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Posted by Richard

How to enable remote access to a PC via RDP

In this article I will explain how to configure a PC at work so that you can access it using Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) from a computer at home. If you need any clarification, or have something to add to the article, please feel free to post a reply to this topic.

I will try to make this article as step by step as I can within the limits of a forum post, but some bits you may need to find out for yourself depending on which operating system and hardware you have.

In this article I talk about clients and hosts. The host is always the PC that you are remoting into, the client is always the computer that you are remoting from. In other words, if you're remoting in from home to work, the client is at home and the host is at work.

What is RDP?

RDP is a remote access protocol, and host and client application, that is built into certain versions Windows. The RDP client (the application you run at home) is built into all versions of Windows from XP onwards, whereas the RDP host facility is only included with Windows Professional versions and not Home versions. So to run an RDP host at work you need to be running a Professional version of Windows and not a Home edition.

Your Internet Connection and RDP

RDP works over a broadband internet connection, you could possibly use it over a dial up connection but it would be horribly slow and not recommended. The speed of your RDP connection will depend on the speed of your broadband connection, and will be most affected by the upload speed of the broadband connection at work, as this will limit the speed at which the host at work can upload data to your client at home.

When you remote to your PC at work, you will need to specify the IP address of your work internet connection. It is best for your work internet connection to have a static IP address, otherwise your internet service provider may give you a different IP address each time your internet connection is initiated. The last thing you want is to get home and try to connect to your host at work only to find its IP address has changed and you have no idea what it has changed to.

Note: that if you don't have a static IP address on your internet connection at work, you can use Dynamic DNS services to register your IP address with an online service, but that is outside the scope of this article. Here's a WIKI about Dynamic DNS in case you're interested.

We recommend that for simplicity and reliability you use a work internet connection that has a static IP address. Many business grade broadband packages offer a free static IP address, and if you go for business grade broadband you may also get a higher upload speed which is good news for RDP.

What you will need:

Here's a summary of the things you will need to setup RDP from home to work.

    At work - a PC or laptop running a professional edition of Windows i.e. XP Professional.
    At work - a broadband internet connection with a static IP address.
    At home - a PC or laptop running any version of Windows from XP onwards.
    At home - a broadband internet connection.

Setting up the host

There are two stages to setting up the host computer at work, first you need to setup the host computer to accept remote connections, and secondly you will need to open up the relevant ports on your work firewall to allow the incoming RDP connection from the internet.

Setting up the host - step 1

For this example we're going to setup a Windows XP Professional host to accept incoming RDP connections.

The following video shows you how to enable RDP on the host computer, and to create a user that is allowed remote access to the host computer.

Note that the above process will be different if you have a domain based network but hopefully it will point you in the right direction. Remember, if in doubt get a qualified IT bloke in to set things up for you  

Setting up the host - step 2

Next step for the host is to publish it to the internet so that you can get at it from home.

This involves allowing the host computer to be accessible to the internet on TCP port 3389. The exact process will vary depending on which firewall you have, but here's a video on how to publish an RDP host through a Netgear DG834 modem router.

As mentioned the procedure for publishing your RDP host will vary depending on your firewall, but what you are aiming to do is allow incoming RDP traffic on TCP port 3389 to be forwarded to the RDP host computer on your work network.

If you get this far, congratulations - you have completed the hard part and now all you need to do is test that you can now RDP to your host computer from home.

Setting up the client

This should be the easy part... In windows on the client computer click the Windows start button and type MSTSC and press enter (Windows Vista or Windows 7). If you're running Windows XP Click Start then Run, and then type MSTSC then press enter.

Alternatively you can browse your start menu for Remote Desktop Connection.

When the Remote Desktop Connection dialogue box appear, enter the public (static) IP address of your work router.

When you click connect, remote desktop will attempt to connect to your RDP host at work.

Enter the username as <HostComputername>\<UserName> and for the password enter the password that you set on the RDP host user account in the first section.

For example if your RDP host computer is named 'COMPUTER1' and your username is 'Shifty', for your RDP username enter COMPUTER1\Shifty.

Hope that helps you get get up and running with RDP, unfortunately we at Easify can't promise to help with specific configuration questions but feel free to post your comments and questions here and I'm sure the community will do it's best to help you out.

Regards - Richard (Easify Developer)

Posted by John

Re: How to enable remote access to a PC via RDP

For help with Setting up the host - step 2, check out this website.

This site provides tutorials on how to configure port forwarding for certain routers and programmes, very handy  

Happy to help - John (Easify Support)

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