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We’ve all been in the situation where we either needed help from someone with something that is going wrong with our computer or someone is asking us to help them with something on their computer. Oftentimes, the people who either asking for help or trying to help you will live quite far away and it’s just not convenient to get together to sort the problems sorted out.

What is one to do in these situations? Well, believe it or not, there is a solution if you use Windows 7 and it’s a handy program that comes with Windows called Remote Desktop Connection. Many people are aware of this program but they don’t have any idea about how to setup remote desktop Windows 7 or they are having problems getting it to work. A lot of people have a hard time getting the program to actually work. Microsoft isn’t exactly famous for making their programs user friendly.

After reading this, in my opinion Microsoft has made this task much more difficult than it needs to be. I have another post on my website called: How To Remote Desktop Over Internet The EASY Way that you may want to read if you want to save yourself the grief of getting Microsoft’s software to work properly.

Today, I’m going to outline the procedures necessarily for connecting to another computer remotely. It will take a bit to get things set up properly but once you have the settings properly configured, you won’t have to repeat these procedures and you’ll be able to remotely connect to another computer anywhere in the world. Once you know how to do this, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to learn. I do this all the time and being able to remotely connect to my parents, and friends computers and fix whatever needs to be fixed is very convenient.

Before we get started, you should know that you can’t use this Remote Desktop Connection to connect to computers running Vista Starter, Vista Home Basic N, Vista Home Basic, or Vista Home Premium. It is, however, possible to connect from those versions of Windows Vista to computers running other versions of Windows. Additionally, it’s not possible to use the software to connect to computers running Windows XP Home Edition.

Before you can begin using Remote Desktop Connection, you’ll need to turn the feature on for the computer that you would like to connect to. If you are trying to help someone with their computer problems over the phone, you’ll need to talk them through these steps before you’ll be able to remotely control their computer.

To turn this feature on for the computer you will be connecting to simply click on Start –> then right click on Computer, then click on Properties, then select Computer Name –> Domain –> Workbook Settings, click Change Settings. This will cause the System Properties dialog box to open. Look for the tab marked Remote and click on it. Then, make sure the box is checked next to “Allow Remote Assistance Connections To This Computer”.

Next, click on the Select Users –> Add –> Advanced –> Find Now and every user who uses that particular computer will show up. Next, select a non-administrator user and click okay four times.

If you’re using a firewall, you’ll have to configure the firewall to allow a remote connection. Each firewall is different in the procedures necessary to configure it so I won’t discuss exactly how to do this in this article. I will tell you that I’ve included a 15 minute video at the end of this article that will talk about this a bit. I would suggest opening a port 3389 for the program Remote Desktop Connection.

Next, you need to give the computer that you want to connect to remotely a static Internal IP. To do this, click Start –> Control Panel –> Network and Internet –> Network and Sharing Center. Look for Change Adapter Settings and click on it. Then right click on it and select Properties –> Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) –> Properties –> Use The Following IP Address. In the box marked IP Address, enter 192.168.0.25. Note that the last digits can be any numbers that you choose as long as you haven’t already used them for another computer on your network. In the Subnet Mask box enter 255.255.255.0. In the Default Gateway box, you’ll want to enter the IP address of your router.

If you don’t know what that is, simply click Start –> enter CMD in the search box to start a command prompt. Then type “ipconfig” at the command prompt and press enter. A list of your current IP’s will be displayed. Look for the one labeled Default Gateway. That is the IP address you’ll want to enter in the “Default Gateway” box of the previous step.

Next, enter 208.67.222.222 in the DNS Server box. In the Alternate DSN Server box enter 208.67.220.220 which are the domain name servers for Open DNS. Next, click okay and the computer is all set up.

Now, if you want to connect to this computer from another computer that is on your network, simply click Start –> type “Remote Desktop Connection” in the search box and then click on Remote Desktop Connection to start the program. In the box labeled “Computer” enter the IP address that you assigned the computer earlier. At the end of the IP, append “:3389” so it will look something like this 192.168.0.34:3389 and then click Connect. If you are asked to enter a user name and password, this should be the username and password that you normally use when you log into the computer that you are trying to connect to.

What if you want to connect to your Great Aunt Hildi’s computer and she lives in Boston but you live in Sacramento? Luckily, you can do that as well but there are a few extra things you’ll needs to do. Basically, you need to enable what is called “Port Forwarding” on your router. The procedures for how to do this are different for every router so the easiest way to find out how to enable Port Forwarding for your specific router is to go to the website portforward.com. This website will provide instructions for your particular router.

You’re going to want to configure port forwarding for the Windows 7 computer that you would like to control remotely. For example, based on the steps we’ve previously outlined in this article, we would forward port 3389 to the IP address 192.162.0.34. Next you need to find out what the external IP for the computer you want to connect to is. Keep in mind that most Internet Service Providers will assign you a new IP each time you power your modem up so it changes from time to time. To prevent needing to deal with the problems that dynamic IP’s can cause for remote connections, you can learn a neat trick that is discussed near the end of the video.

The easiest way to find your IP is to use the website www.whatismyip.com. After discovering the “external IP” for the computer you would like to connect to, you use a different computer that is located anywhere in the world to connect to the computer that is now properly configured for remote assistance.

To do this, you’ll start Remote Desktop Connection on the computer you will be using to connect from and enter the external IP that you discovered earlier for the computer that you would like to connect to and append “:3389” to it. After clicking “Connect” you’ll be able to remotely control that computer from another computer that is not on the same network from anywhere in the world to do maintenance on it, troubleshoot and repair it, or access files.

Here’s a great video made by Jake from the website jakewright.net that more thoroughly describes these steps.

If you’re not quite ready to leave just yet, I would like to suggest to you that you check out some of my articles on solving common computer problems. I have articles like, How To Delete Your History On Your Computer, Free Computer Scan And Virus Removal, How To Clean My Computer To Make It Run Faster as well as many more helpful articles. Check them out if you’re in the mood for a little light reading.

Sources:

  1. http://portforward.com
  2. http://www.whatismyip.com
  3. http://jakewright.net
  4. http://windows.microsoft.com

I receive compensation due to affiliate links or endorsements on this website: Disclosure of Compensation