Remote Desktop Connection

Remote Desktop Connection

Before you start:

Remote Desktop Connection is only available in the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7 or 10.  A computer running Windows 7 or 10 Home (neither Basic nor Premium) does not have the functionality to remotely connect to another Windows computer.

Pre-setup on host/destination computer –

1. To ensure that you’ll be able to remotely connect to a target computer, login while seated at it and check that Remote Desktop connections are enabled in its System Properties.

a. Windows 7 Right click Computer, select Properties.  Windows 10 Right click File Explorer and choose Properties

Windows 7 and Windows 10                                                                        



b. Select ‘Remote Settings’ from the left panel of the System Properties window.

c. Both the box for ‘Allow Remote Assistance…’ and the radio button for ‘Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop…’ should be selected – if they are not, you may need assistance from PEIT to change the settings.

d. Press ‘Select Users…’ and check to ensure your NetID is listed as ‘CORNELL\NetID’ – if not, you may need assistance from PEIT to be added.

Submit Computer Support Request


Remotely connecting to host/destination computer –

Note:  If you’re not presently on-campus, you will need to establish a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection before following the remainder of these instructions.  The directions to connect to the Cornell VPN are available from CIT at the link below:

Cornell VPN How-To

1. For Windows 7 Type ‘remote desktop’ in the search field as soon as you click the Start button. In Windows 10 type it into the Search box next to the Start button.

2. Enter your computer name or IP address in the Remote Desktop Connection window and click ‘Connect’.  Note:  this field retains recently connected computer names and IP addresses, so after a successful connection is made, you will normally be able to select it via the drop down menu.

3. You will be prompted for credentials – these should be your Cornell NetID and password that you already use to logon to Windows normally.  If ‘CORNELL \ YourNetID’ does not display automatically, enter it by clicking on ‘Use another account’.

4. The first time you connect, you will likely be prompted regarding authentication because the host system does not have a verifiable certificate.  You may optionally select ‘Don’t ask me again…’ before clicking ‘Yes’ to avoid this prompt in the future.

5. If you see the following ‘Logon Message’ regarding ‘Another user is currently logged on to this computer…’, it is advisable to click ‘No’ and contact the current user to have them log off, or ensure they do not have any open programs and files that would suffer by them being logged off.

6. When you login successfully, you’ll see the normal Windows desktop and taskbar, along with your desktop files and folders.  It is normal for your background to be missing, as aesthetic elements of the OS are often omitted during remote desktop sessions in order to save bandwidth.


7. When you’re ready to end your session, simply log off as you normally would while sitting at the computer.

Note:  You may alternatively choose to Disconnect, which will leave your session active and ready to unlock either physically at the computer or with another remote desktop session.