corner of the app.
In the Settings panel, you can find various customizing options. You can add and edit user account, gateway server, and group. To edit a user account, select it from the drop-down and click the ‘Edit’ (pen) button.
Under Session settings, you can change how each remote session should start and how the remote session window should look when resizing the Remote Desktop app. You can also choose if ‘keyboard shortcuts’ should work only on the local computer or the remote desktop.
Check the ‘Prevent the screen from timing out’ option if you want to keep the screen ON when a remote session is active.
You also have the option to ‘Show previews’ of the remote desktops on the app’s dashboard and change app ‘theme preference’.
Other Remote Desktop Softwares
Besides Windows’s ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ tool and ‘Microsoft Remote Desktop’ app, there are several free and paid remote access softwares you can use to remotely control one computer from another. Here’s a list of our recommended softwares:
- Chrome Remote Desktop
- Remote Utilities
- TeamViewer Personal
- AnyDesk (non-commercial use)
Let’s hope this exhaustive tutorial helps you enable and use Remote Desktop on Windows 11 (or other Windows versions).