Windows 10 remote desktop setup Source: Windows Central

On Windows 10, the Remote Desktop app is the new remote access experience available through the Microsoft Store, which has been designed to make it easier for anyone to connect and control another computer over the local network or internet when you need to work remotely from home.

However, depending on how you need to connect, the new modern app is only a piece of the puzzle, as you must also configure additional settings and forward the correct ports on the router to successfully connect to other Windows 10 devices remotely.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to configure your computer and network to allow remote connections, and the steps to use the Remote Desktop app to start a remote session.

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How to allow remote connections on Windows 10

Using the Remote Desktop app is straightforward, but the entire setup that you need will depend on whether you're trying to initiate a remote connection in the local network or through the internet.

Enable remote connections on PC

If you're trying to start a remote connection inside a local network, you only need to make sure the device that you're trying to access is configured to allow remote desktop connections.

Important: The "Home" edition of Windows 10 doesn't include support for remote desktop. You can only enable this feature on Windows 10 Pro and business variants of the OS.

To enable remote connections on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on System and Security.
  3. Click on System.

    Control Panel System and SecuritySource: Windows Central

  4. Click the Advanced system settings option from the left pane.

    Advanced system settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Remote tab.
  6. Under the "Remote Desktop" section, check the Allow remote connections to this computer option.

    Windows 10 Allow Remote Connection to this Computer option Source: Windows Central

  7. Check the Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication option.
  8. Click the OK button.
  9. Click the Apply button.
  10. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the computer will allow remote desktop connections, and Windows 10 will even add the necessary rules in the built-in firewall. (If you have a third-party firewall, you may need to configure it manually to allow connections.)

If you're setting up a remote desktop using an internet connection, you can continue with the steps below. If you're trying to connect to another device within the local network, you can skip to the steps below, and continue with the start a remote desktop connection instructions.

Enable remote connections on router

If you have to access your device remotely over the internet, in addition to configuring the system properties, you'll need to set up the local router to allow remote connections to past through. Also, you will need to know your public IP address to contact the remote computer over the internet.

Configuring static IP address on Windows 10

Usually, computers inside a private network are assigned dynamic IP addresses, which means that they can change at any time. If you'll be using remote desktop regularly, it's recommended to configure your computer with a static IP address, so you don't have to reconfigure the port forwarding settings on the router every time the device receives a new address.

To set a permanent IP address to your computer, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.
  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

    Network and Sharing Center Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Change adapter settings option from the left pane.

    Windows 10 Change adapter settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Right-click the adapter connected to the network and select the Properties option.

    Network ConnectionsSource: Windows Central

  6. Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.
  7. Click the Properties button.

    Network adapter IPv4 properties optionSource: Windows Central

  8. Click the General tab.
  9. Select the Use the following IP address option.
  10. Specify a valid local IP address outside the local DHCP scope to prevent address conflicts. For example, 10.1.2..

    Quick tip: You'll find this information inside the DHCP settings section on your router. Usually, routers have different interfaces, which means that you'll need to consult your manufacturer website for more specific details. If you're not sure the configuration you have to use, you can use your current TCP/IP configuration as a reference, which you can find using the ipconfig /all command in Command Prompt.

  11. Specify a subnet mask for the network. In most home networks, the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0.
  12. Specify the default gateway address, which is the IP address of the router. For example, 10.1.2.1.

    Windows 10 static IP configurationSource: Windows Central

  13. Under the "Use the following DNS server addresses" section, in the "Preferred DNS server" field, specify the IP address of your DNS server, which in most cases is the IP address of your router.

    Quick tip: If you can't connect to the internet, you may want to try using Google Public DNS addresses 8.8.4.4 and 8.8.8.8 for the "Preferred DNS server" and "Alternate DNS server" respectively.

  14. Click the OK button.
  15. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, the new network configuration will apply, and the IP settings won't change over time.

Determine public IP address

When you're trying to access a computer remotely over the internet, you'll also need to know the public IP address of the network that includes the device.

