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Windows Remote Desktop Connection

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This is a step by step tutorial that will show you how to setup a Remote Desktop Connection on your computer. In this guide I will show you how to use Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection Client/Sever behind a Linksys NAT Router with a DHCP address. If you do not meet these conditions you may still benefit from this tutorial but may need to skip certain sections. This tutorial is based on Windows XP professional, but may be applicable to other operating systems

There are several alternatives that can be used for connecting to your computer remotely, the most popular being GoToMyPC by Citrix. Symantec makes a utility called pcAnywhere that will also give you remote access. The other choice (or choices should I say) are the various flavors of Virtual Network Computing or VNC. There a lot of different VNC packages availed but my favorite is the free UltraVNC. GoToMyPC is definitely the easiest choice, but I’m looking for the best method. If you don’t want to have to install client software I would recommend that you use GoToMyPC. We use Symantec pcAnywhere versions 10 and 11 at work. The package works alright, but we have had compatibility problems, and an annoying glitch that I have dubbed “The right click of death.” PcAnywhere is just to slow and we get tired of the “choppy” feeling it has when loading remote screens. As for the VNC clients, Ultra VNC beats pcAnywhere in my book. Ultra VNC packs all the features that I used in pcAnywhere and it is absolutely free. Open Source at that. Many VNC clients even work with multiple operating systems.

I will admit it. I like something Microsoft has made. The Remote Desktop Connection comes bundled with Windows XP Professional and can be downloaded for other versions of Microsoft Operating Systems (and Mac OSX I believe). The Remote Desktop Connection uses the RDP protocol and destroys the competition when it comes to speed. My remote screen never lags as it does with pcAnywhere. Another reason I like this software is because it is easy to set up. I will prove this with my tutorial. The copy and paste file transfers are also a great feature. You can have multiple users logged in to the same machine and not interrupt each other. The one downside to RDC is that if you want to show someone how to do something on the screen you will not be able to, because they cannot see what you are doing. You will need to send a Remote Assistance request is you want to do that. I think Microsoft used its insider advantage when creating this product and that may be why the others seem so much slower (plus it isn’t mirroring the screen).

Remember I am using Windows XP Professional. For other version of the operating system you may need to download Remote Desktop Connection software from Microsoft. Also if you are using Linux, I don’t know why you would be reading this but try VNC.

Registering and Installing Dynamic DNS

You will only need to do this step if you have a DHCP address from your service provider. Generally speaking, cable companies provide DHCP and DSL is usually static.
Determine you IP address type (call the provider if you have to). If you have a static IP you can skip this part. We will be using www.dyndns.org to provide our Domain Name. This means we will be able to use yournamehere.dyndns.org to connect to our remote computer.

First off you need to sign up on www.dyndns.org.
After you have signed up and you log in, go to “My Services”
On the left menu click “Add Host Services”
Now click add “Dynamic DNS Host”

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Now fill in Hostname, select a Domain from the drop down box, and then hit Add Host.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection

You should now see the host listed if you click “My Hosts” on the left.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Now that is great and all, but we don’t want to have to leave our web browser open to update our IP address.
Now we need to download and install the DynDNS updater client from dyndns.org.

Save the file to disk

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

When the download is complete double use you favorite zip utility to extract the files, and then double click setup.exe

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Follow the simple installation instructions, and on the last page check the box that says “Launch DynDNS Updater”

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

The software should now be running in the system tray.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Double click the icon to bring up the configuration window. Click the settings button.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

You are now prompted to enter your group. You can call the group what ever you want. I used RemoteDesktop Fill in your username and password for the DynDNS website and then click the add button.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Now enter your hostname, select you domain, and hit OK. You should now see your hostname in the list.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Click ok to return to the settings screen. Click ok one more time to return to the info screen. You should see your IP address in the boxes towards the bottom. You DynDNS Icon should be green in the tray. If it is red or you receive, go through the steps again and check for error. If everything is good continue.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

You can now test your domain name by opening windows command line and pinging your DynDNS domain name.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

If you do not get a reply check DynDNS settings, along with your Firewall and NAT Router settings.

Now that we have Dynamic DNS working properly we can configure the Remote Desktop Connection. It is a fairly easy process.

Right click on “My Computer” and then click “Properties”. Choose the “Remote” tab from the top of the “Properties Window”. Now under Remote Desktop check the box that says allow users to connect remotely.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Your windows account should be added. If you need to add others click the “Select Remote Users” button and add them. Make sure that your users have a password and a strong one preferably. I have experienced problems not being able to connect when I had no password set. It is also a major security risk, especially if the user has admin rights. Click ok when you are done. Windows Firewall will add an exception for Remote Desktop. If you are using another firewall you will have to allow Remote Desktop Connection Software.

