home Computers Connect to Your Windows XP Professional Computer Through a Router

Connect to Your Windows XP Professional Computer Through a Router

For those of you who want to work from you home PC from somewhere else, you have probably discovered the beauty of Remote Desktop Connection. This is a standard program in Windows XP Professional. It can be a hassle to use it, especially if you have a router. I’ll explain it in more detail.

How Do I Activate it On My Computer?

Make sure Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is enabled.

  1. Right click on My Computer.
  2. Click on Properties.
  3. Click the Remote tab.
  4. Make sure “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” is checked. If you are not an Administrator on this computer you will need to click the button “Select Remote Users…” and Add yourself as a user. See the screenshot below.

System Properties for Remote Desktop
Note: Your account needs to have a password on it or else it won’t let you connect to your computer. So if no accounts have passwords on them, it will be impossible to connect. My rule of thumb is, have one administrator account with a password.

How Do I Connect If My Computer is Not Connected to a Router

You need to know the ip address of your computer. This is a value given to your computer from your internet service provider.

This is how to get your ip address.

  1. Click on Start -> Run.
  2. Command Prompt

  3. Type cmd in the text field and click OK. A black window will open.
  4. Type ipconfig and press Enter. A bunch of data will spit be displayed.
  5. IPConfig

  6. Write down the value of the I.P. Address. You can see mine is

You also need to have the RDC client installed on the “other” computer you will be using to connect to your computer.

To get the RDC client, it is available free on the internet or at the Microsoft site here. If this link didn’t work just do a search for “rdc client download” on google and you will find a site. The program will work on all versions of Windows down to Windows 95. Simply download the client and install it on the computer.

When you are finished installing. The program usually installs itself to Start->All Programs->Accessories->Communications->Remote Desktop. If it isn’t there you might have to look around to see where you installed it.

Remote Desktop Client

Open the program and in the text field for Computer, type in the ip address you recorded in the steps above. Then click Connect. It should bring you to the login screen of you home computer. You should be able to use your login and password to access it.

Remote Desktop Client

After that, you should feel like your at home!

How Do I Connect to My Computer When I Am Connected To A Router?

This is the fun one. How do you even know if you are behind a router? Well if your ip address starts with 192.168 like mine above, chances are that you will be. This stops most people from using RDC if they aren’t tech savvy enough to dig around. There are 4 main steps to this.

  1. Make sure RDC is enabled on your computer (the steps above).
  2. Find out the ip address of your computer on your home network (internal ip). These are the same steps listed above for finding your ip.
  3. Create a firewall rule to direct RDC network traffic to your computer.
  4. Find out the ip address of you router (external ip).

Steps 1 and 2 are already listed above.

Create a Firewall Rule On Your Router

This is basically the way you tell your router to direct anything RDP traffic to your computer at home.

  1. Open up Internet Explorer (or whatever browser you use).
  2. Type the address in the address bar. (or whatever the address is of your router if it is different). Hit enter. If you are prompted for a login/password it might be admin/admin. If it isn’t you will need to read the manual to find it out or talk to whomever set up your router for you. Note: It is not the same password as your wireless internet.
  3. Find the section for Firewall rules. On my D-Link I go to Advanced and Firewall.
  4. Add a rule. Call it “Remote Desktop”. The source ip can be any (so use *). The destination will be LAN and the ip address of you computer that you found in the steps above. The protocol is TCP. The port is 3389. Here is the example setup for my D-Link configuration for Remote Desktop.
    D-Link Firewall Configuration
  5. Save this firewall rule. You might have to restart your router if necessary.

Now your router should direct any requests for RDP to your computer.

Find the IP Address of My Router

This can be done by simply going to one of those “Whats my IP?” web pages. I wrote one here. Just record the number at the top of the page.

Use the RDC Client and Connect

Make sure the RDC client is installed on the other computer and connect using your router’s ip address found in the previous step. The procedure is the same as the RDC client steps for the non router version above.

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