Windows 10 observed plenty of praise and was viewed as a far better alternate and improvement above the much-reviled Windows 8. With regular bi-annual updates and plenty of features, it delivered upon its promise of an OS that will be feasible, easy to use, efficient, powerful, improve user productivity, and be ideal for professional use and applications (IT, offices, etc.). One such feature is the remote desktop connection that has been seen as an amazing and revolutionary feature with plenty of benefits for the users.
The OS has improved security and management features that ensure the protection of your device and network from the invasion of bugs, malware, or unwanted intrusion. Advanced AI-based firewall, Windows Defender Application Guard, Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), and a range of identity management features make Windows 10 quite safe and secure.
The advanced privacy and transparency features allow users to be able to access data that is being collected on them by apps and software installed on their system. Users will also be informed if an app wants to access key device capabilities like camera, contacts, location, microphone, etc. This was especially targeted towards enterprise customers who wanted greater control over their shared data.
Presented as the final product of Windows series, the OS is presented as a service rather than a product with an update cycle and plenty of features. The Remote Desktop Protocol has been a part of the windows for quite some time (since XP-Pro days) but has been overshadowed by external apps such as TeamViewer, join.me, and Chrome Remote Desktop. It enables a user to connect one PC to another over a network or internet so that files can be accessed or retrieved remotely. It also allows for providing remote technical support.
The application has become quite popular recently especially due to limited movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nifty feature allowed for many to be able to access their PCs remotely and now the majority is jumping on the bandwagon whether they are actually in the need of this feature or not. As ultimately, there is no harm in it. To be able to access information on your computer can come in handy at any time.
For the corporate sector, the application has proven to be a blessing. The feature is getting enable on a number of systems globally on an alarming rate; not that there are any percussions, it’s just that it makes you wonder what other amazing and convenient features we are yet to discover on a practical scale. Let’s take it slow and start with this one and see how we can enable it on our PCs.
In this piece, we will be having a detailed look at how this amazing feature can be enabled so you can use the built-in feature provided to you by Micro-Soft in Windows 10 to connect to your PC remotely.
1. Enable it:
The first step to being able to use Remote Desktop Protocol is to enable it from your PC or desktop. By default, the feature is disabled and needs to be enabled by the user when and if they need it. You can do it by opening the settings, which can be found in the start menu. From there, click on the desktop icon and then remote desktop from there. In case your current version needs to be updated to enable this feature, you will be informed and you can update your windows from there.
After having updated (or in case your Windows was up-to-date), enable the Remote Desktop feature by toggling on the button that says ‘Enable Remote Desktop’. You will be asked to confirm enabling this feature for all the users under the user account, click ‘Confirm’. Now you have the feature of Remote Desktop Protocol enabled.
2. Enabling Using the Advanced System Setting:
Another way to enable Remote Desktop for Windows 10 is through the system properties. For this, enter the start menu by pressing the Windows key and type ‘Advanced System Setting’. A recommendation will pop-up immediately which you can then click to enter.
This will open a new window with five tabs on the top. You need to go to the last tab which states ‘Remote’ on top. Start with ticking the ‘Allow Remote Assistance connection to this computer’ and selecting the ‘Allow remote connection to this computer’ as well. Checking the box above will provide better security with Network Level Authentication. Also check the box that will allow you to receive a connection from external devices. You can further customize the users who can remotely access the computer by clicking on the ‘Select User’ tab.
3. Accessing your PC:
Now you get to test whether you can access your PC remotely or not. Now you are presented with a couple of choices on how you choose to remotely connect to your PC. The simplest and traditional method would be of using the desktop app aka the ‘Remote Desktop’ universal app.
You can install this app on your desktop from the windows store easily. The best feature of it is that it is quite versatile and can also be used on mobile platforms (including Android and iOS). In case you are using this feature for multiple PCs like an office or have multiple PCs at home, a useful free tool would be the Advanced IP scanner.
Time to put the practice to test. Try accessing the remote PC by launching the app and type a name for it, name of the host or IP address, and select Connect option afterwards. This will take you to another screen where you can enter the username and password for that PC or user. There will be a small box underneath saying ‘Remember my credential’. If you believe you will be using this feature of remotely accessing your PC often, then check it.
