Make a Remote Connection with Windows Vista

Remote Desktop Connection is a technology that allows you to connect to a second computer and take control of it. This makes it possible for you to connect to your work computer from computers at other locations and have access to all of your files, programs, available networks, and resources, or to connect to a friend or family member’s computer to do some troubleshooting when they are having problems.

Windows Vista comes with the Remote Desktop Connection installed, so you don’t have to buy or install any special software.

To make a connection, you must first enable Remote Desktop Connection on the remote computer (the one you want to connect to.)

If the computer you are connecting to is running Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Log on as administrator.
  2. Click the Start Orb, Control Panel, System and Maintenance, and then System.
  3. From the Tasks panel on the left, click Remote settings. The System Properties dialog box appears.
  4. Make sure that there is a check in the Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer checkbox at the top of the dialog box.
  5. Click the Select Users… button. A Remote Desktop Users dialog box opens.


  6. To specify which user account(s) will be given access, click the Add button. The Select Users or Groups dialog box appears.


  7. The cursor is blinking in the Enter the object names to select field. Type in the domain name, a back slash, and your user name. For example, you might type domain_name\example_name.
  8. Click the OK button. The Windows Security dialog box opens.
  9. windows_security.jpg
  10. Type in your User name and Password and click the OK button. The new name appears in the box at the top that lists the users who have permission to connect.
  11. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the Remote Desktop Users dialog box. You will see the System Properties dialog box once more. While we are here, let’s take a look at the full name of the remote computer.
  12. To see the full name of the computer, click on the Computer Name tab. Underneath the Computer description field at the top of the dialog box, you will see the text “Full computer name”. Write down the full name of the computer, so that you can remember it later.


  13. Close the dialog box.

Now you should be ready to make the remote connection. To do so, follow these steps from the client computer (the one you are connecting from) that is running Windows Vista:

  1. Click on the Start Orb, All Programs, Accessories, and then Remote Desktop Connection. The Remote Desktop Connection dialog box appears.
  2. Type in the full name of the remote computer (the one that you wrote down earlier). For example, the full name might look something like this:
  3. Click the Options >> button. The dialog box will expand, and you will see more options.


  4. Type your  User name in the User name field and click the Connect button at the bottom of the dialog box. A Windows Security dialog box will appear.
  5. Type in your password and then click the OK button.

A connection will be made, and you will be able to work on the remote computer just as if you were sitting in front of it.

NOTE: You cannot use the Remote Desktop Connection feature to connect to remote computers running Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, or computers running Windows XP (but any edition of Windows Vista can be running on your client computer).

In addition, the remote computer must have an always-on Internet connection for this process to work, and you cannot connect to a computer that is sleeping or hibernating, so settings will have to be adjusted accordingly.

Furthermore, if your remote computer is on a network, your settings may be locked so that you cannot change them. If so, you may have to ask your system administrator for assistance.

When you are done working remotely, make sure that you log off completely, so the connection will be shut down. To do so:

  1. Click on the Start Orb at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click on the small white arrow to the right of the Instant Search box
  3. Click Log Off.


  1. Grampy

    I have 2 laptops each with Vista Home Edition. I have read info from Microsoft that says the Remote Desktop does not work with Vista Home Edition nor with XP. (See Notes at this link) I think this is misleading because I had help from HP one time and they remote logged into my laptop. So I am confused.

    Your explanation is very complete but you must be using a higher version of Vista because my System Properties window does not look like yours. You have 3 options plus Users info to complete under the Remote tab. I do not.

    So, am I wasting my time trying to do the impossible with Home Edition?
    How did HP connect to me?
    Thank you. Grampy

  2. Donna K. Jones

    Unfortunately, Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is not set up to work with Vista Home Premium or Vista Home Basic. You can, however, do some hacking and turn RDC on in Home Premium. The following blog provides instructions on how to do this:

    I would suggest that you read through the whole forum carefully before attempting this procedure. Notice that if you have Vista Home Basic the process will not work at all, so first you will have to determine which version of Vista you have. You will also need to know whether or not you have installed Service Pack 1, because if you have, you will need to use the additional patch.

    I am running Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, which is very similar to Windows Vista Business. Depending on which version of Vista you are running, your System Properties window will look slightly different than mine.


  3. Tom Mason

    To answer the “How did HP connect to me?” question, they probably used some software called Windows Remote Assistance. Windows Remote Assistance is a way to let someone connect to your computer remotely and help you solve a problem. It’s a different program than Remote Desktop, but it uses Remote Desktop technology to allow someone to connect to your computer for assistance purposes.

