Remote Desktop

First of all, what is a Remote Desktop?

With the Remote Desktop feature in Windows XP, you are able to control a computer from another office, from home or while traveling. For example, with this feature enabled, you can use the data, applications and network resources that are on your office computer, without even being in your office!

Remote Desktop is the new name for the older Windows based Terminal Services Client that (like with Windows 2000), would allow you to connect to and manage a server remotely for up to two connections. It also allows you to do maintenance on the server and so on. The Remote Desktop in the Windows Server 2003 and XP versions allows the same functionality, except it’s now enhanced and easier to use.

To use the Remote Desktop, you need the following:

  • Windows XP Professional installed on your office computer, or whichever computer you plan to operate remotely. This computer is known as the host.
  • Display data and keyboard data are sent over a WAN or Internet connection, so make sure that you are working over a good connection. To use a Remote Desktop over a slow connection could be a burden. It will work, but it may not respond as well as you would like. You can also use low bandwidth connections. They will also allow you to remotely control a system.
  • Both computers must be connected to the Internet
  • To set up the Remote Desktop, start with the host computer:

1. Verify that you are signed in as the administrator.
2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

3. Click System.

4. Click the Remote tab, select the “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” checkbox and then click OK.

Next, make sure you have the Windows Firewall set up to allow exceptions.

1. In the Control Panel, click Security Center.

2. Under “Manage security settings for,” click Windows Firewall.

3. Make sure the “Don’t allow exceptions” checkbox is not selected.

4. Click the Exceptions tab and verify that the Remote Desktop checkbox is selected.

5. Click OK and then close the Windows Security Center window.

Your host computer is now set up to allow remote access. Next, you will need the name of the host computer.

6. In the Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, click System and then click the Computer Name tab.

7. Write down the full computer name and then click OK.
8. Close the Control Panel.
9. Leave this computer running, locked and connected to the corporate network with Internet access.

Connect your remote computer to the host computer:

To connect your home computer, which is the client (or remote) computer to your work (or host) computer, follow these steps:

1. On your home computer, click Start, point to All Programs and then point to Accessories.
2. In the Accessories menu, point to Communications and then click Remote Desktop Connection.
3. In the Computer box, type the computer name of your host computer, which you wrote down earlier.

4. Click Connect.
5. When the “Log On to Windows” dialog box appears, type your user name, password and domain (if required), and then click OK.

The Remote Desktop window will open and you can see the desktop settings, files and programs that are on your host computer. Your host computer remains locked and nobody can access it without a password. In addition, no one will be able to see the work you are doing remotely.

To end your Remote Desktop session:

1. Click Start and then click Log Off at the bottom of the Start menu.
2. When prompted, click Log Off.

Remote Desktop in other versions of Windows:

In continuation to the previous article on Remote Desktop in Windows XP, we are about to learn how would other Computers connect to a system running the Remote Desktop. First of all, we would need to set up our computer as a Remote Desktop client, for which installation of a Remote Desktop connection (or Terminal Services Client) is required. Another requirement is that your computer must be able to connect to the remote computer by means of a network connection, dial-up or an Internet connection. The following table will gi
ve you a better idea of what I am saying.

Operating System
Client Software
Windows XP (all versions) Remote Desktop Connection (installed by default) Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications, Remote Desktop Connection
Windows 2000 Professional Remote Desktop Connection (installed by the user) Install from the Windows XP Professional CD
Windows 95/98 Remote Desktop Connection (installed by the user) Install from the Windows XP Professional CD
Windows NT 4.0 Remote Desktop Connection (installed by the user) Install from the Windows XP Professional CD

To install Remote Desktop Connection on computers running Windows 95 / 98 / NT 4.0 / 2000 Server / 2000 Professional:

1. Insert the Windows XP Professional operating system CD into your CD ROM drive
2. From the Setup menu, click Perform Additional Tasks and then click Set Up Remote
Desktop Connection
3. In the Remote Desktop Connection InstallShield Wizard, follow the instructions until the installation is complete.

Establishing a Remote Desktop Session:

After installing the appropriate client software on the client computer, you can connect to the remote computer.

1. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications, Remote Desktop Connection.
2. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialogue box, in the Computer section, type the name or
IP address of a computer running Windows XP Professional for which you have
Remote Desktop permissions.
3. Click Connect.
4. In the “Log On to Windows” dialogue box, type your user name, password and domain (if
required), and then click OK.

And there you have it! Now, you can remotely control your computers from different locations. How cool is that?!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami