How to enable Remote Desktop

How to enable Remote Desktop:  Do you need IT assistance and your trusted technician has asked you to enable Remote Desktop so that we can provide you with all the support you need remotely? Would you like to control your computer from another room in your home, without the need to physically approach it? If this is your current need, know that both Windows and macOS integrate useful solutions suitable for the purpose!

In detail, the “standard” function included in the professional editions of Windows is called, precisely, Remote Desktop and can be activated in a couple of clicks; as far as Macs are concerned, the utility is called Screen Sharing and must be managed directly from the operating system settings.

Beyond what it might seem, activating remote access through the integrated tools of Microsoft and Apple is an operation that requires a few minutes of patience, but far from difficult: if you follow the instructions I am about to give you, you will succeed surely to access your computers remotely both from the home network and from the outside. Happy reading and good work!


  • Preliminary operations
    • Dynamic DNS configuration
    • Doors opening
  • How to enable remote desktop: Windows 10
    • How to enable remote desktop: Windows 10 Home
  • How to enable remote desktop: Windows 7
  • How to enable “remote desktop”: Mac
  • Check a remote computer
  • Alternative solutions

Preliminary operations

In some specific scenarios, even before activating the remote desktop functionality on the computer, some preliminary operations must be performed to ensure that everything works at its best. But let’s go in order.

If it is your intention to configure one or more computers connected to the same local network as the device from which you want to control the latter, you can skip this chapter and go directly to the section relating to the operating system you use, as the use of Remote Desktop and Sharing services Mac screen is always allowed within the local network.

On the other hand, the reasoning for remote access is different, that is to take control of the computer from a different network / Internet connection: in this case, it is necessary to configure a dynamic DNS service, which can associate a “literal” address to the computer in question and to update it automatically, so as not to have to retrieve the public IP address every time (as the IP address of the connection typically changes from time to time).

Secondly, it is necessary to open some ports in the router used to connect to the Internet, in order to allow access from the outside. It all sounds very complicated, but I guarantee you it’s not at all!

Dynamic DNS configuration

One of the best dynamic DNS services on the market is No-IP: it is a free platform (at least for the purposes of this guide), simple to use and that can be configured using a small software available for both Windows and macOS.

To start, then connect to the No-IP website, click on the Sign-Up / Sign Up for free button and fill out the form that is proposed to you with the requested information: a valid email address, a password to protect the account and the hostname, i.e. the address you will then need to use to reach the computer remotely (e.g. ).

Once you have entered the necessary data, put the checkmark in the box below the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy item and click on the Free Signup button located at the bottom of the page. To complete the registration, then access the e-mail address specified above and click on the confirmation link received from No-IP.

Now, you need to download DUC, the configuration client for No-IP, on your computer: connected to the software download page, click on the Download now button and wait for the installation program (eg. DUCSetup_vX_Y_Z.exe ) to be downloaded to the computer. Once the download is complete, open the file obtained and follow the procedure that best suits your operating system.

If you use Windows, click on the YesI Agree and Install buttons, put the checkmark next to Launch DUC and, if you want the program to open automatically when Windows starts (optimal option if you intend to log in remotely not checked), also check the box next to Run DUC as a System Service in the background. Click on the Finish button to exit the setup and start the program.

If you are using macOS, open the .dmg package you downloaded earlier and use the transfer window that appears on the screen to drag the No-IP DUC icon into the Mac Applications folder. Now, go to this folder, double-click on the ‘icon just copied and press the Open button, to overcome the restrictions of macOS against the applications of non-certified developers (it must be done only at the first start). Now, click on the Skip button to skip the welcome tutorial and wait for the software window to appear on the screen.

Once you have reached the login screen, enter the credentials of the No-IP account previously created in the appropriate fields, click on the Login button and, when the host management window appears, put the checkmark next to the associated hostname to the account.

Now, if you use Windows, click on the Save button and wait for the green checkmark to appear next to the Client IDUpdating and IP items, as a sign that the public address has been assigned. Finally, quietly hide the program window, using the File> Hide menu.

If yours is a Mac, after selecting the hostname, close the program window and that’s it: to view the connection status, click on the No-IP icon (the (ip) symbol crossed out ) visible in the Mac menu bar, near the clock.

Doors opening

To be fully reachable from the outside, you must open the router ports associated with the Windows Remote Desktop and macOS Screen Sharing services, taking care to enter, as the local IP address, that of the computer that needs assistance. The doors to open are as follows.

  • Windows Remote Desktop: 3389, 443 and 8245, both with TCP and UDP protocols.
  • MacOS Screen Sharing: 5900 and 3283, both with TCP and UDP protocols.

When configuring the rules for opening ports, as a local IP, you must enter the private IP address of the computer to be controlled. To open the doors, you need to access the management panel of the router , connecting to its IP address (e.g. and entering the user name and password of the management area (generally admin/admin or admin/password).

Subsequently, it is necessary to locate the section relating to Virtual / NAT servers and proceed with the creation of the rules seen a little while ago; if you do not know how to open the router ports, because you have never done anything like this before, please take a look at the specific guide I have dedicated to the topic.

How to enable remote desktop: Windows 10

Once the preliminary operations are completed (if necessary), you are ready to enable remote desktop Windows 10 or later through the appropriate system functionality. So, first of all, open the Windows Settings, by right-clicking on the Start button (the flag icon visible at the bottom left) and clicking on the appropriate resident item in the menu that appears.

Now, click the system, select the item Remote Desktop in the left sidebar, move on On the lever corresponds to the entry Remote Desktop enabled and click ‘ Confirmation, if necessary. By default, Remote Desktop sessions can only be used by users with administrative privileges.

To change this behavior, click on the item Select the users who can remotely access this PC, press the Add … button located in the screen that appears, type the username of the person for whom you want to enable access and press the Control buttons names and OK, to add it to the list. Finally, if you intend to access from a PC on the local network, write down the PC name specified under the heading How to connect to the PC: you will need it to establish the connection to the computer.

How to enable remote desktop: Windows 10 Home

How do you say? Are you unable to enable Windows 10 Home Remote Desktop (or other Home editions versions of Microsoft’s operating system), because you weren’t able to locate the options I mentioned earlier? Unfortunately, this is completely normal behavior: in the Home editions of Windows there is a “lightened” version of the utility, which only allows you to connect remotely to other computers and does not allow you to receive remote assistance.

This, however, does not mean that it is not possible to obtain assistance on a computer with Windows 10 Home, on the contrary: there are numerous alternative programs, even easier to configure, which allow any computer to be prepared for remote access in a couple of clicks. . Find everything explained in the final chapter of this guide.

How to enable remote desktop: Windows 7

To enable Remote Desktop on Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise (Home Basic and Home Premium do not have the ability to act as a server), do this: open the Windows File Explorer by clicking on the yellow folder icon located in the bar applications, right-click on the item Computer / This PC located in the left sidebar and choose the Properties option from the menu that appears.

Now, click on the item Remote connection settings located on the left and put the check mark next to the wording Allow Remote Assistance connections to the computer, to enable remote desktop. Now, click on the Advanced button and make sure that there is a check mark next to the item Allow computer control from remote locations, otherwise put it yourself and click on the OK button to make all changes effective.

Then, depending on your needs, set the security level to apply to the connection, choosing from the options available a little further down: Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop, less secure option but which allows you to receive remote assistance from any version of Windows without the need to add username and password; or Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication, which is more secure but allows you to receive remote assistance only with the authorization of remote PCs. To save the settings, click the Apply button.

Another important thing you need to know is that, by default, the Windows Remote Desktop is only accessible to accounts with administrator privileges. To authorize access for users with lower privileges, click on the Select users button and type their username in the appropriate text field.

To finish the Remote Desktop configuration, click on the OK / Apply buttons, in order to save the changes for the active windows. Now, if it is your intention to connect to the computer through a machine connected to the same LAN network, write down its private “literal” address: open the Command Prompt from the Start menu, type the hostname command in it, press the Enter key on the keyboard and write down the address that is printed on the screen.

How to enable “remote desktop”: Mac

Even MacOS includes a remote desktop feature called Screen Sharing: to activate it, open System Preferences, click on the symbol of ‘ gear attached to the Dock, click on the Sharing and affix a check mark next to Screen Sharing, located in the left sidebar.

Now, click on the Computer Settings … button located on the side, put the checkmark next to the item Anyone can request permission to control the screen and, to protect the connection with a password, I suggest you also check the box next to the wording VNC viewers can control the screen using a password: and enter an access key in the appropriate field. To save the changes, click the OK button.

By default, only users with administrative privileges can access the Mac via Screen Sharing: to change this behavior, put the check mark next to All users, if you want to allow remote users to access all accounts on the computer ( after entering the relative password), or put the check mark next to the item Only these users, press the [+] button visible a little further down and add the accounts to be authorized, by first clicking on the respective names and then on the Select button.

Finally, if you intend to access the Mac from a computer connected to the same local network, write down the IP address / literal of the computer, visible immediately under the heading Screen sharing: active, next to the writing vnc: // (eg. or mac-mini.local ).

Check a remote computer

Once all configurations are done, you are ready to control the configured computer via Windows Remote Desktop or macOS Screen Sharing! If it is your interest to access a computer equipped with Windows, starting from another machine equipped with the same operating system, open the Start menu, type the words Remote desktop connection in it and click on the first result returned, to open the dedicated client.

Now, enter the address of the computer to connect to (that of No-IP, for external connections to the network, or the private one of the computer, for internal connections), press the Connect button and answer affirmatively to the next warning. Finally, enter the username and password of the account you want to log in to and click on the OK button to establish the connection.

I would like to point out that the Microsoft Remote Desktop client is also available on the Mac App Store of macOS, on the Play Store and on the alternative stores for Android and on the App Store of iOS and iPadOS and works in an almost similar way.

If, on the other hand, the computer to be controlled is a Mac and you need to access it from a device of the same type, proceed as follows: right-click on the Finder icon (the one in the shape of a smiling face ) located in the Dock bar, click on the item Connecting to the server … from the context menu that opens and type vnc: // address_of_mac in the text box that appears, replacing _address_of_mac_ with the literal private address of the computer (if you have to access from the same network) or the hostname configured on No- IP (if you need to log in from somewhere else on the Internet).

Finally, click on the Connect button, enter the password to establish the connection (if you have configured it) and log in with the credentials of the user you want to remotely control.

Note: You can connect to a Mac with screen sharing enabled using any VNC viewer, such as the free VNC Viewer client for WindowsAndroidiOS and iPadOS.

Alternative solutions

If you don’t have a Pro version of Windows or are having difficulty activating Remote Desktop in Windows or Screen Sharing in macOS, don’t despair: there are alternative programs that allow you to receive and provide remote assistance on all versions of Windows, such as TeamViewer, which must be installed on both computers.

In this case, all that needs to be done is to write down the identification and password displayed in the window of the program running on the PC to be controlled, open the same software also on the computer from which to provide assistance and type in the “coordinates” obtained previously, eliminating hence the need to configure access, assign static addresses, open doors or perform other “cumbersome” operations.

If you are interested in taking this path, you would do well to read my guide to remote access programs, in which I have told you in depth about the most famous (and simple) solutions of this type. Please, give it at least a look!


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