Oversimplified Remote Desktop for Microsoft Windows

If you would like to set up windows for remote desktop or would like to use remote desktop then this is the guide for you.

Microsoft Windows remote desktop requires you to have remote desktop enabled on the target machine (the machine who’s desktop you would like to use).

How to Enable Remote Desktop

  1. Press the Windows Key and I (I as in India) at the same time.
  2. Click on the System Icon.
  3. On the left panel, scroll down and select “Remote Desktop”.
  4. Enable Remote Destkop by sliding the slider to enabled.

How to Connect to a Computer Remotely

If you followed the steps above you may also want to make a note of the PC name to connect from your remote devices, or you can do the following.

On The Target Machine

  1. Press the Windows Key and R at the same time.
  2. In the run box, type ‘cmd’ and press enter to open Command Prompt.
  3. In Command Prompt type ‘ipconfig’ and press enter.
  4. Take note of the IPv4 Address, this is the address you will use to connect to your target machine later. On Home networks its usually 192.168.1.x where x is your target machine’s IP address. Write down your IPv4 address, you’ll need it to connect later.
  5. Now type ‘hostname’ and press enter, this will produce your hostname, which in some circumstances you may also use to connect however It depends on your network setup.

On The Machine You Plan to Connect From

  1. Press the Windows Key and type ‘RDP’ and then open ‘Remote Desktop Connection’.
  2. In the Computer box, enter the IP address you collected earlier.
  3. In the Username box, enter the hostname followed by a backslash and then your username.

Soon after you should be prompted to enter your password. If your username or password combination is incorrect you may have entered the information incorrectly. For example my computer has the IP address 192.168.1.16 and the username would be ‘AIDAN-DT\Aidan’ because my hostname is ‘AIDAN-DT’ and my username is ‘Aidan’

If all goes well you should now be able to access your remote computer.

Troubleshooting Tips

Use the following paragraph to troubleshoot your setup.

Remote Desktop can’t connect to the remote computer for one of these reasons:

If you see this error as written above make sure to follow the instructions listed, such as making sure remote access is enabled, the computer is turned on and is connected to the internet. If that still doesn’t work it may be because of the following,

  1. Make sure the IP address you fetched at the beggining is correct, if the IP address is incorrect you may not be trying to connect to the target machine and you may be trying to connect to another device on your network or nothing at all, making sure your IP address is correct is important.
  2. Make sure that you are on the same network as the remote machine, if you are trying to connect from outside your home you first need to port forward and instead of using your home IP address are instead using your public IP address.
  3. Make sure that you aren’t restricted by a firewall. If you are on a home connection connecting to another computer then this shouldn’t be a problem, but if this is a corporate network you may have firewall restrictions preventing you from contacting other clients on the network, such as client isolation.

Remote Desktop cannot be enabled

You cannot enable remote desktop on Windows 10 Home, you need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Remote Desktop works for a day or so and then the Remote Machine’s IP address changes

This is because by default DHCP leases on a private network typically are only assigned for a day, after which they are ‘released’ which means new devices on the network can take their place. This is so that small networks with many devices like a home network, don’t run out of IP space.

The solution to this is to assign a static IP address for the target computer so that it’s IP address will not change. The compromise is that now that IP address can only be used by that machine and if you change it from what it is currently leased under, you will need to wait for the client to ask for a new one or force it to release its IP address early.

Remote Desktop doesn’t work outside my Network

There are many factors that can cause this behaviour.

  1. Make sure that you are using your Public IP address, your public IP address is the one given to you by your internet service provider, you cannot change it without asking them in most cases. It will not be in the 192.168.0.0 or 10.0.0.0 subnet range, if you are attempting to connect to a remote machine using 192.168 or 10.0 IP addresses you are doing it wrong.
  2. Make sure you have port forwarded Remote Desktop ports to your target machine. Port Forwarding on a home network typically takes place through your router’s configuration panel which can usually be accessed through a sticker on the back of the router or through an app, you will need to forward the port 3389 with both TCP and UDP enabled. In your router the port should be forwarded to the LAN address (192.168 or 10.0) of your target machine.

My Home Network – Part 2

Hello again, this is the second in a series of my home network posts. In this edition, we’re going to be flashing another router with OpenWrt. You can read part one here.

