Enable Remote Desktop in Microsoft Windows 8

Remote Desktop is a feature that was introduced with the release of Microsoft Windows 2000 but was not much recognized and used by the administrators in most corporate environments. The reason behind this attitude towards the feature was its limitations and the additional administrative overhead that was required to install the Remote Desktop client program, before it could be used to establish Remote Desktop connections.

When Microsoft Windows XP was released, the Remote Desktop feature reappeared in the operating system with enhanced features. The best thing about the Remote Desktop in Microsoft Windows XP was that the feature was pre-installed and the administrators were not required to install the Remote Desktop client separately. However the feature was still required to be enabled before administrators could establish the remote desktop sessions to the remote computers.

Remote Desktop feature is still in use and is integrated in all Microsoft-based operating systems. The feature is pre-installed in the operating systems to decrease the administrative overheads.

Technical Characteristics and Specifications of Remote Desktop Feature

Remote Desktop uses the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to establish a remote desktop connection. The feature uses port TCP 3389 which must be opened on the remote computer and if the destination computer is protected by a firewall, the firewall must be configured to allow communication through TCP 3389 port.

In Microsoft Windows XP, it was quite simple to enable Remote Desktop as the process required only a radio button to be selected in order to enable the feature. On the other hand, in Microsoft Windows Vista and above operating systems, the interface allows administrators to enable Remote Desktop feature according to the different network scenarios. For the Remote Desktop feature, the network setups may fall into two categories:

  • Less Secure – This category of network setup involves computers running legacy versions of Windows-based operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows XP or earlier.
  • More Secure – This category of network setup involves computers running Microsoft Windows Vista or above operating systems only.

In Microsoft Windows 8, depending on the type of network setup an organization may have, administrators can choose any of the two available options while enabling the Remote Desktop feature.

How to Enable Remote Desktop Feature in Microsoft Windows 8?

In order to enable Remote Desktop feature in Microsoft Windows 8, the steps given below must be followed:

  1. Log on to Windows 8 computer with administrator account.
  2. On the Start window, click the Desktop icon.
  3. On the desktop screen, click the Windows Explorer icon from the taskbar.
  4. On the opened Libraries window, from the navigation pane in the left, right-click Computer.
  5. From the displayed context menu, click Properties.
  6. On the opened System window, from the left bar, click Remote settings.
  7. On the opened System Properties box, make sure that the Remote tab is selected.
  8. Under the Remote Desktop section, click to select Allow remote connections to this computer radio button to enable the Remote Desktop feature on the computer. Optionally, Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended) checkbox can also be checked if the network scenario has computers running only Microsoft Windows Vista and above operating system.
  9. Click OK to save the changes.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.