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Using Remote Desktop in Windows XP Professional with your Handheld PC


Applies To

  • Handheld PC Professional, SP1
  • Handheld PC 2000
  • Windows CE .net 4.0, 4.1, 4.2
  • Windows CE 5.0


Windows XP Professional edition is equipped with a scaled down version of the Windows 2000 server Terminal Server (Remote Desktop) service. Remote Desktop allows you to remotely connect to your PC, view and interact with your user account on that PC directly from your Handheld PC.

This article discusses how to setup both your Windows XP Professional PC and Handheld PC to connect using Remote Desktop.

More Info

Remote Desktop is only available in Windows XP Professional. Users of Windows XP Home Edition lack this functionality in their operating system and may wish to explore using VNC.

Unlike its Server counterpart, Remote Desktop under Windows XP only allows a single user to be logged onto any given system at any given time. Equally, unlike under a Server, the connection is initiated in what is known as Console mode, where by when you log in you see your user account as it would be displayed if you were working at the physical workstation.

Due to these conditions, when you log into the computer remotely, all other users will be logged off from the computer, and the computer itself will be locked pending your log-off or administrator intervention. In Console mode, all changes you make to the layout or configuration of the session, such as icon layouts, schemes and so on are binding to the user account you view on the PC.

How-to Guide

In order to configure the Windows XP Professional computer you need to hold Administrative privileges to log onto the local system. Users who's systems are members of an Active Directory domain may require elevated privileges within Group Policy before they can make changes to the Remote Desktop settings.

Before you can proceed, all users accounts with which you plan to grant access over Remote Desktop must have a strong password assigned to them. Failing to adhere to strong password guidelines may leave your system vulnerable to attack from the Internet.
Remote Desktop will not allow connections to be established using log-in credentials that lack a password. If you need to assign a password, see the User Accounts area of the Windows Control Panel or consult with your administrator.

HPC:Factor recommends that all users install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) as a starting point for the latest security enhancements and Remote Desktop stability improvements.

Configure Remote Desktop

  1. Click Start, Select the Control Panel
  2. Open the System Properties Applet
  3. Click to open the Remote tab
  4. Note down the value listed beneath Full computer name: (GBCVAL1811624 in the above example)
  5. Place a check mark in the 'Allow users to connect remotely to this computer'
  6. Click Select Remote Users...
  7. Click the Add... button
  8. In the Select Users dialogue box, type the name of you user account and then click OK (Click Advanced... to browse for users)
  9. Click OK again to return to the System Properties dialogue box, and then click OK to close it

Remote Desktop will now be enabled on your computer, and if applicable the Windows XP firewall will be configured to allow connections to be made to the Remote Desktop server.

Configuring your Firewall, Router or ICS to allow RDP Connections

If your network environment extends beyond that of the single workstation, and you make use of a Wired / Wireless router to connect to the Internet, use a hardware firewall or your Remote Desktop enabled machine connects to the Internet using another PC running Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing. You will need to make changes to your network configuration to allow external access to the Remote Desktop Server.

Remote desktop simplifies the configuration process for TCP connections by only requiring bi-directional access through one TCP/IP port.
You should configure your Hardware/Software firewall, or the NAT port forwarding on your Router to relay TCP port 3389 to the RDP enabled Windows XP Professional PC.
The configuration steps to do this will vary between the software program used to configure your network and security devices. The Remote Desktop configuration procedure outlined about should have automatically configured the Windows XP firewall settings for you, but it is advisable to manually confirm this to avoid troubleshooting steps in the future.

For Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) connections you can configure port redirection in the advanced settings for the connection. For more information on Internet Connection Sharing see CESD-C-0007.

Configuring the Handheld PC

To connect to your Windows XP Professional Remote Desktop enabled computer from the Handheld PC over a Local Area Network (LAN) you should use the computer name which you noted down in Step 4 of the Configure Remote Desktop section.
If you plan to connect from outside your Network, from the Internet you should use your Internet IP address. You can use free services such as WhatIsMyIP on your Windows XP PC to ascertain your external IP.

If the connection is successful, and you have correctly configured the Remote Desktop port forwarding you will be presented with the log-in prompt.

For more detailed information on using the Windows CE Terminal Server Client (TSC) to connect to Remote Desktop, see CESD-S-0065.

See Also

CESD-S-0065 - Windows CE RDP Client (Terminal Server Client) 4.0
CESD-S-0066 - Remote Desktop Client for Windows CE Download
CESD-C-0007 - Internet Connection Sharing for Windows - Support Articles