Remote Control of Workstations

How to connect to remote desktops from off campus

Reviewed by Bil Hays 10/02/2016

Protocols used to remotely control workstations such as Remote Desktop and VNC are blocked at the campus border, so to reach them you will need to tunnel in or use the Campus VPN software.

For windows, there are two free approaches, Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) and VNC. Of these, Remote Desktop is preferred:

  • It’s part of the windows OS so it’s updated automagically
  • Performance is quite good
  • Remote Desktop also allows sharing of Disk Drives from the client to the server, facilitating file transfer
  • It is much more secure

Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is part of the Windows operating system, and it allows you to connect the file system of your local computer to a remote one, and to share the desktop of the remote computer giving you control over that system.

You can also connect via remote desktop from OSX or Linux:

If you need to open a hole in your local firewall, remote desktop’s port is 3389, over tcp. Don’t just open it though, you should restrict it in scope to a reasonable range.