Windows Remote Desktop allows you or others to connect to your computer remotely over a network connection, effectively accessing everything on your computer as if you were directly connected to it.
Remote access is a useful feature when you need to access your computer from another location, such as when you need to connect to your home computer when you’re at work. A remote connection is also useful in support situations where you help others by connecting to their computers or when you need technical help and want to allow support staff to connect to your computer.
Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 10
When you don’t need the Windows Remote Desktop feature, turn it off to protect your computer from hackers.
- Type “remotesettings” in the Cortana search box and select Allow remote access to your computer . This action seems counterintuitive, but it does open the Remote System Properties Control Panel dialog box.
- Check Do not allow remote connections to this computer .
Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8.1 and 8
In Windows 8.1, the Remote Desktop section was removed from the Remote Desktop tab. To get this functionality back, download the Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store and install it on your Windows 8.1 computer. Once installed and configured, disable it:
- Press Windows + X and select System from the list.
- Click Advanced system settings in the left sidebar.
- Select the Remote tab and check Do not allow remote connections to this computer .
Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8 and Windows 7
To disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8 and Windows 7:
- Click the Start button , and then Control Panel .
- Open System and Security .
- Select System in the right pane.
- Select Remote Settings in the left pane to open the Remote tab System Properties dialog box .
- Click Do not allow connections to this computer , and then click OK .
The risks of running Remote Desktop
While Windows Remote Desktop is useful, it can be used by hackers to gain control of your system to install malware or steal personal information. It’s a good idea to keep the feature off unless you need it. You can easily disable it, and you should unless you need the service. In this case, create strong passwords, update software when possible, limit users who can log in, and use firewalls.
Another Windows utility, Windows Remote Assistance, works similar to Remote Desktop, but is specifically geared towards remote support and configured differently with different requirements. You may also want to disable this option, using the same System Properties dialog as Remote Desktop.
Alternatives to Windows Remote Desktop
Windows Remote Desktop isn’t the only software for remote computer connections. Other remote access options are available. Alternatives for remote desktop connections include the following:
- LogMeIn gives you remote access to your PC or Mac from a desktop, mobile device, or browser. Its premium features include file sharing, file transfer, and remote printing. LogMeIn requires an account subscription on your computer.
- TeamViewer controls another PC remotely. Designed for collaboration and information sharing, the free TeamViewer puts the emphasis on private data, conversations, and meetings.
- AnyDesk allows you to make a remote desktop connection to access your programs and files from anywhere without having to put them in a cloud service. AnyDesk is free for personal use; commercial use requires a subscription.
- Chrome Remote Desktop is cross-platform software for Windows, MacOS, and Linux computers that allows users to remotely access another computer through the Chrome browser or from most devices, including Chromebooks. Chrome Remote Desktop is free.
- VNC Connect remote access and control software lets you interact with a desktop or mobile device anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don’t need to be the same type, so you can use VNC Connect to view a Windows desktop in the office from a Mac or Linux computer. A limited non-commercial version of VNC Connect is free. Professional versions are available for a price.