Introduction

Windows has the useful capability of supporting a single remote desktop session via Remote Desktop Connection.

The client application for Windows, Remote Desktop Connection, is pre-installed (see start->Programs->Accessories->) and downloadable for other Microsoft platforms here. It is also available for Linux/Unix systems under the names rdesktop and tsclient (the latter being a GUI interface to the former), and for MacOS X as Remote Desktop Connection Client, downloadable from Microsoft here.

A user can only log in to your PC remotely if the following conditions apply:

  1. Allow users to connect remotely to this computer is set in the Remote tab of System Properties. This is turned on by group policy so you shouldn't have to set this.
  2. The Windows Firewall has the Remote Desktop exception enabled with a scope which includes the client's IP address, see exceptions. This is also turned on by group policy with a scope of campus access only. There is no longer any need to open up the firewall for off-campus access as the Remote Desktop Gateway service (see Off-Campus Access below) does not require this.
  3. The account used for remote access is in the Remote Desktop Users group on your machine or has local administrator rights i.e. is a member of the Administrators group on your PC.. To find out or change who has remote access: click on Remote Settings in the System control panel (Remote tab when running with local administrator rights in XP).
  4. At least one of the following conditions hold:
    • There is no current console session on your PC.
    • The current console session is for the same id as that used for remote user access.
    • The account used for remote access has local administration rights on your PC.

If there is currently an active console session on your PC when a successful remote login takes place then either:

  • if the console session is for the same id as the remote desktop session then the session "moves" to the remote system and the console session is locked. The session may subsequently return to the console if you enter your password at the console.

or

  • if the console session is for a different id then the remote user is asked whether they wish to contine with the remote session and suspend the console one, or to abandon the remote session and leave the console session undisturbed.

Off-Campus Access

You cannot directly connect to your PC when off campus if (as is usual) it has a private address. To overcome this either:

  • Use the central NUIT RD Gateway service: in Remote Desktop Connection select Options-> Advanced. Click on Settings and set the RD Gateway Server name to tsgateway.ncl.ac.uk. You can then fill in the Computer field and connect to it as as usual. You must authenticate on tsgateway with a normal CAMPUS account and are given the option to use the same login credentials for the target computer but this is not mandatory. You need Remote Desktop Connection 6 (or higher) on your home PC for this - you can download an update if your system has an earlier version.

or

  • Invoke Remote Desktop Connection from RAS (in Accessories).

(!) Please try the Wake on LAN facility to wake up your PC before initiating a remote Desktop session, rather than leaving it running all the time wasting energy. (Neither the RD Gateway nor Remote Desktop Connection client will make an attempt to wake up a machine that has gone to sleep, hibernated or has been turned off. )

(!) Before trying to connect to your machine when off-campus, make sure you can make a remote desktop connection to it from another on-campus machine.

Remote Desktop Keyboard Shortcuts

shortcut details
Remote Desktop keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+END Display the Task Manager or Windows Security dialog box. (CTRL+ALT+DEL is always interpreted by the client computer.)
Remote Desktop keyboard shortcut: ALT+F4 When the desktop has focus display the Shutdown menu else close the current window
Remote Desktop keyboard shortcut: ALT+HOME Display the Start menu.
Remote Desktop keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+MINUS (–) symbol on the numeric keypad Place a snapshot of the active window in the Remote Desktop session on the clipboard.
Remote Desktop keyboard shortcut:CTRL+ALT+PLUS (+) symbol on the numeric keypad Place a snapshot of the entire Remote Desktop session window on the clipboard.