How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11

Windows 11 remote desktop
(Image: © Microsoft)

The Remote Desktop feature of Windows is an app that not everyone is aware of, but it is something that would almost certainly be far more widely used if it was better known. In short, Remote Desktop provides a way to control your Windows 11 computer from somewhere else – remote control, if you prefer.

While this is mainly designed with business and technical users in mind, such as remote working or offering remote support, the feature can also be used for simpler tasks such as controlling your upstairs computer from your laptop downstairs. 

Assuming you have a network set up, use the following guide to get started with Remote Desktop.

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How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

1. Open Settings first of all. You can do this by clicking the Start button followed by Settings, or you can use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut. In the list to the left, move to the System section and then click Remote Desktop to the right-hand side. 

You can then enable Remote Desktop by flicking the Remote Desktop toggle to the On position. A pop-up will appear in order to double-check that you want to enable the feature – just click Confirm to continue.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

2. To the right of the toggle you will see a small button feature a downward-pointing arrow. If you click this, additional options will appear, although it is not a good idea to change these settings unless you have a particular reason to do so.

By default, Remote Desktop requires devices to use Network Level Authentication in order to establish a connection, but if this proves problematic, or if you have a complex network configuration, you can display is by unchecking the option box. Below this, Windows shows you the port number used by Remote Desktop in case you need to make a note of it.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

3. When you have Remote Desktop enabled, a new section will slide into view letting you know the name of your computer, as you will need this later on in order to establish a connection. 

t is possible you know, or even chose the name of your computer, and it is the same name that is used to identify your computer on your hoe network. If you would like to change the name for any reason, return to the System section of Settings and click the Rename link to the upper right of the window, enter a name and click Next before restarting Windows when prompted.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

4. Now that you have Remote Desktop enabled, you can use various tools to connect  and remotely control your computer. Windows has its own Remote Desktop Connection app built in, found in the Start menu, so we’ll start by looking at this one.

Launch the app from the Start menu of a second computer and type the name of the machine you would like to connect to. You can now jump right in and click the Connect button, or you can configure additional options as described in the next step.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

5. Click the arrow next to Show Options and you can specify the username you would like to use to connect with. Moving to the Display tab you can use the slider to choose the size of your remote session window and also specify the color depth that should be used.

On the Local Resources tab, you can choose how audio should be handled between remote and local session as well as choosing what resources should be shared between devices – such as printers and clipboard contents. If you have a slow connection, use the Experience tab to dial back visual option. Click Connect to establish a connection.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

6. You will have to provide the login credentials for the computer you are trying to connect to – this is just the same password that you normally use to log into Windows – and then click OK.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

7. You will now find yourself logged into your other PC, ready to use Windows 11 within a window.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

8. If you want to exit the remote access, just press the close icon and you will be brought to a message box, confirming if you want to disconnect the session.

Press OK and the connection will shut down.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

9. Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app is also available for mobile devices so you can use your smartphone or tablet to control your PC if you want.

Both the Android and iOS versions of the app are available free of charge and work in very much the same way as the desktop app that we have already looked at.

How to use Remote Desktop in Windows 11 screenshot

(Image credit: Future)
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Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia is a tech journalist who’s been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fuelled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazine since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy.

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