Remote Access Windows 8 over Internet
With Microsoft announcing plans to shutter its Live Mesh service in February, some users are freaking out because its replacement, the SkyDrive desktop application, lacks some useful features, including remote desktop. But remote desktop functionality is already built into . Here’s how to make it work.
Note: There are two basic reasons why Live Mesh users use remote desktop. The first is to access files on the remote PC and copy them, as needed, to whatever PC they’re currently using. If you need this functionality, the SkyDrive app has you covered via a feature called Remote Fetch, which lets you accessed the file systems of synced PCs via a web interface. But some users simply want to control the PC remotely, as if they were sitting in front of it. This tip covers that second usage scenario.
Remote desktop is a long-time Windows feature that lets you access a remote PC, over your home network or the Internet, and interact with it in a full-screen or windowed interface as if you were sitting in front of that PC. The only difference is speed and, sometimes, graphical fidelity. Here’s an example of a remote desktop session, where the client OS—on the PC you are physically using—is Windows 8 Pro and the remote OS—the one in the window—is .
Remote desktop requires two pieces, one on the PC you wish to remotely access and one on the PC you are currently using. (It may also require a third piece which enables connectivity over the Internet; more on that in a bit.)
The PC that you wish to access remotely needs something called Remote Desktop Host, which is not available in the base, or core, version of Windows 8. This feature requires Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise. (If you are trying to connect to the base version of Windows 8, you will need to upgrade electronically to Windows 8 Pro or seek out a third party remote access solution like VNC. I recommend Windows 8 Pro.)
The PC that you are using to remotely access another PC needs the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) software, which comes for free with every version of Windows (including all Windows 8 versions.)