Knowledge Base

Remote Desktop Connection to Windows

Introduction

How to use Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) to connect and control your Windows computer from off-campus using a Windows or Macintosh computer or an iOS device.

Instructions

Instructions: 

To use Remote Desktop Connection to access a computer, the computer must have power and not be in sleep mode. You may need to change our computer power and sleep/wake settings when you know you will be using Remote Desktop Connection.

Step 1: Set your Windows computer to accept a Remote Desktop connection

For Windows XP

  • On the Start menu, right-click on My Computer and select Properties.
  • Click on the Remote tab.
  • Under Remote Desktop, check the box to Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.
  • Click the Select Remote Users button.
  • Click the Add button.
  • For staff/faculty Amherst College-owned computers, or any computers on the Amherst domain, enter AMHERST\your_Amherst_username (e.g., AMHERST\ljamherst) and click the Check Names button.
  • Once your username is underlined, click OK, then click OK again.
  • You will need the computer name. To find the computer name, back at the System Properties window, click on the Computer Name tab. Write down the computer name (e.g., LJAMHERST-D2; don't bother with the ".amherst.edu" part). Click OK.
  • You will also need the IP address. Go the Start button and click Run.
  • Type cmd.
  • In the cmd window at the blinking cursor type ipconfig/all then hit enter on your keyboard.
  • In the data that returns, find the heading Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection, then find the item IPv4 address, the 10-digit number to the right of that is the IP address (e.g.  ###.##.###.##). Copy down the IP address. You can then exit the cmd window.

For Windows 7

  • On the Start Menu, right-click on Computer and select Properties
  • Go to Remote settings, on the left-side of the window.
  • Under Remote Desktop, select Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure).
  • For staff/faculty Amherst College-owned computers, or any computers on the Amherst domain, check that  "AMHERST\your_Amherst_usernamealready has access" is listed. If not: 
    • Click the Add button.
    • Enter AMHERST\your_Amherst_username (e.g., AMHERST\ljamherst) and click the Check Names button.
    • Once your username is underlined, click OK, then click OK again.
  • You will need the computer name. To find the computer name, back at the System Properties window, click on the Computer Name tab. Write down the computer name (e.g., LJAMHERST-D2; don't bother with the ".amherst.edu" part). Click OK.
  • You will alsoneed the IP address. Go the Start button and in the search text box type cmd.
  • From the search results, under the heading Programs select cmd.
  • In the cmd window at the blinking cursor type ipconfig/all then hit enter on your keyboard. In the data that returns, find the heading Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection, then find the item IPv4 address, the 10-digit number to the right of that is the IP address (e.g.  ###.##.###.##). Copy down the IP address. You can then exit the cmd window.

Step 2: Connect to The Windows computer

Remote Desktop Connection requires a broadband connection (DSL or cable modem) or 3G/4G phone data service and a VPN connection to Amherst. You cannot use a dial-up internet connection with Remote Desktop Connection.

To use Remote Desktop, you must first establish a VPN connection from your home computer or iOS device to the Amherst network. Chose one of the following as applicable.

Connect from off-campus Windows computer

  • First connect to Amherst VPN.
  • Next, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories/Communications.
  • Click the Remote Desktop Connection icon.
  • In Computer, enter the Windows computer name. If using the computer name does not work, try the Windows computer IP address instead.
  • Click Connect.
  • You will be prompted for your Amherst user name and password. After you enter these, 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.
  • Next, go to Applications and 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. After you enter these, 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.
  • 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/problem with the IP address you entered.

Service Categories

Service Categories: 
Network & Wi-Fi

Audience

Audience: 
Students
Faculty
Staff

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