HomeTechnologyNewsHow to enable remote desktop in Windows 10

How to enable remote desktop in Windows 10

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You can enable Remote Desktop in Windows 10 simply by searching the Start menu for “Remote Desktop Settings” and switching “Enable Remote Desktop” to “On.”

Remote Desktop is disabled by default in Windows, but it’s easy enough to turn on if you want your PC to receive remote control requests from the network. Today we will cover how to enable it from Windows 10 and earlier versions.

Remote Desktop allows you to take remote control over another PC on the network. It consists of a Remote Desktop server service that allows connections to the PC from the network and a Remote Desktop client that makes that connection to a remote PC. The client is included in all editions of Windows: Home, Professional, Enterprise, etc. The server part is only available in the Professional and Enterprise versions. This means you can initiate a Remote Desktop connection from virtually any Windows PC, but you can only connect to PCs running a Pro or Enterprise edition.

Of course, if you’re running a Home edition of Windows on a PC you want to establish a connection to, you can always use a third-party service like TeamViewer or even Chrome.

We’re covering Windows 10 and earlier in this article, but you can also easily enable Remote Desktop connections in Windows 11.

RELATED: How to activate and use remote desktop in Windows 11

How to enable remote desktop connections with Windows 10 settings

To enable Remote Desktop connections, open the Start menu and search for “remote desktop settings” to directly access the Remote Desktop panel from the PC Settings app. You can also open Settings and then search from there, but it’s easier to do it this way.

Start menuSearch remote desktop

Once you are in the Remote Desktop settings panel, you can simply toggle the “Enable Remote Desktop” option from Off to On, which will enable incoming connections from a Remote Desktop client. When you flip the switch, you’ll be asked to verify that you actually intended to do that, and you can simply confirm that you did.

remote desktop setup

Once Remote Desktop connections are enabled, you’ll be presented with multiple options to keep your PC awake or make it discoverable, but you’ll have to click Show settings for each one to get the details.

Remote Desktop Settings Enabled

If you select the Advanced Settings link, you can do other things, such as change the RDP port in Windows 10 or Windows 11, or change whether you’re using Network Level Authentication, but these are generally things only advanced users should do, so you might want to leave them alone.

If you scroll down in the Remote Desktop settings panel, you can click the “Select users who can remotely access this PC” option to choose whether you want specific users to be able to access the PC, but it’s worth it. Note that accounts with Administrator privileges can automatically access the PC, and you’re almost certainly using an administrator account if this is your personal PC.

remote desktop users

You’ll also notice that you can find your PC’s name on this screen, which is useful when connecting from another computer.

How to enable remote desktop connections with control panel

The old-school Control Panel still exists in Windows 10 and you can use it to enable Remote Desktop connections. For many of us, this is the easiest way to get things done.

To enable remote desktop connections with the old Control Panel, use the shortcut key combination WIN + R to open the Run dialog box, and then type sysdm.cpl and press the Enter key.

Run Box Sysdm.cpl

You’ll be presented with the System Properties panel, where you’ll want to switch to the Remote tab on the right. Once you’re there, you can simply select “Allow remote connections to this computer” in the Remote Desktop section, click the Apply button, and you’re good to go.

remote desktop control panel

You can use the “Select Users” button to configure exactly which users have access to connect to this PC, but it’s worth noting that users with administrator access are already enabled by default, so you probably won’t need to worry about this. .

In Windows 8 and 10, the option to only allow connections from PCs running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication is also enabled by default. All modern versions of Windows support this level of authentication, so it’s best to leave it enabled. If you must allow connections from PCs running Windows XP or earlier, you will need to disable this option.

Enable Remote Desktop Connections to Windows 7

If you’re using Windows 7 or Vista, you’ll want to use the WIN + R shortcut key combination to bring up the Run dialog, type sysdm.cpl and press Enter. From there you will select the Remote tab.

Things here work the same as in Windows 10, but are presented in a slightly different way. Note that you have three different options in Windows 7: don’t allow remote access, allow connections from any version of Remote Desktop, and only allow connections running with network level authentication.

On any version of Windows, you can also click the “Select Users” button to set up specific users who can make remote connections. When you’re done configuring things, click the “OK” button to have your PC start listening for remote connections.

If you plan to connect from other PCs on the same local network, that should be all you need to do. Windows automatically creates exceptions in Windows Firewall to allow remote connection traffic through.

How to connect to another PC using remote desktop

You can initiate a remote connection from those computers by clicking Start, typing “remote,” and then choosing the “Remote Desktop Connection” result. Just type the name or IP address of the PC to start the connection.

If you plan to connect to the remote PC over the Internet, you’ll need to do a little extra configuration that involves allowing Remote Desktop traffic through your router and forwarding those types of packets to the correct PC. See our guide to accessing Remote Desktop over the Internet for more information on this.


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