You may encounter an error message that says that it can’t verify the identity of the remote PC. Don’t worry or concern yourself with it. Just check the message with ‘don’t ask me again for connecting to this PC’ and click on the ‘Connect anyway’ button.
And just like that, you can now connect to your PC remotely and use it however you want. You can access files and folders, perform maintenance, configure it, provide remote support or do pretty much anything you want.
Another nifty feature that the Remote Access Protocol allows for is the option to customize the appearance and other features. In the app, simply go to Settings, then Connection Settings, and make changes to the appearance, use attached devices (printer, camera, microphone, speakers, etc), or simply make other adjustments according to provided options.
Easy wasn’t it? But wait….there’s more!!!
5. Enabling Remote Connection on Router:
Remember when we said that you can access your computer remotely over the internet? Well, besides configuring the setting on your PC, you will have to tweak a bit with the network router setting to allow the remote setting to pass through to your PC.
Computer on private networks is assigned dynamic IPs which can change at any time. if you think that using remote access is going to be a regular thing, switch to static IP address which saves you the trouble of port-forwarding the settings on the router every time your device’s IP address is changed.
Here’s a step by step guide since this will be a bit technical:
- Start with accessing the control panel, then Network and Internet, then the Network and Sharing Center.
- On the panel to your left, select the Change adapter setting. Right-click on the network you are connected to and access properties.
- On Ethernet properties, select ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ and click the properties button underneath.
- From there, select the general tab and select the option stating ‘Use the following IP address’.
- To prevent address conflicts, specify a valid local IP address outside local DHCP scope. To find information on this, you can access the DHCP settings in the router. You may also use your current IP configuration as a reference by using the command of ‘ipconfig/all’ in the command prompt.
- Specify a subnet mask and default gateway address in the general tab.
- You will see a ‘Use the following DNS server address’ and underneath it, a ‘Preferred DNS server’. Enter the IP address of your DNS server here, which in the majority of cases is the IP address of your router.
- Click OK and close the windows after that.
- Now you need to determine your public IP address. Since you are remotely accessing your PC over the internet, you need to be aware of the public IP address of the network and your device.
- To find the IP address assigned to your network by your respective ISP (Internet Service Provider), go to Google and type in the search bar ‘what’s my IP address’. The first result would be your IP address. But as we stated, for general home-based consumers, the IP is dynamic. Hence it is advised to contact your ISP to receive a static IP or use an external service that can provide you a dynamic IP address through their DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) system.
- The next important step is port forwarding that will allow the access of remote connection over the internet. You must forward the TCP port 3389 on the router.
- To do port forwarding, launch the command prompt by searching for it in the search bar on the desktop next to windows button.
- Type ‘ipconfig’ and press enter. You will find the device address under the IPv4 Address field and under the ‘Default Gateway’ field, confirm the device gateway address.
- Open your browser and type the Default Gateway Address in the search bar on top and press enter. Enter your credentials and access the settings.
- You will find Port Forwarding settings in there as well.
- See that the Port Forwarding is enabled and under the options for port forwarding, click on the Add profile button.
- You can create new port forwarding here with the required information. This will include specifying the service name, protocol (TCP), specifying the internal and external port, and internal IP address of the computer you will be connecting to.
- Once you are done, simply click ok or save settings (may vary as per the layout of the interface of the router software).
6. Using a VPN:
Not everyone is comfortable with opening up their PC and all the information on it to a public network. But in they also have the need to be able to access their desktop or PC remotely; an effective and safe alternative would be to use a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is used in case you have sensitive information and need to keep it protected. It is often used by corporations and adds and an extra layer of security and privacy in case you are using a public network.
Using a VPN, you can still access your PC remotely without having it exposed to the public network. Your RD client will assume it to be part of the same network and you will be able to access your PC easily. So basically we can access a PC remotely in two major ways; either with the use of a VPN to keep your connection safe and private or by exposing it to the public network. Either way, it depends upon your needs and feasibility of options available to you.
This almost covers the complete topic of how you can remote access your PC with Windows 10. Although the process for setting up the router may seem difficult at first, you can search on the website for the manufacturer of the router on how to enable or configure the router to allow remote access. The process may vary but the main phenomenon is almost the same. We hope this tutorial to access PC remotely was useful and easy to understand.