Remote Desktop Connection to Windows

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: 

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 You will remote into to accept a Remote Desktop connection

For Windows 7

  • On the Start Menu, right-click on Computer and select Properties.
  • In the section Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings in the middle of the screen make a note of your Computer name.
    Example Computer name: ITSS-WL-001234.
  • Select Remote settings in the left menu.
  • 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 must also make a note of the computer's IP address.Go the Windows Start button.
  • In the search text box type cmd and hit the Enter key on your keyboard.
  • In the cmd window at the blinking cursor type ipconfig/all then hit the Enter on your keyboard.
  • In the data that returns, find the heading Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection. Under that heading, locate the item IPv4 address and copy down the 10-digit number to the right which is the IP address.
    Example IP address: 148.85.123.12
  • When finished click the red X in the top right corner of the window to 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 Connection off-campus, 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 on-campus Windows computer

  • Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories/Communications.
  • 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 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. In general, using the IP Address will work best.
  • Click Connect.
  • You will be prompted for your Amherst user name and password. Enter your Amherst user name as follows:
    Amherst\yourusername
    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.
  • 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.Enter your Amherst user name as follows:
    Amherst\yourusername
    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.
  • 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: 
Network & Wi-Fi
Audience: 
Students
Faculty
Staff