Remote into your PC from anywhere

Published March 4, 2024, 8 p.m. by Admin

Being able to access your desktop remotely can be essential for many individuals. Whether your desktop contains all your files, necessary applications, or simply possesses the processing power required to accomplish tasks efficiently, having remote access can be invaluable. Personally, it enables me to utilize the computing capabilities of my powerful desktop computer, which would otherwise be expensive and cumbersome to replicate in a laptop.

However, the expenses associated with remote desktop applications can be prohibitive, and free options may raise concerns about privacy. Fortunately, there is a solution available that may suit your needs.

In this article, we'll discuss the steps required to set up a remote desktop using Microsoft Professional's free remote desktop application. For this solution, you'll need two Windows computers with Windows Pro installed, internet access, and NordVPN, which offers a secure solution for this purpose.

If you don't already have NordVPN, you can obtain the service using this link: NordVPN. Considering the cost of NordVPN compared to other remote desktop programs, this setup presents a cost-effective alternative. Additionally, if you don't have windows Pro, it's easy to upgrade and there are various sites that will give you a Windows Pro key for under $15 dollars.

This article will be broken down into three parts:

  1. Checking windows is setup correctly for remote PC
  2. Setting up windows if not setup correctly
  3. Using Nord VPN to remote from anywhere

1. Checking windows is setup correctly for remote PC

Before remotely accessing our PC from anywhere, it's advisable to ensure that our Windows settings are configured correctly and to establish a remote connection while both PCs are on the same network. While this step isn't strictly necessary, it serves as a precautionary measure to confirm remote access and rule out potential issues such as interference from NordVPN. If you can successfully establish a remote connection, you can skip to step 3. However, if you encounter difficulties accessing your PC while on the same network, it's recommended to follow step two in this guide.

  1. Open up cmd on the computer you want to remote into

    On the computer you want remote access to within your current network, click on the windows icon and then type "cmd" and click on the "Command Prompt application"

    Windows search bar for cmd with Command Prompt application showing.
  2. Find your subnet IP address of the computer you want to remote into

    With command prompt application open, type in "ipconfig" and press Enter. Part of the information shown will be your subnet IP address, which is the IP address of your computer within your current network and will usually start with 192.168.1.X, where X would be greater than 1. However, this is not always case and your subnet IP-address may be different. See the image below for an example of my subnet IP address.

    Output of command ipconfig within the command window application showing an example of a subnet IP address.
  3. Remote into the the computer

    On the seperate computer that you want to use to remote into another computer (not the one that we just captured the IP address for), open the start window and type in "Remote desktop" and select the "Remote Desktop Connection" application.

    Searching for remote desktop with remote desktop connection application showing.

    Now type in the subnet IP address you just captured and select connect. If you are unable to connect, you either didn't use the right ip address or you don't have your windows accounts setup correctly. See step 2 for instructions on how setup your computer to allow for remote connection.

    Remote Desktop Connection prompt to enter in IP address of computer.

    Select "Yes" when the warning pops up

    Warning about remoting into the PC.

2. Setting up windows if not setup correctly

If you're unable to remote onto another PC while logged into the same Microsoft account, it could be due to an incorrect password setup on either of the computers you're using. Using a one-time passcode or another login method besides your Microsoft password might cause the remote desktop connection to fail without explanation. Initially, when connecting your account to Microsoft, you must use your Microsoft password. However, if you've set up Windows with an alternative method or encounter difficulties in remote accessing another PC, you can resolve this issue by following these straightforward steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Store

    Select the windows icon and search for Microsoft Store, you will see the application appear that is shown in the image. Open up this application

    Searching for Microsoft Store in the windows search bar.
  2. Log out and log back into Microsoft store

    If you're currently logged into the store, sign out by clicking on the icon with your login credentials and then clicking "Sign out".

    Window of signing out of the Microsoft store.

    Once signed out, click on the sign in button

    Window showing signing into the Microsoft store.
  3. Select the Microsoft account

    If you're already signed into a Microsoft account, you will see your account on the prompt. If this is the account you want to use, click the account name and then click continue. If this is not the account you want to use or you do not see an account, click on "Microsoft account" and follow the instructions to find your account.

    Prompt to select a Microsoft account.
  4. Login using your password instead of your pin or a "One Time Password".

    When prompted for providing your credentials, do not provide anything other than your Microsoft password to login. This is necessary to validate your windows to enable remote desktop. With that in mind, if prompted for a pin, select "Use a method not listed here" and if prompted to use a code, select "Use your password instead".

    Microsoft prompt asking for pin. Microsoft prompt asking use a one time code.
  5. Sign in with using your Microsoft credentials

    If you made it this far, all that's left to do is enter your Microsoft password credential. Once this is done on both computers, you should be able to remote connect both computers

    Microsoft prompt asking for the users password.

    3. Using Nord VPN to remote from anywhere

    This process utilizes Meshnet to enable your PC to remotely access your personal network from any internet connection. Once connected, you can initiate a remote connection and access a PC within your network. I often utilize my phone's hotspot for internet access and remotely connect to my desktop from wherever I need to work.

    1. On both pc's enable Meshnet.

      After installing NordVPN on both computers, enable Meshnet on both computers. This can be done by selecting the Meshnet Icon on the NordVPN application.

      Nord VPN application with Meshnet tab selected.
    2. Route all traffic from current computer to the computer you want to remote into

      On the device you want to remote into, click the "..." icon and select manage device.

      Nord VPN application showing option to manage device.

      Click on route all traffic

      Nord VPN application showing option to route all traffic.
    3. Initiate remote connection

      Copy the IP address of the computer you just routed all traffic through.

      Nord VPN application showing option to cop IP address.

      Click on the windows icon and search for remote desktop and select Remote Desktop Connection

      Searching for remote desktop with remote desktop connection application showing.

      Paste the IP addressed copied and select connect

      Select "Yes" when the warning pops up

      Windows remote desktop application showing start of IP address copied.

      Select "Yes" when the warning pops up

      Warning about remoting into the PC.
    † Links to NordVPN are affiliate links. These links help fund this costs associated with this site without any additional cost to you.

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