Turn on Remote Desktop in Windows 7, 8, 10, or Vista

By Lowell Heddings on January 13th, 2015

Remote Desktop is disabled by default in Windows, but it’s easy enough to turn it back on. If you need to access your Windows PC from another box, it’s an essential thing to turn on.

This should work for the Professional versions of Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, or Vista.

Important note: Remote desktop is only included in the Professional, Business, or Ultimate versions of Windows. Home editions do not have remote desktop.

Getting to the Remote Desktop Settings in Windows 8, 8.1, or 10

If you are using Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 you will need to open the desktop Control Panel and find the System panel there. Or you can search for “Remote Access” in the Start Menu or Start Screen.

Once you search, click on the “Allow remote access to your computer” item. It’ll look a little different in Windows 8, but it’s roughly the same thing.

Windows_10

And now you can select “Allow remote connections to this computer” from the Remote tab.

Windows_10

You can also choose which users can connect, or whether older versions of Windows can connect.

Getting to the Remote Desktop Settings in Windows 7 or Vista

To get to the configuration page, you can either right-click the Computer icon and choose properties, or you can type in system into the start menu search box, and then find the entry for System.

Now you’ll want to click the Remote Settings link on the left hand side. Again, if you are using Windows 8, this is the screen that you’ll want to find – or you can search for Remote settings.

Now you can finally turn it on:

To connect from another Vista / Win7 PC on the same network, click the bottom radio button. If you need to connect from an XP/2k machine, click the “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop” radio button.

Don’t worry about setting up firewall rules, Vista or Windows 7 does that for you automatically.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/13/15
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