Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Remote Desktop is an effective way to connect to a Windows computer from anywhere on the network. It allows you to access local drives, printers, and files as if you were physically present. However, problems arise when trying to connect to multiple computers on the network from outside of it. While access from within the network is granted to all clients with RDP enabled, connecting via RDP from outside the network, such as through a router, is only possible for one computer. This limitation exists because all computers on the network use the same RDP port.

Consider this: Your desktop is set up for remote connections via the default RDP port. You’re at a friend’s house and you need access to your desktop. You would connect as usual, implicitly defining the default 3389 port. Your router at home forwards these remote requests to your desktop. But what happens when you need access to your laptop? You can’t forward RDP requests to two computers without using a different port for each.

To solve this issue, you would explicitly create a new RDP port on the laptop, update the router settings accordingly, and then you’ll be able to connect to either the laptop or desktop without any problems.

Let me show you how it’s done.

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Change the RDP Port Number in the Registry

Step 1. Find Regedit in the Start menu to open the Registry Editor.

Navigate through the folders on the left to find the RDP-Tcp folder in this path.

We’re looking to change the DWORD (32-bit) Value for PortNumber.

It’s best to save yourself from future issues by backing up your registry. See how to backup your registry here.

Step 2. Double click PortNumber in the right pane and then select Decimal for the Base type. Selecting Hexadecimal would require you to know the equivalent hex value of the common decimal value.

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

The default value is 3389, but you can change it to anything you like. I find it useful to modify the digits up or down by only one value at a time for easy recall.

Note: If your ultimate plan is to make RDP port number changes to multiple computers on your network, it’s best to write down the computer and port number for later reference. These steps are the same for every computer you need to modify.

Allow the Port Through the Firewall

The port has been set, so we must inform the Windows Firewall that it’s safe to communicate through. By default, port 3389 is allowed, but since we changed it, we also need to modify the firewall settings.

Step 1. Search for “Windows Firewall” in the Start menu and open “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.”

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Step 2. Right-click Inbound Rules and choose New Rule.

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Step 3. We need to go through this wizard to finish adding this rule. Select Port on the first step, then continue to the Protocols and Ports page.

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Choose TCP and enter the port you chose in the registry next to Specific local ports.

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Click “Next” and choose “Allow the connection” in the “Action” window. The next page is for selecting the profiles in which this port should be allowed on. These will change according to your desire and necessity. I’ve kept all of these checked for myself.

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

The final step is to name the new rule. Indicate the purpose of the rule for future modifications. Follow these steps on every machine undergoing the RDP port change.

Assign the Port Through the Router

After setting up and allowing the port through the firewall, the next step is to link the new port number to the specific internal IP address for proper understanding of outside requests.

Step 1. Access your router’s configuration page: http://192.168.1.2. Step 2. Locate the Single Port Forwarding section, similar to when setting up an FTP server. Step 3. Provide a descriptive name for identifying the computer, along with the port number from the registry change.

For instance, we named it Desktop to denote our computer, and in the External Port and Internal Port sections, we input the port number modified earlier: 3388.

The local IP address is required for the destination address on the right, as seen in the above image. Find your local IP address by opening Command Prompt from the Start menu and entering ipconfig. Find the IPv4 Address of each computer and assign it to the port number and description in the router accordingly.

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Connecting With the New Port

When the port is changed, connecting to a remote computer via Remote Desktop is different. By default, port 3389 is used, so no extra text is required for the connection. However, since we’ve changed the port, we need to adjust the connection method.

With Remote Desktop open, enter the computer name in this format:

Enable Remote Desktop for Multiple Computers on a Network

Here are examples of changed port numbers in the router:

– REMOTESERVER, SERVERNAME, and COMPUTER will be the name of the computer you’re connecting to.

Conclusion

These instructions are vital for accessing your computer on a network with other RDP clients. Set them up to access your home laptops and other computers remotely from any network.

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