How to Set Up Windows for Remote File Access

Introduction

There are dozens of different methods, services, and software programs that will allow you to access the files stored on your Windows 10 machine while you're away from home. Thankfully, Windows 10 already comes equipped with Remote Desktop which allows you to accomplish this without having to purchase anything extra. In this guide, we will demonstrate how to set up Remote Desktop, and get your router prepared for remote connection. This will allow you to access your Windows 10 machine from any other Windows 10 machine while you're on the go.
Before You Begin:
  • You'll need your router's administrative login and password to be able to access port forwarding settings.
Remote File Access
Windows Remote Desktop is available on:
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Education
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
Windows Remote Desktop is not available on Windows 10 Home.

Do I have the right version of Windows 10?

Checking to see what version of Windows 10 you have is easy to do.

  1. Press the Windows key and Pause/Break key on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Windows and Break keys highlighted.
  2. A 'System' window will appear. At the top, under Windows edition, your edition of Windows will be displayed.
    Windows 10 system information with Edition highlighted.

1 Enable Remote Connection

  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu.
  2. Select Settings.
    Windows 10 Settings.
  3. Select System.
    Windows 10 Settings with System highlighted.
  4. Select Remote Desktop on the left, then select Enable Remote Desktop on the right.
    System settings with Remote Desktop and Enable Remote Desktop highlighted.
  5. You will be asked to confirm this choice. Select Confirm.
    Enable Remote Desktop prompt with Confirm highlighted.
  6. Select Advanced settings.
    Remote Desktop with Advanced settings highlighted.
  7. Make sure Require computers to use Network Level Authentication to connect is selected. Look down, and make special note of the Current Remote Desktop Port, you will need to forward this port.
    The default port is 3389.
    Remote Desktop Advanced Settings with Require NLA and Current Port highlighted.

? Would you like help setting up Port Forwarding?

  1. Yes, I would like help setting up Port Forwarding
  2. No, I don't need help

We're here to help!

Connect to a Tech Pro

Call or chat with a Tech Pro 24/7.

There are dozens of different methods, services, and software programs that will allow you to access the files stored on your Windows 10 machine while you're away from home. Thankfully, Windows 10 already comes equipped with Remote Desktop which allows you to accomplish this without having to purchase anything extra. In this guide, we will demonstrate how to set up Remote Desktop, and get your router prepared for remote connection. This will allow you to access your Windows 10 machine from any other Windows 10 machine while you're on the go.
Before You Begin:
  • You'll need your router's administrative login and password to be able to access port forwarding settings.
Remote File Access
Windows Remote Desktop is available on:
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Education
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
Windows Remote Desktop is not available on Windows 10 Home.

Do I have the right version of Windows 10?

Checking to see what version of Windows 10 you have is easy to do.

  1. Press the Windows key and Pause/Break key on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Windows and Break keys highlighted.
  2. A 'System' window will appear. At the top, under Windows edition, your edition of Windows will be displayed.
    Windows 10 system information with Edition highlighted.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu.
  2. Select Settings.
    Windows 10 Settings.
  3. Select System.
    Windows 10 Settings with System highlighted.
  4. Select Remote Desktop on the left, then select Enable Remote Desktop on the right.
    System settings with Remote Desktop and Enable Remote Desktop highlighted.
  5. You will be asked to confirm this choice. Select Confirm.
    Enable Remote Desktop prompt with Confirm highlighted.
  6. Select Advanced settings.
    Remote Desktop with Advanced settings highlighted.
  7. Make sure Require computers to use Network Level Authentication to connect is selected. Look down, and make special note of the Current Remote Desktop Port, you will need to forward this port.
    The default port is 3389.
    Remote Desktop Advanced Settings with Require NLA and Current Port highlighted.

Finding Your Router's IP

  1. Using your right mouse button, right click on the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu.
  2. From the menu, select Windows PowerShell.
    Start menu right-click menu with Windows PowerShell highlighted.
  3. In the PowerShell window, type ipconfig, and press enter.
    PowerShell with ipconfig command highlighted.
  4. Look at the information shown. Find the line that says Default Gateway, and make note of the address. Yours may be different from this example.
    ipconfig output with Default Gateway highlighted.
    Write down the address listed for Default Gateway, you will need it in just a moment.

