Remote Desktop Connections can be used to connect with and access several computers from a single desktop. This is useful for those who have to travel away from their PC. Machines with Windows XP Pro Installed can be accessed from any other computer in the world running Windows, using Remote Desktop Connection. There are a few steps to follow in obtaining this unique feature, to ensure smooth running, and the maintenance of your computer’s security.
You will need
- Computers with Windows Operating System
- Set up a complex password from the Users’ section of the Control Panel. Remote desktop relies on Windows XP passwords for login. If you don’t have a password configured for your account, or if it is simple, create a complex one. At minimum it should be 10-12 characters long, with a combination of numbers, letters and special characters.
- Enable Remote Desktop on the machine you want to connect to by right clicking the My Computer icon in the Start Menu and choosing System Properties; click the remote tab in System Properties and check the box next to Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.
- Verify Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is working by connecting from any other computer on your local network.
Configuring the router
- Change the factory default password of your router if you have not already done so. A strong password of 10-16 characters is advised.
- Configure your router to allow inbound connections to Remote Desktop on your local computer. This requires mapping a port on your router to a port on your local computer. The process of forwarding a port varies depending on the router’s make, but generally the steps are the same. Linksys refers to the port forwarding page as Applications and Gaming, while most other routers refer to port forwarding options as Virtual Servers.
- To forward a router port configure the following details:
- Application or Description field: RDC
- Port Range Start: 3389
- Port Range End: 3389
- Protocol Type: Both (or TCP if both is not available as an option).
- IP Address of your PC: Type ipconfig at the command line if you don’t know this.
- Enable: Check a box to enable the port forward.
Changing the Remote Desktop Listening Port
- For added security, change the default port RDC listens from on the host computer. This prevents detection by anyone doing a routine scan for RDC and is also convenient if you want to connect to more than one RDC computers remotely.
- To change the listening port, modify the Windows Registry by locating the appropriate Registry key using Regedit.exe:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESSystemCurrentControlSetControlTerminalServerWinStationRDP-TcpPortNumber
- From the edit menu, click Modify > Decimal. Choose a new port number between 49152 and 65535 to avoid conflict with any other applications on your system.
- Once the port number is set, configure your router to pass the specified port to your computer.
- To access your computer remotely, instead of typing just the IP address, type the IP address followed by the port number like this: 188.8.131.52:50001
Testing the connection
- You must leave home before testing the connection. Know the IP address provided by your ISP to make the connection. Visit an area with WiFi to test the connection. Launch the Remote Desktop Connection client from Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications.
- Enter home IP address and if all was done correctly you will see the Windows Login screen.
- Ensure you read and fully understand the process before attempting to set it up. Otherwise, you may make an error that can cost you the security of your computer and its files.
- Take special care with passwords, as it is important if you want your computer to stay without breach.