    Hope that clarifies some things for you!

  4. Grampy

    Thanks to both Donna and Tom for responding. Both were helpful. Tom had what I was looking for. Apparently I was asking for the wrong thing. Windows Remote Assistant works for what I want to do.

    So what is the difference between WRA and RDC? They seem very similar to me.

    Donna thanks for the link. I guess if WRA did not accomplish my goal, I would try RDC, but for now I’ll pass. Since there is a finite chance it might not work, I’m sure that with my luck, I’ll have the combination that will not work :).

    Blessings to you both, Grampy

  5. Donna K. Jones

    Both of these procedures allow you to connect to a remote computer, but there is a major difference. With Remote Desktop Connection you have access to all of the files, applications, and resources on the remote computer, but while you are connected, the remote computer screen will appear to be blank. If there is a person on the other side, they can’t see what you are doing.

    Windows Remote Assistance, on the other hand, was designed to allow a technical person (or just a friend or colleague) to assist a user at another location with their computer or to show them how to do something. Both the client computer screen and the remote computer screen will display the same thing.

    Now here is the bad news. Windows Remote Assistance can be used to access the Home editions of Vista, but you cannot use the Home editions to connect to other computers! So are you totally frustrated, yet? I think there are a lot of other Windows Vista Home edition users that are in the same boat.

    The good news is that there are several third party applications that will work for you. and RealVNC are both free, and work very much like RDC. I would suggest that you give one of these a try.

    Good luck!

  6. Voleti

    While searching for ‘Remote Desktop does not work within a home network’, I encountered this page so I thought posting this would be relevant to anyone who is facing similar issues.

    If anyone is using a wireless router to connect to the internet and use remote desktop and are unable to do so then this might apply to you: If you use a VPN and are able to connect to the VPN and only the Remote Desktop does not work then you might need to go to Netgear or any other router’s configuration page and change the IP address that the router uses and assigns: From to for the primary router IP. And from to for any one who connects to the Internet through the routher.

    If connecting to VPN itself is an issue then just google it, there are lots of results.

  7. Elias Ramos

    Going back to step 5 (system properties), my RDC doesnt give me the option to select users. The whole bottom portion of the screen isnt even on my systems properties screen. the section that says “remote desktop” and the options below it do not show up on my RDC. Please help

  8. Donna K. Jones

    What version of Windows Vista is installed on your computer?

    If you aren’t sure, here is an easy way to check:

    1. Click on the Start Orb.
    2. In the search box type winver and then press Enter.

    A dialog box will appear, and it will tell you what version of Windows that you are running.

    I suspect that you have Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium, and if this is the case, you will not be able to make a Remote Connection without first performing the “hack” that we spoke of earlier in this forum. You can use the link that was listed previously, or check out Tony Chan’s blog to learn more about the fix.



  9. Larry Nagelberg

    Donna, Great info, but if you can’t remote connect to Windows Home Vista why does MS give you the “ability”, i.e. all of the options to share files, rights, etc via their sharing menu?

    It seems like they are taunting you to do something you can’t do?

    Very unfair (sorry for the diatribe – I love MS-DOS 5)

  10. Mike Truffer

    Good info; it was a big help in implementing RDA on several PCs on my office network.

    But I’m unable to connect my home PC (Vista Business; client) to my work PC (Vista Ultimate; host).

    RDA generates a “can’t find” or “can’t connect” error when I try.

    The office PC is on a basic Ethernet network behind a Linksys router. I reconfigured the router so port 3389 is mapped to the host PC’s IP address, which I got with ipconfig.

    When I start RDA to logon, I enter the name of the computer_namedomain_name, e.g.:

    Where is the domain name of our company’s website.

    I also enter the user name in the appropriate box in the same dialog box (under Options).

    (I know — I think I know! — the computer name and the user name are correct because using both on our office network allows me to RDA to the host PC, as I mentioned above.)

    Sleep modes, etc., aren’t an issue; it’s not implemented on the host PC.

    Any suggestions?


    — Mike Truffer,

  11. Lars Olsen

    Man you are awesome! I was getting sick of this, I couldnt get it to work on Vista. Im used to Windows XP you know.
    Anyways I might be switching to windows 7 soon. Thanks anyways, you saved my day!

  12. tubesexs

    What i don’t realize is actually how you are now not really a lot more smartly-preferred than you might be right now. You’re so intelligent. You already know thus significantly relating to this topic, produced me personally believe it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved unless it is something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs great. Always handle it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *