How to Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 10

How to Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 10

/ Shayne Sherman

Remote Desktop allows you to work on your desktop even when you are not in front of that specific computer. It is great for those who want to work at home as well as in the office. It also gives you access to all the resources you would have at the office from more mobile surroundings.

If you are a college educator and want to use all the resources of the University in a setting without student interruptions, Remote Desktop is a great resource. Or say you need to work collaboratively as a team with others on a project, by allowing access to all the members of the team, you can get the work done anywhere you want.

The downside to enabling remote desktop is that it can give other users access to your files and network when you do not want them to have it. If you give a team of people access to your computer, they will be able to access every file, not just the ones on which you are collaborating.

Remote Desktop is more secure against outside attacks now than when it was first developed because it initially allowed remote man-in-the-middle data attacks. Even with the added layers of protection using Administrator access remotely is still not recommended.

You will be able to access the Remote Desktop enabled computer using any Android, Windows, or iOS device, but the connection will not work both ways. You also cannot enable Remote Desktop on a Windows 10 Home version computer because the feature is permanently disabled.

You can still use your Windows 10 Home computer to access another computer with an Ultimate, Pro or Enterprise version of Windows as long as you have enabled Remote Desktop on the computer you are accessing.

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What Precautions Should You Take When You Enable Remote Desktop?

Although many of the Remote Desktop vulnerabilities were fixed, you should still take some precautions if you are using it.

  • ​Make sure your software is updated.
  • ​Do not use third-party remote access software or management tools.
  • ​All accounts accessing Remote Desktop should be protected with strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
  • Use both hardware and software firewalls and a VPN.
  • Use Network Level Authentication (NLA).
  • Limit the number of users that can use Remote Desktop and limit your Administrator accounts from using it.
  • Set up account lockout if the incorrect password is guessed too many times.
  • ​Do not use the default listening port.
  • Use an RDP Gateway server

Step 1: Enable Remote Access

Method 1: Using Windows Settings

This has to be done from a computer with a version of Windows that is compatible with running Remote Access.

Step #1

Open the Start Menu and click on the Settings icon (or type Settings into the Search bar and click on that option),


Step #2

Click on “System.”


Step #3

Now scroll down on the left side of the window until you find “Remote Desktop” and select that. Then move the switch to “On” underneath “Enable Remote Desktop” on the right.

You want to make sure “Keep my PC awake for connections when it is plugged in is selected,” or you will need to adjust your power options settings. You will not be able to access a computer that is in Sleep or Hibernate mode. You also need to write down the name of the PC (you will find it under “How to connect to this PC”).

remote desktop

Step #4

You will be asked to confirm your choice. Click “Confirm.” If you later want to disable Remote Desktop on this computer, follow the instructions above and move the switch to “Off” under “Enable Remote Desktop.”

Method #2: Using Sysdm.cpl

The above method is best because you can note the name of the computer. You will need this name to connect. However, the above method will not tell you if you need to adjust your power settings automatically. This method will let you know if your power settings are not compatible with Remote Desktop.

Step #1

Type sysdm.cpl into the Start Menu and select the “sysdm.cpl Control panel item.”


Step #2

Click on the “Remote” tab. Make sure there is a mark next to “Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer.” Then click “Apply” and “OK.” You may need to change your sleep settings, so your computer never sleeps. If this is the case, there will be a dialog box that opens telling you to go to Power Options and change that setting.

Allow Remote Assistance connections

Once you have enabled Remote Desktop on the computer with which you want to connect, you can then connect your devices to it so you can work wherever you are.

Step 2. Connecting With Your Devices

There are two different methods you can use to connect depending on your device.

Connecting a Windows 10 PC:

Even the Windows 10 Home edition has preloaded software that enables it to connect with a computer that has Remote Desktop enabled.

Step #1

Type “Remote Desktop Connection” into the Start menu, and select that option.

remote desktop connection

Step #2

In the window that appears, type the name of the PC that you noted when you enabled Remote Desktop using the first method above. Then select “Connect.”

connect remote desktop

Connecting a Windows Mobile, iOS, or Andriod Device:

If you are trying to connect with any other device, you will need to follow these steps:

Step #1

Download the Remote Desktop app for free from the Microsoft Store, Google Play, or the Mac or iOS App Store.

Click on the app to open it once it is installed. You may have to search for it by typing “Remote” into the search feature on your device.

Step #2

Each of the apps may appear slightly different depending on your device. All of them should have a “+” button you can click on at the top so that you can add a connection. Click on that.

add or new connection

Step #3

To add the Remote Desktop, you will see a screen with a lot of information and options available. The only items you must fill out are the PC name (which you found under “How to connect to this PC” when you were enabling the Remote Desktop), your Username (the name you need to access the Remote Desktop).

All the other information is helpful but optional.

add remoe desktop

Step #4

When you are finished setting up the connection in the app, close the setup screen (the red button at the top of the screen in the example above does this). As soon as it is closed, you will see the Remote Desktop on the main screen. Double click the connection.

In some cases, you might see a warning about the certificate. To access the desktop, you will need to “Continue,” or you can “Show Certificate” and choose to “Always trust” it when you are connecting to a trusted server.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.