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Remote Desktop

What is Remote Desktop?

Remote Desktop enables you to connect to your computer across the Internet from virtually any computer. Unlike a VPN connection, Remote Desktop will actually allow you to see and control your connected PC as though you were actually sitting in front of it.

This page will detail the use of a free, easy to use Windows utility, however be aware that other downloadable apps available for your smartphone or tablet computer may give you the same functionality.

Who can use Remote Desktop?

Anyone with an office computer on the Ross network can use Remote Desktop to remotely access their office computer.

(Students looking to remotely access a Ross lab virtual machine can use the Virtual Computer Lab system instead. More information about the Virtual Computer Lab system can be found by navigating to Instructional Technology, Virtual Computer Lab using the menu at the top of the page.)

What is required to use Remote Desktop?

Both your office computer and the computer you're going to use to remotely connect must meet certain requirements in order to successfully use Remote Desktop.

Office Computer:

  • Windows 10/8/7/Vista Professional
  • Ethernet cable connection to the Ross network (wireless will not work)
  • Must be configured to run the Remote Desktop Service (see below)
  • Computer must be powered on and in an active (non-sleep, non-hibernation) state

Client (remote) Computer:

  • Internet connection
  • Windows or Mac OS
  • Must have Remote Desktop client software (additional download needed, unless you're running Windows 8/7/Vista Professional)

Configuring your office machine for Remote Desktop (step 1)

Before you can remotely control your office computer, a few settings have to be tweaked in order to allow it to happen. Computing Services has created an automatic program that you can quickly run to do all of this in the background for you.

For Windows 7/8/Vista: First, right-click, "Save As..." and run this Windows Auto-Configuration Utility on your office computer.  You may need to reboot after it finishes.

Secondly, before you leave, you'll need to get the computer name.  This is a unique ID you'll type into the remote computer in order to initiate the connection. To find the name of your office computer, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, System
  2. Scroll down to find the "Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings" section.
  3. Find the full computer name (it will look like, and write it down.

For Windows 10 Image (Ross):

  1. Click on the start button and locate the RossIT folder in the menu list
  2. Click on the Ross Remote Desktop AutoConfig program
  3. In the AutoConfig window, make sure there is a bullet in “enabled”
  4. Note the connection string “”

Connecting to your office computer from a remote computer (step 2)

Once you've pre-configured your office computer to accept incoming connections using the steps above, do the following on the remote computer in order to initiate the connection.

On Windows 7/8/Vista:

  1. Find and run the Remote Desktop program (typically found under the Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications menu).
  2. In the blank field that comes up, enter the full computer name you wrote down earlier, appending it with :7678, as seen below.
  3. Click Connect.

On Windows 10 (Ross) Image:

  1. Click on the magnifying glass near the bottom-left of the screen.
  2. Type “remote desktop” and select “remote desktop connection app.
  3. Type in the full connection string: “” (without quotes).
  4. Click Connect.

If your remote computer is a Mac, you'll have to download, install, and run the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Macs. Once installed, you can follow the same directions.


There are a number of reasons you may be unable to connect.  The most obvious thing to check is to make sure you have an active internet connection on both ends.  Next, be sure you aren't running any kind of Firewall service that is blocking the connection.  Verify that you wrote down the correct computer name and are appending it exactly as shown.  If you're still unable to connect, it may be due to your local ISP not having up-to-date domain name service information for your office computer. You will then have to connect using your office computer's IP address. 

You can find your office computer's IP address by downloading and running theOffice Machine IP Lookup Utility from your office computer, and using that number instead of the computer name.