Being able to control your PC remotely is a powerful option available these days through various free software programs. Using this technology, you can look up files on your computer, control the mouse and keyboard and do just about anything as though you were sitting at the actual PC. And, you can do it from any Internet connected device like a phone, tablet or laptop. Many do not realize that this ability is built into Windows with the need for any additional software to install. It has been around since Windows XP and it is called Remote Desktop Connection.
How Does is Work?
There are two sides to a remote connection using Remote Desktop Connection. There is the host side of the connection and the client side. The host side is the computer you are connecting to. There is nothing complicated to install to make it work because it comes with Windows by default. The client side of the connection is the computer you are connecting from. Again, there is nothing special to install because it comes bundled with Windows. There may be some configuration on the host side, however, to give people access to the system.
Host Side of Windows Remote Desktop Connection
The software is already installed on the host to allow remote desktop (RDP) connections. You will need to make some changes, however, to allow others to connect to the system.
To make the necessary changes to the system, you will need to go to the System Properties settings. Once in there, you can click on the Remote Tab and you will see options to allow remote connections. You can get granular with these settings and only allow certain persons to connect to your PC giving you an added layer of security.
Client Side of Windows Remote Desktop
On the other side of the connection is the client. If the client is also using Windows, then they will just need to open up the Remote Desktop Connection software to get going. This can be done several ways. The quickest way is to just type “mstsc” in a Run box. Once the Remote Desktop Connection software is open then they will need to type in the IP address of the host to connect.
If the connection is being made internally on a LAN, then the connection is pretty straight forward. However, if you are trying to connect to a machine across the Internet, then more advanced settings may need to be made if there is a firewall or router in between. Certain ports may need to be opened to allow the traffic. Remote Desktop uses port 3389 by default.
If the client machine is not Windows, there are some third-party RDP clients that can still connect to RDP hosts. Many of these applications are freely available.
As you can see Windows Remote Desktop is a viable way to connect to machines remotely. It is stable and has been around for quite some time. Therefore, it is known and trusted way to connect to machines remotely.