Microsoft XP Professional

Remote Desktop Connection


With Remote Desktop, you get full, secure access to your work computer via an Internet or network connection. For example, you can connect to your office computer from home and work with files, programs, and resources as though you were in front of your computer at work.




To use Remote Desktop, you need the following:


Windows XP Professional installed on your office computer, or whichever computer you plan to operate remotely. This computer is known as the host.

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 (RDC) software installed.  RDC is built into Windows XP Professional, so no need to install it.  If you are using an older version of Windows please see  to download and install the Remote Desktop Communications Client.

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.




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



Open the System folder in Control Panel. Click Start, click Control Panel, click on Performance and Maintenance, and then click the System icon.


On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box, as shown below.


Ensure that you have the proper permissions to connect to your computer remotely, and click OK.



Leave your computer running and connected to the company network with Internet access. Lock your computer, and leave your office.

Enable Remote Desktop


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


The Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service must be set to automatic and started and Terminal Services service set to automatic or manual and started.  To view system services right click on the My Computer icon on the host’s desktop, click on Manage, expand Services and Application, expand Services and review the RPC and Terminal Services settings.  Double click on these services to make setting changes if necessary.


One last piece of information you will need from the host machine is the hostname or ip address.  Should you use Remote desktop via hostname or ip address? 


You can use either method, however using the hostname is recommended.  The hostname of a system does not change automatically.  Most systems at LBNL are configured to obtain their ip address via dhcp in which case the ip address may change over time.  If the host system is configured with a static ip address, the ip address stays the same.



To obtain the hostname of a computer


From the host computer (the machine you will remote to) click on the Start button, click on Run, in the Open box type cmd and click on OK.


A command line window will appear.  At the prompt type hostname and press the enter key.  The hostname of the system will be displayed.



To obtain the ip address of the host computer


From the host computer (the machine you will remote to) click on the Start button, click on Run, in the Open box type cmd and click on OK.


A command line window will appear.  At the prompt type ipconfig and press the enter key.  The ip address of the system will be displayed.







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 remote access service connection from your client computer to your office network, or host computer.


To create a new Remote Desktop Connection


Open Remote Desktop Connection. (Click Start, point to Programs or All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.)


In Computer, type the “” (example if using a dhcp address or “” (example if using a static ip address for your computer running Windows XP Professional that has Remote Desktop enabled and for which you have Remote Desktop permissions.





Click Connect.

The Log On to Windows dialog box appears.


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.













There are many options to change your connection settings, (such as screen size, automatic logon information, and performance options), click Options before you connect.   One example is file sharing. 



Your last Remote Desktop session is saved by default in your “My Docs” directory.


To open a saved connection


In Windows Explorer, open the My Documents\Remote Desktops folder.


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


In the Remote Desktop Connection window, click Start, and then click Shut Down.The Shut Down Windows dialog box appears.


In the drop-down menu, select Log Off <username>, and then click OK.


To end the session without logging out of the host computer


In the Remote Desktop Connection window, click on the X in the upper middle of the  Remote Desktop Window.




You can apply Windows key combinations to your Remote Desktop sessions, or you can use the following Remote Desktop keyboard shortcuts to perform many of the same functions.

Windows Key Combinations for Client Computer

Equivalent Keys for Remote Desktop Session




Displays the Task Manager or Windows Security dialog box. (Only use CTRL+ALT+END to issue this command. CTRL+ALT+DEL is always interpreted by the client computer.)