Open Your Router's Administration Page

  1. Open your preferred web browser. Look for one of these icons.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. Type the address you found above, and press return or enter.
    Browser address bar with address filled in and highlighted.
  3. Type in your router's Administrator username and password, then Log In.
    Router login with username, password, and log in highlighted.
    If you are not sure of your router's username and password, try some of these common defaults:
    • Username:
      • admin
      • administrator
      • user
      • blank (as in, do not put in anything)
    • Password:
      • admin
      • password
      • user
      • blank (as in, do not put in anything)

Set Static IP for Device

Setting a Static IP on your device only refers to your internal, home network. This has no effect on your Internet service.
It is critically important you setup a Static IP for your device, before you setup port forwarding. Without doing so, you could easily lose all your port forwarding setup, and expose other devices that may not be as well-secured to malicious attack on the Internet.
  1. Locate and identify where in your router's interface you can setup an Address Reservation. In this example, it was under Advanced > Setup > LAN Setup, then scroll down to Address Reservation at the bottom.
    Address Reservation on Router.
  2. Select or enter the information required to assign a static address. Make note of the IP address you set as static for your device, you will need it in a moment.
    Creating an Address Reservation.
    Write down the address you just assigned as static, you will need it in just a moment.

Set Up Port Forwarding

  1. Locate the Port Forwarding section of your router's configuration. In this example, it was under Advanced > Advanced Setup > Port Forwarding / Port Triggering.
    Router interface with Port Forwarding located.
  2. Enter the Internal IP you just statically assigned above, and the Port you want to forward, then Apply your changes.
    Applying a port forward.

In order to connect to your computer while you are away, you will need to have the IP address of your home computer. A simple, reliable way to look this up is through a simple Google search.

You need to look this information up while you are still at home; preferably from the computer you intend to remotely access.

  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com and press enter or return on your keyboard.
    Edge browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. In Google's search box, type in "what is my ip" and select Google Search.
    Google search for what is my ip with search box and Google Search box highlighted.
  4. At the very top of the next page, your public IP will be shown.
    Search results with IP address highlighted.

Make special note of this address. You will need it when you are on the road to access your home computer. 

 

  1. Select Start.
    Windows 10 Start Menu.
  2. In your programs list, Expand Windows Accessories, then select Remote Desktop Connection.
    Start Menu program list with Windows Accessories and Remote Desktop Connection highlighted.
    If you need to connect to your computer from macOS, Android, or iOS, visit this webpage to download the appropriate client software:
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/remote/remote-desktop-services/clients/remote-desktop-clients
  3. Enter your home computer's IP address, then select Connect.
    Remote Desktop Connection with Computer IP and Connect button highlighted.
  4. Enter your Home computer's username and password, then select OK.
    Credentials entry with Username Password and OK button highlighted.
  5. Your computer is not certified by a third party verification service. This is normal. Select Yes to continue.
    Certification validation with Yes highlighted.

    It costs money, and a great deal of setup, to get a properly-certified certificate for validation. It is perfectly normal for most people not to have or purchase such a service. 

     
  6. You will now see your Windows desktop, just like you are working from home, with the addition of a special toolbar at the top of the screen to control the remote session. You can use this toolbar to control the remote session.
    Remote Desktop Connection toolbar.
    Pushpin
    Pushpin Keeps the Remote Desktop Toolbar on top of everything.
    Signal
    Signal Show how good of a connection you have to your home computer.
    Address
    AddressShows you the name or address of the remote computer you're connected to.
    Minimize
    Minimize Minimizes the remote session so you can get to your actual computer's desktop.
    Restore
    Restore Turns the remote desktop session into a window you can drag and move around, rather than taking up the full screen.
    Close
    Close Closes the remote session.
If you are a PST, follow the Escalation Process to PTE.
It Can't Happen Here
We use cookies on our website to enhance your experience, analyze site usage and support our marketing efforts. To learn more, visit our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.
Accept