How to Setup Remote Desktop

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Remote Desktop (RD) is Windows technology that allows users to remotely access a computer (host) on another computer (client). Using the technology, users can access the host computer’s files, programs, and network resources using a client computer.

In this quick guide, let me show you how to set up the Remote Desktop on Windows.

Set Up Remote Desktop Connection on the Host Computer

Before you set up Remote Desktop, you need to enable Remote Desktop Connection using the Control Panel and Settings. Of the two methods, Settings is easier. However, we would introduce both ways as regards all Windows versions.

Set Up Remote Desktop Connection Using Settings
This method is only available on computers running Windows 8, 10, and 11. The steps below show how you set up Remote Desktop Connection on a host computer running Windows 11. However, the steps are also applicable to Windows 8 and 10.

STEP 1: Enable Remote Desktop Connection

Open Settings

Under System, navigate to Remote Desktop.

Enable Remote Desktop.

Check box “Require computers to use Network Level Authentication (NLA) to connect box.

STEP 2: Allow Remote Desktop Connection through the Windows Firewall

Open the Control Panel and change the View by to Category.

Click on System and Security.

Click Allow an app through Windows Firewall.

Click on Change Settings and scroll down to Remote Desktop

Tick the box for Private and Public

STEP 3: Get the IP Address of the Host Computer

Open the Command Prompt as an administrator

Enter the command ipconfig and press Enter

STEP 4: Make the Host Computer Connect Over the Internet

Note: Skip this step if you are running a local network.

For users who want to connect over the internet (computers not connected to the same network), you need to tweak the host computer to recognize the client computer. There are two ways to do that: using a VPN and Port forwarding.

Method 1: Using a VPN

Use the Windows Integrated VPN service with your VPN information below.

  • The address/name of the VPN server
  • The VPN protocol type
  • Login details

Follow the steps below on how to connect to the Windows VPN service on Windows 11

Launch the Windows Settings

Click on Network & Internet and select VPN

Click on Add a VPN Connection

Enter the VPN information and click Save

Note: Not all public networks support VPN connections. Therefore, you should try the second method if facing problems regarding its use.

Method 2: Port Forwarding

Port forwarding is a feature that ensures that your RD server is directly accessible on the internet – a feature that is not normally possible due to NAT. With port forwarding, the client computer will be able to use the host computer router’s external IP address to gain remote access to the host computer.

This is possible because port forwarding connects the host computer’s internal IP address and port to the external port. Therefore, the client computer can connect to the host computer using the host computer’s router, external IP address, and external port.

Follow the steps below on how to use port forwarding.

STEP 1: Configure Static IP for Port Forwarding

To configure your router for port forwarding, you need to set a static IP for the host computer

Open the Command Prompt as an administrator

Enter the command ipconfig/all ipconfig/all and press Enter

Under the network adapter settings, copy the IPv4 Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, and DNS Servers.

Open the Control Panel

Under Network and Internet, click on Network and Sharing Center

Click on Change Adapter Settings

Right-click on the Adapter (Wi-Fi)

Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties

On the General tab, select Use the following IP address

Enter the copied addresses from Step 1

Click on OK

STEP 2: Know Your Public IP Address

Open your web browser and visit Google

Type the command What is my IP address in the search box

Copy the public IP address

Note the public IP address should be static. The copied public IP address is usually static. If you think that it is not static, you need to set the DDNS on your router

Login to your router as an admin

Navigate to DDNS Configuration

Configure the DDNS settings (note the name you set for the domain)

By doing this, it does not matter if your public IP address changes

STEP 3: Configure Router for Port Forwarding

The settings below will allow RDC to forwards TCP port 3389 on your router:

Login to your router as an admin

Navigate to the port forwarding option (depending on the router, it can be under the Network, Wireless, or Advanced categories.

Enable port mapping and set the following:

  • Type: Application
  • Mapping Name: RDC
  • Internal host: IP address of the host computer
  • Protocol: TCP
  • Internal port: 3389
  • External port: 3389

Note: Using port forwarding ensures that your PC is accessible over the internet. Therefore, you are at risk of cyber-attacks.

Set Up Remote Desktop Connection Using Control Panel

All Windows-enabled computers allow you to set up the Remote Desktop Connection using the Control Panel. The steps below show how you set up RD on a host computer running Windows 11. However, the steps apply to other versions of Windows with little or no alterations.

STEP 1: Enable Remote Desktop Connection

Open the Control Panel

Click on System and Security

Under System, click on Allow remote access

Click on Allow remote connection on this computer

For Windows Vista and Windows 7, there will be an option to Allow Connections from Computers Running Any Version of Remote Desktop.

Set Up Remote Desktop App on the Client Computer

Users running on Windows 10 or 11 set up Remote Desktop using the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. However, connecting to the host computer depends on whether the computers are on the same network or different. Download the application and follow the steps below on how to connect to a host computer:

STEP 1: Open the Remote Desktop

Launch the Remote Desktop Connection app on the client computer.

Click on Add

Select PCs or Workspaces depending on what you want to connect to

STEP 2: Enter the Host Computer Credential

Under the “PC name,” input the IP address of the host computer

Note: in a private network, enter the local IP address. If you are connecting via the internet, enter the public IP address.

Click on the + button on top of the User account.

Enter the account username and password of the host computer and click Save (you can also use the host’s account Microsoft account sign-in information

You can set the Display name under and the connection name (this is optional)

STEP 3: Change the Other Settings

Click on Show more

Here you can change the following:

  • Connect to admin session
  • Swap mouse buttons
  • Set the remote session resolution
  • Turn on clipboard
  • Set audio playback

Typically, you don’t need to configure these options, and you should only use them depending on the scenario.

Step 4: Log in to the Host Computer

Click on the saved PC

If you receive a message saying the host computer’s identity is not verifiable. Check the Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer option

Click on Connect.

Set Up Remote Desktop Connection on the Client Computer

The built-in RDC works much like the Remote Desktop and is available on all Windows versions, unlike the Remote Desktop. Follow the steps below on how to connect to a host computer:

Step 1: Open the Remote Desktop Connection

Launch the Remote Desktop Connection app on the client computer.

Step 2: Enter the Host Computer Credential

For computers running on the same network, type the host computer’s IPv4 address.

Note: For accessing RDC over the internet, enter the external IP address of the router (i.e., the public address)

Click Connect.

Enter the host computer’s username and password.

Sometimes, you might receive a message saying the host computer’s identity is not verifiable. Check the Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer box and click Yes.

V2 Cloud Does Not Require Complex Set Ups

Using the RDC would be better if you are not running on the same network, i.e., via the internet. However, such a connection would require complex setups. A safer option would be V2 Cloud, a standalone cloud desktop infrastructure that allows users to access data remotely.

V2 Cloud is a simple and stable option for small or large businesses.