How-To Use Microsoft Remote Desktop

The pandemic has pushed us into a new era, making us rethink our workflows and forcing us to do things in a new way. Mandatory physical meetings have now become zoom calls while social interactions have taken the form of slack conversations.

Similarly, we also have had to change how we use our machines. Being restricted to our homes, most of us have shifted to using laptops or home PCs instead of company machines. In these cases, softwares like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop have come in handy. There several of screen-sharing and remote-access tools out there, including Teamviewer, AnyDesk, and Microsoft’s own remote-access tool, simply called Microsoft Remote Desktop.

This tool allows you to easily see and control any other PC, allowing you to use your work computer from the comfort of your laptop PC, which is especially useful in a pandemic. Today, we are going to cover a guide on how you can enable Remote Desktop on your PC so it can be controlled by another PC on the same network. (Note: If you want to control a PC over the internet and not a shared network, you will have to manually expose your IP to the internet for Microsoft Remote Desktop to work. Alternatively, you can try tools like Teamviewer which we are going to cover in our next guide).

Setting up Microsoft Remote Desktop on your PC

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Scroll down to find the settings for Remote Desktop in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, switch the option for Enable Remote Desktop to On, as shown in the screenshot below.
  5. Below the switch, you will also see some additional options allowing you to configure how you want Remote Desktop to work on this pc.

For example, if you want to allow your PC to stay awake when it is plugged in so you can connect to it anytime, then check the first box. Usually, you would want this to be checked as the alternative will require you to physically wake this PC, which would defeat the purpose of controlling it remotely.

Once you have configured it, note down the name of your PC visible over here. You are going to need this when trying to connect to this PC.

Now, your PC is active and can be accessed using the Microsoft Remote Desktop on any other PC (or Mac). Just download it for your Windows or Mac machine and open it.

  1. Open Microsoft Remote Desktop.
  2. Click on the icon.
  3. Enter the name of your PC.
  4. Click on Add.
  5. Click on your added PC and enter the username and password for login.

That’s it. You can now control and use this PC remotely.