I decided it was time to leave all the old hardware behind and move to brand new stuff. I was having problems with the ZYXEL VMG8924-B10A as the main router, it kept cutting out and was causing short minute outages that ultimately I think was due to the system running out of ram and botnets trying to break into the thing. So I decided it was time to jump ship and move to something a little bit more enterprise. At the same time, I decided now would also be a good time to leave the Netgear WNR3500L V2 to one side. Despite it serving us good for many years, its routing features won’t be necessary for the upgrade as I want to have a good crack at managed switching.

The new network

The new network is composed with the following,

  • A Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X
  • A Netgear ProSafe GS108T
  • A new to me MR33

I wanted to do away with having two routers on the network, it wasn’t neccisary and caused some of the upstairs equipment to be inaccessible from downstairs, the new configuration would mean that all management would be done through the EdgeRouter X which would be much cleaner and hopefully faster.

The ProSafe GS108T was a garage find, I wasn’t using it for anything and I hadn’t really implemented proper VLAN tagging before so I thought now was a better time than ever to get into it.

Network Topology
My new home network diagram, ignore the fact its all Ubiquiti gear, its the iconography I had loaded at the time. And I couldn’t quickly find icons for Netgear.

I also received a new to me MR33 complete with Meraki OS. Unfortunately their licencing of their hardware is not something that aligns with my principals on hardware so before we accept any software agreements I thought it best to do as always and flash OpenWRT to the thing and say goodbye to Meraki. Flashing OpenWRT onto it was no easy feat but I made sure the thing never saw access to the internet and eventually I was in.

[aidan@aidan-ld mr33]$ ssh root@192.168.1.1


BusyBox v1.28.3 () built-in shell (ash)

  _______                     ________        __
 |       |.-----.-----.-----.|  |  |  |.----.|  |_
 |   -   ||  _  |  -__|     ||  |  |  ||   _||   _|
 |_______||   __|_____|__|__||________||__|  |____|
          |__| W I R E L E S S   F R E E D O M
 -----------------------------------------------------
 OpenWrt 18.06.1, r7258-5eb055306f
 -----------------------------------------------------
=== WARNING! =====================================
There is no root password defined on this device!
Use the "passwd" command to set up a new password
in order to prevent unauthorized SSH logins.
--------------------------------------------------
root@OpenWrt:~# 
root@OpenWrt:~# exit
Connection to 192.168.1.1 closed.
[aidan@aidan-ld mr33]$ 

A couple of configuration changes later and we’ve got a dumb ap ready for deployment.

I really wanted to play with subnets this time, before we had two but this time I thought go hard or go home, so in total there are five subnets on my home network now, that’s enough IP space on the 192 network for 1200 devices. I’ve refrained from using the 10.0.0.0/16 network class simply because I use some VPNs with the same IP space so I thought best to just keep it simple. I have to say the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X was a little bit new to me but I like the interface, PoE was a particularly nice touch.

For the Netgear switch the plan is to take a trunked VLAN ethernet cable and have the VLAN20 on the first 7 ports and leave the remaining 8th port for the MR18. Setting it up was quite easy using the online wizard however the visualisation thingy was clearly older than useful because it seemed to use some java applet that chrome did not like.

A Little Conclusion

I like what I’ve got set up now and will probably leave it for some time. The ZYXEL VMG8924-B10A is destined for the bin but the Netgear WNR3500L V2 I’ll keep for now, it can do VLANs and probably would have worked fine, I just wanted to use a managed switch.

The new network is great. I have a printer which its driver doesn’t seem to like cross-lan communication because every time I print something, it prints fine but the software client continually reports that the communication with the printer failed. I put that down to poor software testing I guess. Wouldn’t be the first time someone had printer woes.

EdgeRouter X Dashboard with VLANS
EdgeRouter Dashboard
SubnetPurpose
192.168.1.0/24Downstairs Wired (eth1)
192.168.2.0/24Upstairs Wired (eth2.20)
192.168.3.0/24Downstairs Wireless AP Clients (eth3)
192.168.4.0/24Upstairs Wireless AP Clients (eth2.40)
192.168.5.0/244th port on router, only a printer attached.(eth4)
Subnets (eth0 is WAN)

Thats all folks. Aidan.