Where is remote desktop in Windows 10? Microsoft Remote Desktop is most frequently used to provide technical support or control a computer remotely. It allows you to get full access to your Windows PC from another Windows, Mac, or Linux computer in order to transfer files, play video games, operate locally-attached peripherals, etc.
But before using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to a remote device, you should enable Remote Desktop first.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to allow remote desktop access to your computer using the Settings app in Windows 10/11 or the more traditional Control Panel.
Where is remote desktop in Windows 10?
Need to access a remote system from your computer or mobile device? Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) tool will let you connect from afar. As long as the remote Windows computer is turned on and set up for a remote connection, you can grab a file, open an application, troubleshoot a problem, or just work remotely.
Through RDC, you can remotely access multiple Windows computers over the same network, whether they’re at home or at your office. If you remotely log into your employer’s network through a VPN or other security gateway, you can use RDC to connect to other PCs in your office or business, assuming your IT department allows it. To start or accept a remote connection, the computer must be running Windows 10 or 11 Pro or Enterprise. Remote Desktop is not supported with Windows 10 or 11 Home edition.
Remote Desktop Connection is built into Windows but also exists as a Universal app in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 and 11. If you want to access and control a computer from a non-Windows device, Microsoft’s RDC app is also available for Mac, iOS, and Android.
Set Up Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection
First, you or someone else must physically sign into the PC you want to remotely access. Enable Remote Desktop on this computer by opening Settings > System > Remote Desktop. Turn on the switch next to Enable Remote Desktop or Remote Desktop. Click Confirm to enable the setting.
In Windows 10, the options to keep your PC awake for connections when plugged in and make your PC discoverable on private networks should both be enabled. To view or modify either option, you have to click the appropriate Show settings link. However, you can leave both options enabled at this point. Instead, click the Advanced Settings link.
Check the box next to Require computers to use Network Level Authentication (NLA) to connect. NLA adds tighter security for remote connections over the same network as users must be authenticated before gaining access to the remote PC.
Assuming you’re connecting to a computer on the same network, you can ignore the External connections section. The section for Remote Desktop port shows the default port to listen for and accept a remote connection.
By default, any user with an admin account on the remote PC can access it. Assuming you’re using a Microsoft Account or a user account for your company to sign into Windows, and your account has administrative rights, your best bet is to simply use that account to sign in remotely.
If you want to grant remote access to a different account, return to the previous screen and click Select users that can remotely access this PC at the bottom of the screen. Click Add and enter the username for that account.
Finally, make note of the name of this computer as you’ll need it to log in remotely. If you wish to change the computer name to something easier to remember, follow these steps. Close the Remote Desktop settings screen when you’re finished.
Windows 11 dispenses with the advanced settings and simply displays the PC name and the option for adding another account that can access the PC. Click the setting for Select who can remotely access this PC if you need to grant a different account remote access capabilities.
Connect to a Remote PC from Windows
Now let’s say you want to connect to this remote PC from your current computer at home. To launch the Remote Desktop Connection tool in Windows 10, click the Start button, scroll down to Windows Accessories, and click the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection.
In Windows 11, click the Start button, go to All Apps, scroll down to and select Windows Tools. From the window, click the shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection.
The process is different for older versions of the OS. In Windows 8.1, press Win key + S to launch the Search tool, then type “windows remote desktop” and click the result. In Windows 7, click the Start button, go to All Programs, open the Accessories folder, and select the Remote Desktop Connection shortcut.
At the RDC window, type the name or IP address of the remote PC in the Computer field. Click the Show Options button and type the username of the account you’ll use to log in. If you wish to save your credentials so you don’t need to enter them each time, check the box next to Allow me to save credentials and click Connect.
You should now connect to the remote computer so you can run applications, work with files, and perform other tasks. At the top of the screen is a blue connection bar with various options. You can pin the bar in place and check the connection speed with the icons on the left side. Those on the right let you minimize the remote window to the taskbar, change the window size, and terminate the remote session.
Use the Remote Desktop App for Windows 10 and 11
As an alternative to the built-in Remote Desktop Connection tool, you can use the Microsoft Remote Desktop app in Windows 10 or 11. Install the app from the Microsoft Store and launch it. Click the Add button and select PCs to set up a connection.
Type the name of the computer to which you want to connect. If you wish to be asked for the username and password each time, leave the User account field as is. Otherwise, click the plus (+) sign next to User account and enter the username and password. You can also add a display name, which will serve as an account nickname. Click Save.
Double-click the icon for the remote PC to connect to it.
At the certificate screen, check the box next to Don’t ask about this certificate again, then click Connect.
You’re now connected to the remote PC. Instead of a blue bar on top of the screen, the Remote Desktop app uses a black panel on the side of the screen.
The magnifier icon at the top zooms in and out, while the ellipsis icon switches between full screen and windowed mode. Click the ellipsis icon and then select Disconnect to end the connection.
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