How to Fix: Remote Desktop Missing (settings via System Properties)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Sam R. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

The other day I wanted to connect to my wife's PC using Remote Desktop, but the Remote Desktop settings are missing. I've right clicked 'This PC', then selected Properties, then clicked on the 'Remote Desktop' link, but all I see is an option for 'Remote assistance' - there is no option for 'Remote Desktop' as there is on my machine. She is running Windows 10 Home. What gives? "

My response:

Unfortunately, there is no way to manage the Remote Desktop service using Windows Home versions; you need the "Pro" version of Windows to be able to use the Remote Desktop service on your PC in order to accept Remote Desktop connections. This 'rule' applies for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10. For the record, "Remote Assistance," is an entirely different beast.

There is however a freeware workaround to allow Remote Desktop connections to your PC using the Remote Desktop service, called "RDP Wrapper".

How to Fix: Remote Desktop Missing (settings via System Properties)

Not long ago RDP Wrapper was developed to make it possible to use concurrent (multiple) Remote Desktop connections for regular Windows desktop users. For example: if you try and use Remote Desktop to connect to a Windows PC while someone is currently using that PC, the local user would get disconnected in order to allow the remote connection.

On the other hand, RDP Wrapper works by allowing concurrent Remote Desktop sessions and won't disconnect the current local user (providing you're attempting to login with a different user name) - plus you can have as many remote connections to a Windows PC as you want. This is similar to how Remote Desktop works on Windows Server. I have been using RDP Wrapper for years on my home "server" computer (which isn't running Windows Server) - and I can tell you it is incredibly useful.

With that out of the way - the most important point in all of this is that RDP Wrapper also enables the Remote Desktop service on Windows Home PC's. In other words, you don't need to own a Pro version of Windows so that you can use the Remote Desktop service on your Windows Home machine (in order to allow Remote Desktop connections coming into the machine). This also means you'll be able to use Remote Desktop service to connect to your wife's PC, as per the original question. Whew - that was a lot of explaining!

How to Install RDP Wrapper

Downloading and installing RDP Wrapper is a bit tricky because the website (github) doesn't have a "download link" directly on the site - it users a "releases" link. Besides that, the installation documentation isn't the greatest. I'll explain in detail how to install RDP Wrapper below, step-by-step:

  1. First, download RDP Wrapper using the "releases" link.
     
  2. Next, look for the "Downloads" heading; you should see a .ZIP file for RDP Wrapper - click that to download RDP Wrapper. Currently the latest version is RDP Wrapper-v1.6.1.zip as of February 17, 2017.
     
  3. Go to the folder containing the RDP Wrapper download, then right click the file and select "Extract All". This will extract all the contents of the RDP Wrapper program.
     
  4. Once the contents are extracted, right click the install.bat and select "Run as Administrator". This will install the RDP Wrapper service on your system using a command prompt.
     
  5. Once the installation is complete, close the command prompt window. Then, double click on the "RDPCheck" executable file. This will attempt a Remote Desktop connection on 127.0.0.2 (which is your local machine) using a scaled Remote Desktop window. If successful, you should see a Windows login screen, but it will likely error out telling you that "access is denied" - likely because you need to supply a second user name and password - more detail about that below.

At this point the RDP Wrapper should be successfully installed.

Remote Desktop using Multiple User Accounts

If you intend to use multiple user accounts to remotely connect to a machine using RDP Wrapper, there are a few tips to take note of:

  1. Create at least two user accounts on the machine you wish to connect to: one being the main user account and the other being a remote account with a password (for example).
     
  2. The user account on the remote machine must be password protected for Remote Desktop to work - in other words, no blank passwords are accepted - otherwise, Remote Desktop will deny the connection.
     
  3. Following with Rule #2 above, you cannot Remote Desktop using the Administrator user, unless the Administrator user has been password protected.
     
  4. If you intend to Remote Desktop into your own machine from your own desktop, you must use a different user account for the remote connection. In other words, if you are signed in as "Joe" you will have to create "Joe Too" user with a password, and then you can "remote" into the same machine.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, and if you need help using RDP Wrapper - or virtualizing your machine - I can help using my remote desktop service (different than the one described in this article). Simply contact me briefly describing your situation, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

URTcel's picture

When you click the link in Step One the browser displays a "Page not found - GitHub" message. However entering "rdp wrapper" in the "Find code, projects, and people on GitHub" search field and clicking on the first result takes you to the proper source.

Dennis Faas's picture

Fixed - thanks. I did a 'search and replace' in the editor when I wrote this, and it must have changed the link on me.