Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop, as just about everything Micro$oft does, is the crudest and hardest way to accomplish a task. Just to make your troubleshooting less insane if it does not work with your setup, here are a few things that have to be enabled for it to work. This applies mainly to trying to set it up for a remote, and not in-house, operation.

Computer you are connecting FROM:

If you are attempting to connect from Windows XP to Windows Vista / 7, then you need to update Remote Desktop to version 7.

RDP must be allowed in the Windows Firewall. Read the note below on how to enable RDP in Windows XP. Vista and Win 7 do not appear to need additional or explicit enabling in the Firewall other than turning it ON in My Computer>System Properties>Remote>Remote Desktop

To connect to a computer, enter its public IP under "Computer:". Don't worry if it says that "User name: None specified". This just means that the username and password will be asked from you if a connection is established. Alternatively, and I recommend this, you can go to "Options" beforehand, and enter all of the settings, such as User name, Local Resources, Experience, etc settings.

If you are entering your username in Options, then enter it as computername\username.


Router (or gateway) of the network FROM which you are connecting:

Port 3389 must be forwarded to the static IP of the computer you will be connecting FROM.


Router (or gateway) of the network TO which you are connecting:

Port 3389 must be forwarded to the static IP of the computer you will be connecting TO.


Computer you are connecting TO:

You can connect only to the following Windows editions: All editions of Windows XP except Windows XP Home Edition, Windows Server 2003, Windows Home Server, Windows Vista (Ultimate, Enterprise and Business editions), Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 (Professional and above).

Sleep or hibernation have to be turned OFF unless you will be using remote wakeup network bit.

The account you will be connecting to must have a password.

RDP must be allowed in My Computer>System Properties>Remote>Remote Desktop, as well as in Windows Firewall.

As a preventive measure, on the Remote tab, click the "Select Users..." button, and add the username you want to connect to manually to the list of usernames, even if it says "username already has access.".


What is a public IP address?

You can find out what your public IP is online, for a website such as This IP is dynamic, however, which means that it changes. For most people, the IP changes if there is a power loss to the modem, it is rebooted, or a certain amount of time passes. What you need to do is to register with a DNS provider, which will enable a program running on your computer to periodically detect the public IP of the computer, and map that IP to a domain name, which will remain the same. One of the DNS providers for Remote Desktop purposes is, as well as a number of others. Do not forget to install a client to update the IP address automatically. No-IP provides a client to update your DNS with your dynamic IP.



Do not try to enter your "full computer name" as anything but just the public IP address. Do not append the name of your computer to the IP, but append that information to the username (by typing in computername\username for the User name:).

This is an arsenine stupidity that only Micro$oft can do: do NOT type in leading zeroes for any of the IP fields. For example, if your public IP is XXX.8.XXX.XXX, DO NOT type it in as XXX.008.XXX.XXX. Remote Desktop WILL NOT connect if you add in leading zeroes!!!

If you cannot connect, the IP address may be blocked by any third-party antivirus / anti-malware / or custom firewalls.

I have found that Remote Desktop over a Windows XP machine requires that both the client and server (computers FROM and TO) must have the same workgroup name.


Before you travel:

Leave the computer ON. All computer should be powered by an Uninterruptible Power Supply, because most computers are set to remain OFF is power to the computer is lost. You can change this setting to Restart on Power Loss.

Print out this complete article.

Create a new power profile which disables sleep and hibernation (or hybrid sleep).

Enable Remote Administration of your modem (gateway), and turn of the time limit (remember to turn this OFF when you get back home). Write down its Remote Administration port, username, and password. Type this in your browser to connect to your home modem:

where xxx is your public IP.

TEST the connection by either using a second laptop over a neighbor's open Wi-Fi to attempt to connect, or by calling a friend over the phone, and having them try to connect to your computer.

As a fall-back option, also install other Remote Access programs, such as TeamViewer, UltraVNC, and TightVNC.

If someone stays home, show them how to turn the computer ON if you call them to do so.


Remote Desktop for Windows XP, and other ancillary information:

Computer that you are trying to connect to:

1) Might need to insert Windoza setup CD to setup remote desktop permissions for Windoza firewall (Service Pack 2).
2) Static IP for port routing. Open remote desktop port in Windoza firewall, any physical routers that you have, and/or the firewall in your modem/router that connects you to the Internet. is very useful for such information.
3) Right click the computer icon on the desktop>Properties>Remote Desktop enabled. Also, check that the msconfig process has not been turned off as well.
4) The account you will be connecting to must have a password
5) You will need a dynamic DNS service configured
6) Power must be on on the computer you are connecting to. This is far from trivial: it is very likely if you computer sits in a trafficked area that someone will turn it off after working on it or just because it makes too much noise or shows too many (blinking) lights.

The computer you are connecting from might also need to have the ports opened in firewalls as well. For basic troubleshooting, try to connect within your home network at first. If it works, then it is either the DNS service or the unopened ports that do not work. Or you might try something simpler than Remote Desktop for similar functionality.



Even over a 100Mbps home network, it is not possible to watch video or play games over Remote Desktop (or launch any full-screen programs), because RDP installs a "software" video driver, and disables your graphics card. You may see decreased performance of things such as font and graphics rendering because of this.



Print and fill this out:

Computer you will be connecting to:

Computer static DNS name (if set up): _________________

Computer public (or external) dynamic IP: ___.___.___.___

Computer name: ________________

Username: _____________________

Password: ______________________

Workgroup name: _________________

Router Remote Administration:

Username: _______________________

Password: ________________________

Remote administration port: __________

Just in case information:

Address of the helpful website which provided this information:

Username ________________ and password ________________ for the DNS provider account (optional, if set up).


Keywords: access home gateway remotely, how to get full computer name for remote desktop connection (remotely over network)

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Page last modified 06-Jan-13 20:38:00 EST

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