After a successful connection to a remote desktop, the name of the remote computer is added to the drop-down list in the Computer box. Thereafter, you can simply select it from the list (if it isn't already selected) instead of typing the name each time .

In addition, if Remote Desktop Connection is pinned to your taskbar or Start menu (or if it's in the Start menu's recently used list), the name of each computer to which you've successfully connected appears on the Jump List. By using the Jump List and saved logon credentials, you can bypass this dialog box completely.


Your firewall blocks outbound access

If you use a third-party firewall that blocks unknown outbound traffic to the internet, it prevents your initial attempt to connect to your remote desktop . Configure the firewall to enable Mstsc .exe (the file name of the Remote Desktop Connection program) to make outbound TCP connections on port 3389.

If you're willing to accept the default settings (about which we'll go into great detail later in this section), you can click Connect at this point. Here's what happens next.

Are both your client computer and the remote computer running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2008? In that case, your connection uses Network Level Authentication and displays the Windows Security dialog box shown here. After you enter your credentials and they're approved, Windows initiates the Remote Desktop Connection .

When you connect to a computer running Remote Desktop on an older version of Windows (such as Windows XP or Windows Server 2003), the procedure is different Windows opens a Remote Desktop window (or switches to full screen) and initiates a session to the remote computer, changes the background of the Remote Desktop Connection window to match the settings on the remote machine, and then displays a logon dialog box. When you enter approved credentials, you're given access to your desktop .

If the account you used for the remote connection is already logged on to the remote computer—or if no one is logged on to the remote computer—the remote computer's desktop appears on your computer, either in a window or a full-screen display.

If a different user account is logged on to the remote computer, Windows lets you know that you'll be forcing that person to log off and gives you a chance to cancel the connection . On the other end, the logged-on user sees a similar notification that offers a short time to reject the remote connection before it takes over. It's important to note that only one user at a time can control the desktop of a computer running Windows . Whoever is currently logged on has the final say on whether someone else can log on .

While you're connected to the remote computer, the local display (if it's turned on) does not show what you see on the client computer, but instead shows the Welcome screen . A person who has physical access to the remote computer can't see what you're doing (other than the fact that you are logged on remotely).

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