To find the IP address of your connection assigned by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), use these steps:

  1. Open any web browser.
  2. Visit Bing.com or** Google.com**.
  3. Search for "What's my IP".
  4. Confirm your public IP address in the first result.

    What's my IP online searchSource: Windows Central

Usually, for residential consumers, internet providers offer dynamic public IP addresses, which means that your public IP address may change from time to time.

If you need a more reliable solution, there are services out there offering Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) services, such as No-IP and DynDNS, which can track your public IP changes. Alternatively, you can contact your ISP to receive a static IP address (usually) for an additional fee.

Forward port on router

As part of the remote access setup process, you must forward the TCP port 3389 on the router to allow a remote connection over the internet to a computer inside the local network.

Important: The experience and settings available on a router are pretty much different depending on the model and brand. However, you can use the following steps as a reference guide to configuring your router. If you need more specific details, you need to check your manufacturer support website.

To forward a port on your router, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Type the following command to view the current TCP/IP configuration and press Enter:

    ipconfig

  4. Under the "IPv4 Address" field, confirm the device address. For example, 10.1.2..
  5. Under the "Default Gateway" field, confirm the device gateway address, which is the router address. For example, 10.1.2.1.

    Windows 10 ipconfig commandSource: Windows Central

  6. Open a web browser.
  7. Type the IP address of the router (Default Gateway) in the address bar and press Enter.
  8. Sign in to the router using the correct username and password.

    Quick tip: If you have never done this and you're using the ISP device, then the information can usually be found on a sticker attached to the router/modem.

  9. Locate the Port Forwarding settings.
  10. Confirm that the Port Forwarding service is enabled (if applicable).
  11. Under the port forwarding list, click (in this case) the Add profile button.

    Router enable port forwardingSource: Windows Central

  12. Create a new port forward with the required information. For example:

    • Service name: Specify the reference name for the service. For instance, OfficePC Remote (optional).
    • Protocol: TCP.
    • External Port: 3389.
    • Internal Port: 3389.
    • Internal IP Address: Specify the IP address of the computer you're connecting. For instance, **10.1.2.201

    Router open port 3389 for remote desktop connectionsSource: Windows Central

  13. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the settings will save, and the port will open, allowing remote desktop connections through the internet.

How to establish remote desktop connection on Windows 10

After properly setting up the computer and router, you can initiate a remote connection using the Remote Desktop app on Windows 10.

To connect to a computer remotely, use these steps:

  1. Open Remote Desktop app.

    Quick note: If you don't have the modern version of the Remote Desktop on your device, then you'll need to get it from the Microsoft Store by clicking the Get or Install button.

  2. Click the + Add button in the top right.
  3. Click the Desktop option.

    Windows 10 add new remote desktop connectionSource: Windows Central

  4. Under the "PC name" section, specify the TCP/IP address of the computer that you're trying to reach:

    • If the device is inside a private network, then enter the local IP address of the computer that you're trying to connect.
    • If the device is in a the remote network (via internet), then enter the public IP address of the computer that you're trying to connect.

    Windows 10 remote desktop configurationSource: Windows Central

  5. Under the "User account" section, click the + button on the right side.
  6. Specify the account information to sign in to the remote computer:

    • If the remote device is using a Microsoft account, then enter that Microsoft account sign-in information.
    • If the remote device is using a local account, then enter the local username and password to sign-in.
  7. (Optional) Under the "Display name" section, specify the name of the account settings.
  8. Click the Save button.

    Windows 10 remote desktop account informationSource: Windows Central

  9. (Optional) Under the "Display name" section, specify the name of the connection.
  10. Click the Show more option.

    Remote desktop additional settingsSource: Windows Central

  11. (Optional) Select additional settings as necessary.
  12. Click the Save button.
  13. Under the "Saved Desktops" section, click the computer you want to connect remotely.

    Windows 10 start remote desktop connectionSource: Windows Central

  14. Check the Don't ask about this certificate again option (if applicable).
  15. Click the Connect button.

After you complete the steps, if everything was configured correctly, then you should now be able to interact with the computer remotely.

