Controlling WINDOWS based system using an Android device: A tutorial on configuring Microsoft Remote Desktop app

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Problem:
I have two computers in my home an old PC and a new PC, both are windows based systems. I use my new pc with great care and one should do, but I treat my old pc very bad. First of all the old pc is a pentium 3, 667 MHZ ( that is 0.667 GHZ) with 192 MB of DDR 1 ram and only 30 GB of hard disk, yes that’s very old, running Windows XP (another reason of hating it). So, I use this pc for testing and downloading purposes only. It’s always running usually for no specific reason :P .
Now, I don’t want to spend extra money on buying a keyboard, mouse and lcd/monitor to control/use this pc. What to do? How to control it?

Eureka: Remote Desktop VS KVM Switch
There are two solutions of the problem one is using KVM swtich and the other is Remote Dekstop. KVM switch is hardware based solution. KVM basically stands for Keyboard, Video, Mouse switch. There are a wide variety of KVM switches available in market. What I did was,  I bought a D-link KVM switch, 2 to 1 KVM swtich to be precise, basically you can control 2 different PCs with one keyboard, mouse. My problem was solved temporarily but D-link is a pathetic company, one fine day the switch started malfunctioning and my 20$ were wasted. By the way, I have a very bad experience with D-link devices, prior to using the KVM switch I had used a D-link wireless router and same thing happened to it. I advise you to avoid using D-link devices as much as possible also, recently its been in the news that from security point of view D-link routers are not safe to use, as they have a back door in them.

After my KVM swtich broke down my old pc was finally at rest, maybe it was a good thing for my PC but not for me. I wanted to make it alive but this time I didn’t want to spend money. So, here is when comes Windows Remote Desktop feature comes.

Remote Desktop: A blessing
Ever thought of controlling a computer in your network (local area network : LAN) without sitting in front of it and without the need of any hardware ? Yes, remote desktop can do this. Windows based operating systems have a built in Remote desktop feature, you specify the IP address, username and password of the pc you want to control (In my case, its  my old pc) and a screen pops up showing your other pc. That’s it, very simple and to the point. Following figure shows a remote desktop connection being established. Remote PC is running Windows 7 while host system is using Windows 8.remote dekstop _ pre

Controlling PC/LAPTOP with an android device
Recently, Microsoft has launched apps of Remote Desktop for both Android and iOS platform. Which means, now its not necessary for you to use a windows based system to control/monitor the remote computer. Lets jump to the configuration part.

Platform: Windows 8 (our remote pc, it will work on Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista etc. too), HTC ONE V (the android device, my device is rooted but its not necessary at all)
Software: Microsoft Remote Desktop version 8.0.1.24115
Assumption: All systems must be residing in the same local area network.

Steps:
1. You have to enable remote desktop settings, on default remote desktop is not enabled.
Go to Computer. ( I always say My Computer) 3

2. Right click on the computer icon and click on ‘Properties’. 4

3. A new window will pop up, on the left side ‘Remote settings’ button will be available,  click on it.5

4. Another window will pop up, tick the options as shown in the figure below.6

5. Click on the ‘Advanced’ button and tick the ‘Allow this computer to be controlled remotely’ option also change the number of days to 30. Once done click ‘OK’.7

6. Click ‘Apply’ and then press ‘OK’. Your system is now configured to connect remotely. 8

7. We now need the IP address, username and password of this pc. I have only one user account on this PC, the username is: “AIS LAB PC14” (replace dashes with space) and password is “password“. name of your pc

8. To find the IP address, go to network and sharing center, I am using a wired connection so I will be choosing ‘Ethernet’ connection.
Ethernet status will show, click on details and note down the IP address i.e. “10.2.31.164“. I recommend you to hard code your IP address so that, each time your computer restarts, same IP address is assigned to it.

2

9. Now we need to install the app. I prefer to download the app from Play Store, but unfortunately at my place I can’t download it. Anyway, here is the link to play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.rdc.android link

10. I downloaded the APK myself from some other website and placed it in my memory card.
1

11. Time to install this app. Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-54-04

Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-54-17

12. Click “Install” and the APP will start installing itself.

Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-54-32

13. Installation in progress.

Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-54-40

14. Click launch and APP will be launched.

Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-55-07

15. This is how it will look like. Click on the “+” icon at the bottom left to create a connection Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-55-20

16. Before you move on, make sure you are connected to the network (wi-fi).Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-55-40

17. Fill the required details.Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-56-18

18. Name the connection name to anything, in PC name you have to provide the IP address. I didn’t configure that Gateway option, so leave it.Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-59-12

19. Fill the username and password fields. After that click on the tick icon present on the top right corner.Screenshot_2013-10-25-14-59-22

20. Now we can see a remote desktop connection. Click on it to establish the session. Screenshot_2013-10-25-15-00-09

21. Untrusted Certificate warning will show up, click “Trust Always” and continue.  Screenshot_2013-10-25-15-00-26

22. *Ta daa* Successfully the remote desktop connection is established. I can control this machine from my android device.Screenshot_2013-10-25-15-07-34

23. Following picture shows that PC is being used by HTC-ONE-V.IMG_20131025_150628

24. Swipe the screenScreenshot_2013-10-25-15-07-21

25. Keyboard option.Screenshot_2013-10-25-15-07-51

26. Viewing the task manager of remote pc. I can do almost anything I want.Screenshot_2013-10-25-15-08-21

 

This is it, I hope this tutorial helps you. Your feedback is what I need. Thanks

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2 thoughts on “Controlling WINDOWS based system using an Android device: A tutorial on configuring Microsoft Remote Desktop app

    MMA (@stolidflower) said:
    October 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I got your Cloud machine IP Address :P……….Any how you have improved yourself :)

    Fred said:
    October 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!

    Extremely useful information specially the last part :)
    I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

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