There are times when you have legitimate needs to work from home while using your office resources. You may want a break from the office desk, the work may not fit into the 8 to 5 schedule, or issues such as the COVID-19 crisis may force you to stay at home.
To ensure maximum productivity and minimum disruption in work processes, you will need a secure and reliable way to access your office PC. Fortunately, there are two methods that you can use to connect to your office computer from the comfort of your home:
- A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- The Windows Remote Desktop feature
The two options differ in their setup, capabilities, and complexity; however, they serve the same purpose. They allow you to access everything you need from your work computer to make your time more productive. From task delegation to file and server access, you will have all the resources at your home PC as though you were sitting in front of your PC at work.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process of configuring and using the Remote Desktop on Windows. But before that, let’s explain the feature in a bit more detail.
What is Remote Desktop Protocol?
The Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP is a proprietary protocol that connects PCs over the internet. It can effectively connect your computer’s keyboard, mouse, and screen to the PC at any other place. However, for the connection to be successful, the other PC needs to be on for as long as you are using it.
In times like these, when most business, big or small, are encouraging their workers to work from home, the remote desktop can be a useful tool. It provides them the flexibility to access office resources anytime from anywhere. Other benefits include:
Remote desktop offers the flexibility of using desired workspaces that can significantly boost the productivity of workers. The additional comfort that comes with it can also improve morale and increase revenue in the long run.
A major benefit of remote desktop and the ensuing telework is that employees remain focused on their work regardless of the time and place they are working from.
As per the report by PGi, remote working results in a 69 percent decrease in employee absenteeism. This is because they are equipped with all the resources they need to excel in their work.
The remote desktop feature helps businesses of all types and sizes to connect to clients and coworkers across the world. It facilitates effective communication and collaboration on projects, regardless of distance.
To leverage these benefits and many others, here is how you can configure Windows Remote Desktop on your home and office PCs.
Enable Remote Desktop on the office PC:
Before you can access your office computer from home, you need to sign in to it and turn on the Remote Desktop feature. It can be performed by following these steps:
- Click on the Start icon and go to Settings
- Select System and look for Remote Desktop in the side tab
- Turn on the button next to Enable Remote Desktop and click Confirm to enable it
You will also need to disable Sleep mode on the office PC and make it discoverable on private networks. It is because you can access the system only if it is powered on and discoverable by a remote device. This can be done by ticking both the boxes that appear below the Enable Remote Desktop button. They look something like this:
Configure Network Level Authentication:
You can also restrict users who can access your PC by enabling the Network Level Authentication (NLA). This option requires the users to authenticate themselves to the network before they can access it. If you want to protect your PC from malicious users and programs, you should allow connections only from Remote Desktops with NLA. Here is how to enable it:
- On the Remote Desktop Window, click on Advanced Settings as shown above
- Check the option ‘Require computers to use Network Level Authentication to connect.’
If you are connecting to a PC on the same network, you can leave the box unchecked.
Giving remote access to users:
Any user with an administrative account on the remote computer can sign in remotely. If you don’t have administrative rights and want to access a PC remotely, you need to add your account to the users’ list with remote access privileges. You can do it by going to the User accounts and following these steps:
- Tap on ‘Select users who can remotely access this PC’ at the bottom of the Remote Desktop window
- Select Add and enter the Username of the account in the new window
- Click OK and close the Remote Desktop setting window
Connecting to your office PC from home PC:
After setting up your office PC for remote access, you can now connect your home computer and make it work like the office PC. Here is how to do it.
- Click on the Start icon and go to Windows Accessories
- Launch the Remote Desktop Connection App. Alternatively, you can type it directly into the search box at the start menu
- In the RDC window, enter the remote PC’s name or IP address
- Select Show Options and type the Username that you will use to log in
- Save your credentials and click Connect
- Now type your password and click OK. You can also choose Remember Me option if you don’t want to enter it every time you use your account
- A message window about the identity of the remote PC may appear. Click Yes
You should now be able to use your home PC and run applications, access files, and perform tasks on your office PC. You can check the connection speed and terminate the remote session from the blue connection bar that appears at the top of the screen.
To remain effective at remote working in times like these, you will need access to resources that are often kept at the office. This makes it essential for employees to establish remote connections from their home PCs to computers in the office. Follow these steps to ensure that you have a reliable connection for an uninterrupted workflow.
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