Adjusting app and connection settings

The Remote Desktop app also allows you to customize various settings.

Changing general settings

The Remote Desktop app also comes with a settings page to change some configurations options or correct account settings:

  1. Open Remote Desktop app.
  2. Click the Settings button in the top-right.
  3. Select the user account from the list.
  4. Click the edit (pen) button to adjust the settings.

    Remote desktop app settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Save button.

    Remote desktop app edit account settingsSource: Windows Central

Alongside editing the user account for a remote connection, using this page, you can also create groups, decide whether or not the remote connection should start in full screen, or start each connection in a new window, and more.

Changing connection settings

To edit the settings of a remote connection, use the steps:

  1. Open Remote Desktop app.
  2. Click the menu (three-dotted) button and select the Edit option.

    Remote desktop change connection settingsSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: Using the context menu, you can also delete or pin the connection to the Start menu.

  3. Change the computer name, account, and settings as necessary.

    Remote desktop edit remote access settingsSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the settings will save and apply automatically.

How to troubleshoot remote desktop connection on Windows 10

Usually, after configuring the Remote Desktop app, you should be able to connect remotely to another computer without issues. However, if you can't connect, you may need to follow some troubleshooting steps to fix the connection problem.

Confirm firewall settings

When enabling remote desktop on Windows 10, the Windows Firewall also configures the required ports automatically, but it may not always be the case. If you can't connect to a device remotely, you have to make sure that the firewall is allowing the Remote Desktop service using these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security app.
  2. Click on Firewall & network protection.
  3. Click the Allow an app through firewall option.

    Windows Security allow app through firewall optionSource: Windows Central

  4. Click the Change settings button.
  5. Check the Remote Desktop option and check the options for Private and Public.

    Windows Firewall allow remote desktop in network and internetSource: Windows Central

  6. Click the OK button.

If you're using a third-party firewall or antivirus, you may want to disable these applications to see if you can connect. (See developer support website for more specific details.)

Unblock remote connection port

It's unlikely, but if you're trying to connect over the internet, it's possible that your internet provider may be blocking the port to allow remote desktop for security reasons. If this is the case, you may want to contact them directly to see how you can open the specified port.

Use IP address rather than PC name

When setting up remote desktop connections, it's recommended to use an IP address rather than the computer name, as it could cause problems if not configured correctly.

Also, if you're adding a new device to the list to Remote Desktop, make sure to enter the correct IP address (as shown in the above steps). For example, use the local IP address to connect inside a private network, or use the public IP address to communicate over the internet.

Confirm remote desktop service

It's also possible that you may not be able to connect because the required services are not running.

To determine if the remote desktop service is running, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Services and click top result open the app.
  3. Select the Remote Desktop Service and check the "Status" column reads Running.
  4. If it's not running, right-click the service and select the Start option.

    Windows 10 start remote desktop sevicesSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, you should be able to connect to establishing a remote session.

Switch to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)

Although Windows 10 can use both networking stacks, including IPv4 and IPv6, sometimes, the OS will prefer the IP version 6, which may cause problems with the remote desktop protocol (RDP).

To use IPv4 by default on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.
  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

    Network and Sharing Center Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Change adapter settings option from the left pane.

    Windows 10 Change adapter settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Right-click the adapter connected to the network and select the Properties option.

    Network ConnectionsSource: Windows Central

  6. Clear the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) option.

    Windows 10 disable IPv6 protocolSource: Windows Central

  7. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, restart the device, and you should now be able to connect using a remote connection.

In this guide, we outlined the necessary steps to successfully connect to your PC remotely inside a private network and through the internet. However, it's important to remember that allowing remote desktop connections (in particular through the internet) could be a security risk.

You should always be aware that configuring the remote desktop and opening ports on your router could allow malicious individuals to get unauthorized access to your device. Use this guide with caution, and always use strong passwords, and disable the remote desktop service and remove the port forwarding setting on your router when they aren't needed.

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