Remote Desktop Connection to Windows Computer

Introduction

Using Windows Remote Desktop Connection, you connect to and operate your Windows work computer using the keyboard, mouse, and display of your home computer. You can thus do everything from home that you can do at your work computer. This is an ideal solution for people in administrative offices whose work computers have specialized sofware installed, connect to lots of network shares, and have complex database access permissions.

Instructions

Instructions: 

To use Remote Desktop Connection your work computer must be turned and not be in sleep mode. You may need to change your computer power and sleep/wake settings to ensure that the computer is always on. If your computer has a separate monitor it can be turned off, but the computer itself must be on.

Step 1: Set up your Amherst College Windows 10 computer to accept Remote Desktop connections

Get the computer name:

  • On your work computer, search for This PC.
  • In the search results, right-click on This PC and select Properties.
  • From the section Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings in the middle of the screen write down your Computer nameFor example, ITSS-WL-001234.

Give your Amherst account permission to use Remote Desktop:

  • On the same window, in the left column, click Remote settings.
  • Under Remote Desktop, select Allow remote connections to this computer.
  • Click the Select Users button
  • Regardless of whether you see a message that AMHERST\your_Amherst_username already has access, do the following:
    • Click the Add button.
    • Enter AMHERST\your_Amherst_username (e.g., AMHERST\mamherst) and click the Check Names button.
    • Once your username is underlined, click OK, then click OK again.

Get your computer's physical and IP addresses:

  • In the Windows search box, type cmd then press Enter.
  • Click Command Prompt search results.
  • In the black command window type ipconfig /all and press Enter.
  • In the data that returns, find the heading for your Ethernet adapter. It will be something like Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection or Ethernet adapter EthernetUnder that heading, locate the item IPv4 address and copy down the corresponding numeric IP address.
    Examples of Amherst IP addresses: 148.85.123.12, 10.49.18.170, and 172.17.163.24.
  • Also under the Ethernet heading, locate and note the Physical address.
    Example of a physical address (a.k.a, the MAC address): BC-5F-F4-6B-97-3B
  • When finished close the command window.

Step 2: Connect to the computer from off-campus

Set up a VPN connection

To use Remote Desktop Connection off-campus, you must use a VPN connection that you create on your home computer to establish a link to the Amherst network. 

VERY IMPORTANT: If your work computer is in a building that has been moved to the new network, you cannot use the VPN connectoids supplied by Amherst IT. The connectoids only work with computers on the old network. If the IP address you noted above begins with 10.49 then your building is on the new network.

Create VPN connection on a home Windows computer...

Where your work computer's IP address begins with 10. (e.g., 10.48.204.16)

Where your work computer's IP address begins with 148.85 or 172.17

Create VPN connection on a Macintosh computer

Create VPN connection on an iOS Device

From your off-campus Windows computer, connect to your work computer

  • Establish a link to the Amherst network using the VPN connection you created above.
  • Search for Remote Desktop Connection. In the search results, right click on Remote Desktop Connection and select Pin to Taskbar. It will be easier to find there.
  • Click on the Remote Desktop Connection icon on your taskbar. In the window your asked for the name of the computer your are connecting to. Enter the computer name you recorded above and press Connect. If you get a message that the computer can't be found, enter its IP address and try again. 
  • If you receive a certificate message, click the box that says don't show this again, then click Accept.
  • You will be prompted for a username and password. Enter your Amherst username as follows:
    AMHERST\your_Amherst_username, then enter your Amherst password.
  • After you enter these logon credentials, you'll be connected to your office computer, and can begin to use the remote desktop connection.
    Note that to save bandwidth, Remote Desktop Connection does not show desktop wallpaper or images. You will see your Windows computer desktop without any photo or special background you might have normally.

Connect from off-campus Macinstosh computer

  • First connect to Amherst VPN.
    Note: If your computer or network port in your office are "behind the firewall" you must use VPN Firewall rather than the standard faculty/staff VPN or VPNConnect. People in financial, student affairs, career center, dining, facilities, and advancement all are likely to have computers or ports behind the firewall.
  • Next, go to Applications and click the Remote Desktop Connection icon.
  • In Computer, enter the Windows computer IP address.
  • Click Connect.
  • You will be prompted for your Amherst user name and password.Enter your Amherst user name as follows:
    AMHERST\your_Amherst_username
    then enter your Amherst password.
  • After you enter these logon credentials, you'll be connected to your office computer, and can begin to use the remote desktop connection.
    Note that to save bandwidth, Remote Desktop Connection does not show desktop wallpaper or images. You will see your Windows computer desktop without any photo or special background you might have normally.

Connect from off-campus iPad

  • First connect to Amherst VPN.
    Note: If your computer or network port in your office are "behind the firewall" you must use VPN Firewall rather than the standard faculty/staff VPN or VPNConnect. People in financial, student affairs, career center, dining, facilities, and advancement all are likely to have computers or ports behind the firewall.
  • Next, download the App RDP lite from the App Store. This is a free application. Alternately you can download the paid version of the App RDP. The free version of the App works well but feel free to visit the RDP website to get more information about the differences between the two versions to review the differences between the Apps.
  • Once downloaded, select the RDP lite app and tap add new configuration.
  • Type in the Windows computer IP address. If a leading # or other symbol fills by default, make sure to remove it. The IP address must begin with a digit, it cannot begin with # sign, leading spaces, letters, etc.
  • Tap Connect to.
  • There may be a slight lag with a black screen but then you should see the login screen or desktop for your office computer come up. You can then begin using the remote desktop connection.
  • If nothing happens and you do not get your office computer login screen/desktop then most likely there is an error with the IP address you entered.

Service Categories

Service Categories: 
Network & Wi-Fi

Audience

Audience: 
Students
Faculty
Staff

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