RDP via Windows XP

There are TWO parts to these instructions.

First: you need to set up RDP on your XP machine at work.

Second: you need to set up an RDP connection on your PC at home.

Part 1: Set up RDP on your XP PC

Important: The following needs to be done on your work PC before connecting from home.

You must have administrative rights on your work PC in order to follow these instructions. Please check with your local IT support before proceeding.

First you need to verify that you have the Remote Desktop Connection software pre-installed The software should be pre-installed with Windows XP. If you don't have it, you will need to install it before proceeding on to the other steps.

A. Check if the software is installed.

1. Go to:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications >

If you see Remote Desktop Connection listed, then you have the software installed.

2. Now scroll down to section C: Enable your computer as the Host.

If you don't see Remote Desktop Connection listed, you will need to install it from your Windows XP Professional/Home Edition product CDs.

B. Install the client software

2. Insert the Windows XP CD into your CD-ROM drive.

3. When the Welcome page appears, click Perform additional tasks, and then click Setup Remote Desktop Connection as shown below.

Welcome screen
Set up Remote Desktop Connection

4.When the installation wizard starts, follow the directions that appear on your screen.

5. Agree to the license agreement.

6. Enter your personal information and click Next.

Customer information

7. Finish the installation and you will now have Remote Desktop Installed on your XP system.

C. Enable your computer as the Host

Before you use Remote Desktop, your system has to be set up properly to allow it to be controlled. To do that, you will need to make a setting change in the System Properties.

8. Log in as an Administrator (or as a member of the Administrators group)

9. Open the System Applet in the Control Panel: click Start > Control Panel > System Applet > Remote Tab.

10. On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box, as shown below.

11. Click on the Select Remote Users... button


12. Make sure that you have the proper permissions to connect to a computer remotely, and click OK.

RDP user permissions
D. Remote Desktop and Service Pack 2

If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and you enable Remote Desktop, Windows Firewall will be automatically configured to allow Remote Desktop connections to your computer. There is one exception; this will not happen unless you have the Windows Firewall configured to allow no exceptions

How can I find out if I am running Service Pack 2?

If you are NOT running XP with Service Pack 2, then scroll down to section E.

13. Open the Control Panel, Double Click the Security Center applet.


14. When the Windows Security Center opens, under Manage security settings, click on Windows Firewall.

Windows firewall

15. Make sure you Clear the check box next to Don't allow exceptions.


16. Click OK to save your changes.Once you have enabled your Windows XP computer to allow remote connections, and installed client software on a Windows-based client computer, you are ready to start a Remote Desktop session.

E. Make a note of your IP address

17. Click on: Start > Run

18. In the Open box, type: cmd.

19. In the window that opens, type: ipconfig

20. Make a note of of your IP Address. (Remember to take this home with you!!)

Please do not switch your machine off when you leave work. It needs to be left on in order for you to connect from home.

Now proceed to Part 2: Set up an RDP connection on your home PC.

Part 2: Set up an RDP connection on your home PC

IMPORTANT: The following needs to be done on your home PC, once you have set up the Remote Desktop software on your PC at work.

Before following the instructions below, ensure that your home machine is first connected to the UCL network via VPN if you have not down so already. Then return to these instructions.

A: Create a new Remote Desktop Connection

1.To open a Remote Desktop Connection click on:

Start > Add Programs > Accessories > Communications > Remote Desktop Connection.

2. Next to Computer, type in the IP address you made a note of at work. (Remember, it has to be ‘allowed’ to be controlled first).

3. Fill in your credentials, Domain if needed, save the connection as a ‘profile’ so you can quickly go back to it later and use it again. 

(Remember, you need to enter the username and password for the machine - which may be different from your UCL userid and password.)

We don’t recommend checking the Save my password check box.


4. Once you have put in your credentials and all other pertinent information, click Connect.

Your request will now be sent to the system you want to connect to. The Log On to Windows dialog box appears.

5. In the Log On to Windows dialog box, type your user name, password, and domain (if required), and then click OK.

(Remember, you need to enter the username and password for the machine - which may be different from your UCL userid and password.)

The Remote Desktop window will open and you will see the desktop settings, files, and programs that are the system. 


  • The system that is in the corporate network can remain locked and safe while you are now inside it, working on it. Whatever you are doing cannot be seen by someone watching the console at work.
  • Tip! To edit an *.rdp file and change the connections settings it contains, right-click the file and then click Edit.
B: To log off and end the session

6. In the Remote Desktop Connection window click: Start > Shut Down.

The Shut Down Windows dialog box appears.

7. In the drop-down menu, select Log Off <username>.

8. Click OK.