How to Use Remote Desktop Connection

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is a Microsoft service under the Remote Desktop Services. It is the client component of the Remote Desktop Services. It allows the user to log on to a remote computer (that acts as the server) with the Remote Desktop feature enabled. Earlier versions imported even the appearance of the server, presenting objects and program windows dependent on the theme applied on the server. In more recent versions, if the Desktop Experience component is installed in the server, the server’s components will use the client’s display settings.

Materials Needed:
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Media Center Edition
- remote desktop client installed
- Internet connection
- administrator access
Step 1
First, Remote Desktop has to be enabled to access the server. Begin by making sure that the account to be accessed is password-protected. Using Remote Desktop will make the computer more vulnerable to remote attacks. The feature cannot be activated unless a username and password are required before login.
Step 2
For the Windows XP Operating System releases, users need to go to System Properties. This can be done via pressing the Windows and the Pause Break keys at the same time. It can also be accessed via the Control Panel under the Performance and Maintenance heading. Users can also right click on the My Computer icon and choose Properties from the drop-down list.
Step 3
On System Properties, select the 'Remote' tab. Under the Remote Desktop heading, click on the option to allow others to connect to the computer remotely. Note the full computer name. Click on the 'Apply' button, then the 'OK' button.
Step 4
Windows XP requires users to manually set the exception for Remote Desktop. From the Control Panel, access 'Security Center' then 'Windows Firewall'. Make sure that the no exceptions option on the 'General' tab is unchecked. Go to the 'Exceptions' tab and put a check mark beside Remote Desktop. Click on the 'OK' button.
Step 5
To enable 'Remote Desktop' in Windows Vista, access 'System'. Users can do this by right-clicking on the 'Computer' icon and selecting 'Properties' from the drop-down list. The word system can also be typed in the start menu search box. On the System window, click the 'Remote settings' link located at the left side. This will direct the user to the Remote tab of the System Properties window.
Step 6
Vista offers two options for enabling Remote Desktop. The first allows the server to be accessed by a computer with any version of the same feature. This would allow different Windows Operating System versions to access the server. The second option restricts access only to computers with Network Level Authentication, meaning those that also have a Vista platform. Make the desired selection and note the full computer name. Now, click 'Apply' then 'OK'.
Step 7
Once Remote Desktop is enabled on the server, check if RDC is available on the client. All Windows Vista and Windows XP releases (even the Home Edition) are able to use RDC. Other Windows versions such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 require an additional file in the form of 'msrdpcli.exe'. It can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft homepage. Once the download is completed, launch and install the file.
Step 8
From the list of All Programs, select 'Accessories'. Then, check 'Communications'. Choose the Remote Desktop Connection. The user will be prompted to enter the computer name of the server. Make sure to type it correctly. Click 'Connect' afterwards.
Step 9
If the connection was completed, another dialog box will appear. This time, it will ask for the username and password for the server. Enter the data and click 'OK'. Enter the server and make the changes and processes as required.
Step 10
To end the RDC session, simply click the 'Start' button and choose 'Log Off'.