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Setup Remote Desktop using Windows XP Professional

Getting Started Using Remote Desktop

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With the Remote Desktop feature in Windows® XP Professional, you can remotely control your computer from another office, from home, or while traveling. This allows you to use the data, applications, and network resources that are on your office computer, without being in your office.
To use Remote Desktop, you need the following:

  1. Windows XP Professional installed on your office computer, or whichever computer you plan to operate remotely. This computer is known as the host.
  2. A remote computer running Windows 95 or a more recent version of Windows. This computer is known as the client and it must have the Remote Desktop Connection client software installed.
  3. A connection to the Internet. A broadband Internet connection improves performance, but it is not necessary because Remote Desktop transfers only the minimal data (such as display data and keyboard data) to remotely control your host computer. Therefore, even low–bandwidth Internet connections allow you to remotely control your office computer.  

This how-to article assumes your office computer is part of a corporate network in which Remote Desktop connections are permitted. If you are unsure, ask your system administrator.

Set Up Your Computer for Remote Desktop

Enable Your Computer as the Host You must first enable the Remote Desktop feature on your office computer so that you can control it remotely from another computer. You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group to enable Remote Desktop on your Windows XP Professional-based computer.
To setup your office computer to use Remote Desktop

  1. Open the System folder in Control Panel. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click the System icon.
  2. On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box, as shown below.
  3. Ensure that you have the proper permissions to connect to your computer remotely, and click OK.
  4. Leave your computer running and connected to the company network with Internet access. Lock your computer, and leave your office.

Note If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and you enable Remote Desktop, Windows Firewall will be automatically configured to allow Remote Desktop connections to your computer. However, Remote Desktop will not work if you have Windows Firewall configured to allow no exceptions. To allow exceptions in Windows Firewall, in the control panel open the Security Center, click Windows Firewall and clear the check box next to Don't allow exceptions.

Install Remote Desktop Communications Client

Install the Client Software

The Remote Desktop Connection client software allows a computer running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 to control your Windows XP Professional computer remotely. The client software is available on the installation CD for Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition. The client software is installed by default on computers running Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition.

To install Remote Desktop Connection software on a client computer

  1. Insert the Windows XP compact disc into your CD-ROM drive.
  2. When the Welcome page appears, click Perform additional tasks, and then click Setup Remote Desktop Connection as shown below.
  3. When the installation wizard starts, follow the directions that appear on your screen.

Start a Remote Desktop Session

Start a Session Once you have enabled your Windows XP Professional computer to allow remote connections, and installed client software on a Windows-based client computer, you are ready to start a Remote Desktop session. You must first establish a virtual private network connection or remote access service connection from your client computer to your office network, or host computer.

To create a new Remote Desktop Connection

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection. (Click Start, point to Programs or All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.)
  2. In Computer, type the computer name for your computer running Windows XP Professional that has Remote Desktop enabled and for which you have Remote Desktop permissions.
  3. Click Connect. The Log On to Windows dialog box appears.
  4. In the Log On to Windows dialog box, type your user name, password, and domain (if required), and then click OK. The Remote Desktop window will open and you will see the desktop settings, files, and programs that are on your office computer. Your office computer will remain locked. Nobody will be able to work at your office computer without a password, nor will anyone see the work you are doing on your office computer remotely.

Note To change your connection settings, (such as screen size, automatic logon information, and performance options), click Options before you connect.

To open a saved connection

  1. In Windows Explorer, open the My Documents\Remote Desktops folder.
  2. Click the .Rdp file for the connection you want to open.

Note A Remote Desktop file (.rdp) file contains all of the information for a connection to a remote computer, including the Options settings that were configured when the file was saved. You can customize any number of .rdp files, including files for connecting to the same computer with different settings. For example, you can save a file that connects to MyComputer in full screen mode and another file that connects to the same computer in 800x600 screen size. By default, .rdp files are saved in the My Documents\Remote Desktops folder.

To edit an .rdp file and change the connections settings it contains, right-click the file and then click Edit.

To log off and end the session

  1. In the Remote Desktop Connection window, click Start, and then click Shut Down.The Shut Down Windows dialog box appears.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Log Off <username>, and then click OK.

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