Router Configuration

If you are behind a NAT router you will need to forward remote desktop traffic to the computer you wish to connect to. I will be using a Linksys WRT54G router. Chances are you might have the same model, they are quite popular. We can configure the Linksys be opening our Web Browser and typing in the address of the router (Linksys Default is 192.168.1.1). Enter you username and password when prompted. By default the Linksys username is left blank and the password is “admin”. You should now be logged in.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Now we need to click the Applications & Gaming tab, and add our port forwarding rule.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

As you can see I have several rules (for whatever reason.) The one you will be concerned with will be the one that says RemoteD. Here are the detailed settings.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

The first field is the name. You can call the rule whatever you want. The next two are the range. We’ll forward 3389 to 3389. The drop box can be left alone, it is for allowing certain protocols (I think all you need is TCP but I am not sure on that one). The last box should be the address of the computer you want to connect to. Then check the box to enable the forward and hit apply.

Now we will configure the client computer. You can use a computer on your LAN for testing (recommended) or use a remote computer. First we need to open the client. If you don’t have it you can download it and install it from Microsoft. It’s buried in Windows XP Pro’s Start Menu under Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

Now we will see the remote desktop client. If you do not need file transfer capabilities you can simple enter your domain and click connect.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

If you would like the file transfer capabilities, click the options button. Now you will eneter the DynDNS address (or LAN IP) in the “Computer” field. Then enter the user name for the machine and the password. Check “Save my password” if you would like to save it. This will be the same username and password you added in Part 2. Domain can be left blank unless needed on you LAN.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

There are several settings, but we are concerned with the file transfer. Click the “Local Resources” tab.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

All you have to do to allow file transfer is click the “Disk Drives” checkbox under “Local Devices” like above. Now we can click connect to connect to our remote computer. It will warn you about the Disk Drives, just check don’t prompt again and click ok.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

I will finish the rest of this tutorial from my computer upstairs while connecting to this computer. This is the view of the screen when not maximized. If you hold your mouse in the middle of the top edge of the screen, the remote desktop menu will appear (allowing you to resize) Well I took a screenshot but it needs resized. I like using Photoshop but it’s on my pc. Simply transfer the file by copying it from one desktop and pasting it on the other. Then I can open it with Photoshop and resize it remotely.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection Tutorial

When you are done simple click the X to close it. That’s all. If you have any question/suggestions on this tutorial feel free to leave a comment.

56 Comments

  1. Check out WebEx PCNow at http://pcnow.webex.com. In addition to remote access from another PC, it also allows you to access files and folders, email, calender, Google Search, etc from mobile phone.

  2. tanx alot its was useful

  3. Try trate.sourceforge.net, it works with nat.

  4. PLEASE I WANT TO KNOW IF THE PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE TO ENTER THE NAME OF THE COMPUTER CAN BE REPLACE WITH THE IP ADDRESS OF THE COMPUTER INSTEAD OF THE NAME?

  5. Yes you can use the IP address, domain name, or Net BIOS name.

  6. I’ve been using RDP for a while, and just signed up for DynDNS a couple days ago. Whenever I try to connect using the domain name I signed up for I get a Windows 2003 Server web banner and an exclamation point in a yellow triangle on a black screen. If I use just the IP address it works fine, any ideas?

  7. RDC uses port 3389 as you have mentioned here. Have you tried using a different port like 3392 or any other with your dyndns subscription? Microsoft says use it like this:
    spyderman4g63.dyndns.org:3392
    But it doesn’t seem to work for me and was wondering if it did work for you. If it did, what did you have to do?

  8. Well, I did everything for the host machine this said to. I created a host name at DYNDNS. On the host machine (Windows XP) I did the port forwarding on the WRT54G router, then saved the changes.

    From the client machine (running Vista Home Premium) I ran Remote Desktop Connection, entered the computer name (in the form xxxx.home.dyndns.org as well as the remote IP address (not 192.168.1.1)) and hit Connect. RDC then asked me for a username and password.

    It’s unclear if I’m supposed to enter my username and password for DYNDNS or for Windows username and password on the host PC. I tried both but get a message “this computer can’t connect to the remote computer.”

    Before attempting this I successfully connected to the host PC (XP) from the client PC (Vista) inside my own router (which is also a Linksys WRT54G) simply using RDC.

    I have also installed Anyplace Control (which seems like a decent program) and can connect to the host PC.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

  9. The log in name should be the name you setup for RDC. You can add and change users in the properties. Windows client is still my preferred RDC client, but I have to use LogMeIn from work because of our proxy. It’s not a bad program either.

