In the workplace, remote access and control of computers is a common practice. Depending on your operating system, the methods for establishing remote connections with computers vary. The two most commonly used protocols are:

  • SSH for Linux-based systems
  • RDP for Windows-based systems

What is RDP?

RDP, which stands for Remote Desktop Protocol, is a network protocol developed by Microsoft that allows users to remotely access and control computers running the Windows operating system.

RDP provides users with a graphical interface, allowing them to access remote computers and control them in the same way as their local machines. However, RDP is not as secure as SSH unless you use a virtual private network (VPN) while operating. Additionally, RDP remote connections can only be made between computers running Windows operating systems.

Enabling Remote Access in Windows 7, 8, 10, and Windows Server Versions

The process for enabling remote access connections is similar for all versions of the Windows operating system. Before initiating an RDP connection, there are a few things to note:

1. Allow Remote Connections

  1. Right-click on “Computer” or “This PC”.
  2. Click on “Properties”.
  3. Click on “Remote settings” on the left side of the window.
  4. Click on “Allow remote connections to this computer”. You can also select the checkbox “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication” to enhance security.
  5. Click “OK” to close the window.

2. Add Users to the Remote Users List

If you are an administrator, your account will automatically be added to the list of allowed users. This step is only necessary if you want to allow access to users other than administrators.

  1. In the Remote settings page shown in the previous step, click on “Select Users…”.
  2. Click on “Add” in the “Remote Desktop Users” box.
  3. The “Select Users” box will appear. You can choose the location to search by clicking on “Locations”.
  4. In the “Enter the object names to select” field, enter the username and click “Check Names”.
  5. Once a match is found, select the user account and click “OK”.
  6. Click “OK” again to close the “System Properties” window.

Using the Remote Desktop Client

To use the Remote Desktop client, you don’t need to specifically configure Remote Desktop on your local computer.

1. Launch the Remote Desktop Connection

On your local Windows computer, find the Remote Desktop Connection application.

  1. For Windows 7, click “Start” -> “All Programs”, navigate to the “Accessories” folder, and click on “Remote Desktop Connection”. For Windows 10 users, click “Start” and find the “Windows Accessories” folder, where you can also find the Remote Desktop Connection application.
  2. Click “Start” and type “Remote Desktop Connection” in the search bar. As you start typing, you will immediately see search results. When the application appears in the list, click on it.
  3. Press Windows + R to display the “Run” dialog. Type mstsc in the “Open:” field and press Enter to run the Remote Desktop client.

2. Enter the Remote Host IP Address or Name

After launching the Remote Desktop Connection application, a window will pop up. You can enter the name or IP address of the remote computer you want to access and click “Connect”.

3. Enter RDP Credentials and Complete the Connection

After clicking “Connect”, a loading bar will appear. Then, you will see a popup window similar to this:

  1. Enter the password for the selected username. If necessary, you can use a different account and provide a different username and password.
  2. Click “OK”, and you will receive a security certificate warning.
  3. Click “Yes” to continue.

Note that only one user can be logged in at a time on a Windows computer, or else a warning login message will appear.