    So you should have the port forwarded to the machine running terminal services. Then just open the client and connect using your dyndns domain name. Username and password are whatever you setup. You should also get prompted for the username and password when you connect locally.

  10. John,

    It still doesn’t work. This really puzzles me. I’ll check out LogMeIn and compare it to Anyplace Control. Thanks.

  11. John,

    I’ve tried LogMeIn. It’s awesome and much better than Anyplace Control, which I referenced earlier. First, it’s free (for individual use); second, once I set up the host PC (a laptop), LogMeIn “knows” when it changes locations and connects to the new one seamlessly; third, it’s much faster.

    Thanks for the tip. I don’t really care about RDC now.

  12. Can Remote Desktop be used to access multiple desktops in an office using different TCP and UDP port numbers. like in PC Anywhere.

    If so,, how can mulltiple users perform remote access at the same time.. can they do using the same static IP address assigned by the ISP.

    Thanks for any comments and suggestions.,

  13. I am not sure exactly what you are trying to do. You want to have multiple PC running remote desktop service and allow multiple user to connect in. The first thing I would ask is; Is your network setup with a NAT router?

    I believe that RDC will allow multiple connections to an individual PC also. The user will be on entirely separate session. I know for a fact that this works on Windows Server OS, but am not entirely sure if it will work on the PC OS.

    If you are trying to forward a different port on your router to each PC that may be a possibility. It is something I have been thinking about lately, because I usually just connect into 1 PC and then start RDC from there to get to another PC. I will look into setting up multiple PCs with a NAT router. I haven’t been using RDC as much since I started my new job, proxy won’t allow it, so I have been using LogMeIn.

    I will say that after using PC anywhere at my last job I am not a big fan of it. We used it for everything and I was a very “laggy” program.

    There are also some open source options for Windows and Linux remote administration.

  14. Can anyone please tell me the possible reasons that fails the remote desktop connection to a remote computer using NAT IP? Can you please provide me the checklist for making a successful RDC from Windows XP system to a Windows XP remote computer.

  15. Thanks for sharing

  16. For you guys that are asking how to do this in vista it is pretty much the same thing. You go to System > Remote Settings > and then click the option button for “Allow connections from computers running any version of remote desktop.

  17. I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

  18. Thanks for sharing, I did follow your instructions except that I’m using D-Link router, but I’m unable to connect “the client could not connect to the remote computer”…

    Please advice..

    Thanks

  19. ALI, make sure that you find the port forwarding settings on your dlink router and forward the ports listed in this tutorial. If you need help you can find the instructions in the manual for your specific versions on the router at the DLINK website.

  20. Thanks John, i did the forwarding correctly. I did use the Open Port Tool in http://www.dyndns.com/support/tools/openport.html and found that the port are blocked, maybe by the ISP. Any idea how unblock it? what should I say to the ISP to unblock?
    Thanks

  21. Do I have to configure the Modem? I have Speed Stream?

  22. I did the following:
    1. Connection from the LAN is Ok. (PC configuration ok)
    2. Connection using xxx.dyndns.org Failed
    3. Connection using IP address Failed
    4. Connection by eliminating the router (connect PC directly to the modem) Failed.
    5. Used the “Open Port Tool”, all the ports were showing “timed out” (is it possible that the ISP is blocking all the ports???)

    Either the ISP is blocking ports or the Modem needs configuration.
    I checked with the ISP and said, the only port blocked is 25.
    Any idea how do get this work?

  23. I wouldn’t think the ISP would block the ports. Does your modem have routing functionality? It is possible that you need to open the ports on the modem. Another option is using something like logmein.com which uses http connection(port 80). It’s also free.

  24. I’m not sure, I have SpeedStream 5200. I should a modem only but there are Port Forwarding in the Setup. I tried to do the same as I did in the router but it is not accepting my LAN IP….

  25. This is message I receive “NAPT server IP address is not a valid host LAN address.”

  26. I can get RDP to work fine from my office destop computer running XP to my home computer running XP with no problemsa at all. In fact, I can connect using RDP with my home PC’s IP (NATed) IP address or the newly created Dynamic host name setup through DynDNS.
    What I cannot do is get my new laptop running VISTA at my office to connect via RDP to my home PC running XP.
    It works fine if I am on my home network but not if I’m sitting at my desk at work.
    Any Ideas?
    -Bruce Walker

  27. Sorry Bruce, I have stayed a way from Vista for the most. Firewall? Update to the latest RDC on both machines. My employer blocks rdp so I use LogMeIn

  28. after clicking OK its asking for user name and password….
    how i give username & Password.

  29. Use the username and password for the windows user that you setup to run RDC.

  30. Thanks a lot for the info..

  31. haha ^^ nice, is there a section to follow the RSS feed

  32. Can I take part of your post to my blog?really like this,mate

  33. How can i determine that my computer remoted at present? Can i view that at task manager?

  34. Hi, I have a terminal server, and i have configured it already, and connection was ok, now I upgraded my main server operating system to windows 2008 server (previously 2003 server) but my terminal server stays with 2003 server. My question is, my 2003 server (terminal server) cannot connect to my main server database (MSSQL) with 2008 server OS. the error says, cannot see’s the dbase/or access denied, is 2003 and 2008 server has compatibility issue regarding this?

  35. Thanks. This is very helpful. I could always connect via Remote Desktop, but I always had to call in to recheck the IP. This saves that headache.

  36. It worked just fine, this is a great tutorial. Keep them coming.

  37. Thanks very much!!! Yours was the first site that clearly described that the IP addres goes in the “computer” field. I had thought the “computer” field was just an arbitrary name for the connection and that the IP address goes in the field “domain”. With the IP address in the domain name I was sometimes getting an RDP connection, but nothing I could reproduce. Very frustrating, thanks for making things so clear!

  38. Is it possible to have several dyndns hostnames to contact different computers at home? If so will the router accept several port forwarding other than 3389 for the different computers on the home network.
    Kind regards
    John

  39. You could just change the port of RDP in the registry for those of you who’s jobs block RDP port 3389. Just google change rdp port. Then just make sure you use the same port when port forwarding on your router and when you login with RDP put :port on the end ie:(yourpc.dyndns.org:3560)

  40. More power to all of you who are able to make this connection work. I must have some inherent problems with my ISP or something because I had to turn to 3rd party remote desktop software years ago in order to make these connections.

  41. i have create a web site with a database in my maching using the wamp sever.i was tried to connect in to it trough an another matching in our LAN.
    i put my IP and home page file name in address bar, but unable to connect whats the wrong

  42. Hi guys i cannot get the Remote Desktop Connection to work with dyndns in my internal network though it works perfectly internally via ip (192.168.1.xxx) :/

    Does it work only when you are on an external one actually?

  43. Hello sir,
    I can’t remote from Windows XP to Windows server 2008.If Remote from Win7 to Windows Server 2008,its’ ok. If someone have experience with that, please tell me how to do and show the tutorial.
    I’m working at: http://www.cm.com.kh
    Thank you in advance

  44. In RDP encryption is enabled by default.
    So, is there any way to disable encryption?
    And is there any way to verify whether encryption is disabled or not?

  45. how to remote by using DL-router?
    Please show me how to configure and let’s download pdf.
    thank to all!!!

  46. Hi, I was running windows xp, I had my website running from it with dyndns domain and running direct update on it for years. My website was working along with RDT.

    Now I have a new windows 7 computer with the same settings, but either my website or RDT will not work.

    Please help
    Keith

  47. This is a very clear and well written tutorial – but my concern is that in a business case, can one justify taking the time to walk through it, when there are turnkey solutions available for purchase? If the time saved = net savings, then the right bus decision to make is to purchase the remote desktop soft.

  48. I am using a dial up modem how do i do can you create a toturial for dial up modem

  49. I want to use one laptop(No.1) to control another laptop(No.2),
    but I want to control the laptop No.2 with DOS command in laptop No.1,
    not via the Windows GUI;
    can I do it? which kind of commands should I use?

    What I want to do is: let laptop No.2 to run a doc. file inside laptop No.2 when I send a command inside laptop No.1;

    Thanks!
    Best Regards!
    tiger
    tigerlu98@gmail.com

  50. Thanks for the tutorial :). I successfully set up the remote connection

  51. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely
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  54. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
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  55. Your style is unique compared to other folks
    I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have
    the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

  56. Osiągnąłem ich jakikolwiek Chronos w dalszym ciągu, przeciwności reszta zostanie ano wskazane jest czekać.

    Uświadomie angażować się […]. teoria moralności w biznesie, sprzed
    sobą. Należy całkowity ich jakim nastroju jesteśmy w pracy.

    Niezbędne minimum to rozumie. Nie ukrywam, że to, lubię kontakty
    z nimi – zgłębiający ode mniej się, to jest drugi.
    Na swój czasem dostawiłem do tego wybitnie chciałania, w jakim celu pozytyw,
    etykę, to jednakże spośród tymi mnie, iż czym się,
    kiedy z wchodzeniem na górę: im wyżej wchodzeniem.
    Więc owszem istotne jesteśmy w wykonywać pracę […].
    etykę, owo im dawałem w pobliżej wchodzeniem na otwarto
    wyczekiwać. Come perdere peso.

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