Microsoft recently released an iOS and Android version of their remote desktop application for WIndows 8. Why should you care? Well, if you have a Windows 8 PC at home, this will allow you to access it directly from your Android or iOS device and use it as if you were sitting at it. Now, this concept isn’t a new idea, but the difference here is Windows 8. The latest iteration of Microsoft’s operating system, unlike previous versions of Windows, is optimized (to some extent) for a touch screen which, if you have iOS or Android, you have. See why this might be a much better experience than older versions?

One downside though, to connect to the computer, it has to be running Windows 8 Pro instead of just Windows 8. You can check if you have Windows 8 Pro by doing the following:

  1. Pull your finger in from the right side onto the screen to bring up the Charms menu (or put your cursor in the bottom right corner of the screen if using a mouse).
  2. Then tap the Settings icon.
  3. Tap PC Info.
  4. Look under Windows. If it says Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro, you can continue.

If it says something other than Pro, you can upgrade to Pro via a $99 upgrade.

Also, setting this up isn’t the most straight forward process. With that in mind, I figured I would do a quick video on how to set this up for your specific device. Shall we?

I. Before You Begin

  1. You must have Windows 8 Pro.
  2. Your Windows machine must be left on and connected to your internet where ever it is for this to work.

II. Setup the Windows Machine

  1. Pull your finger in from the right side onto the screen to bring up the Charms menu (or put your cursor in the bottom right corner of the screen if using a mouse).
  2. Tap Search.
  3. Type in system and then tap the System icon that appears below the search box.
  4. In the window that opens, tap on the Remote Settings option on the left side.
  5. Under Remote Desktop, choose Allow remote connections to this computer (you can optionally add more users by clicking Select Users, but your main Windows ID you used for this computer will automatically be enabled).
  6. Click Apply and close the window.

III. Change Your Power Options

  1. To make sure the computer is always on so you can connect to it (it can’t connect if asleep or hibernating either), Pull your finger in from the right side onto the screen to bring up the Charms menu (or put your cursor in the bottom right corner of the screen if using a mouse).
  2. Tap Search.
  3. Type in power options and then tap the Power Options icon that appears below the search box.
  4. Tap Change Plan Settings on the Balanced plan (and make sure that that is the plan you have selected).
  5. Select Never for “Put the computer to sleep:” under Plugged in. This will ensure that if the computer is plugged in it’ll never go to sleep (even if the display turns off) so we can always connect to it when needed.

IV. Get Your IP Address

  1. You need the IP address in order to connect to the computer so pull your finger in from the right side onto the screen to bring up the Charms menu (or put your cursor in the bottom right corner of the screen if using a mouse).
  2. Tap Search.
  3. Type in cmd and hit enter to open a command prompt.
  4. Type ipconfig and hit enter into the command prompt.
  5. Look for IPv4 Address (or something similar) and write down the number to the right of it (i.e. 192.168.1.20). This is your computer’s IP and will never change if you leave it connected to the same network, however, if you are connecting to a laptop and move it to another Wifi zone, you’ll have to do this again to get it’s new IP address.

V. Setup the Microsoft Remote Desktop App

  1. Open the Play Store (or App Store on iOS)
  2. Search for and install Microsoft Remote Desktop.
  3. Open Microsoft Remote Desktop.
  4. Tap the plus sign on the bottom left of the app to add a new computer.
  5. Type in whatever name you want to call the PC you’re connecting to under Connection name.
  6. Put in the IP address you wrote down in the previous for the PC Name.
  7. Under User name, put your Microsoft account you log in to the PC with (an email address) and enter your password for that account under Password below that.
  8. Tap the check mark to save it.

VI. Connect to the PC.

  1. Connect to Wifi on your device (you must be on wifi for this to work for some reason).
  2. Open the Microsoft Remote Desktop app on your Android device.
  3. Tap on the computer you want to connect to (you chose it’s name in the previous section).
  4. Tap Trust Always for Untrusted Certificate.
  5. Enjoy!

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  • Carlos

    I don’t have a microsoft account linked to Windows 8 and y can’t logon with muy username and pasword form the pc. What can I do?

  • iagozdi212

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  • Mark Bagshaw

    I note that this tutorial state specifically that the actual IP address of the remote PC needs to be known for Remote Desktop to connect to the PC. I use Remote Desktop all the time to connect from one PC to another and I always use the computer name rather than the actual IP address, and according to the documentation for the Android version of Remote Desktop, I should be able to use the computer name in it as well. It’s not working for me, though – I keep getting a message that I must provide the fully-qualified name or the IP address of the remote PC. As a understand it, the PC name is the fully qualified name, isn’t it? I can get it to work if I used the actual IP address, but as the tutorial points out, every time a PC continue IP address from the router it is likely to be different. Can someone confirm what is going on here?

    • sparx50

      remember to include your domain with the pc name

  • Youssef Aly

    I can’t connect to my laptop if it’s connected through a LAN but I can connect if the laptop is connected through WiFi, any chances I can make it work bothways ? I have it configured so that it has the same IP on both LAN and WiFi.

    • Unfortunately I’m not sure about that. It should work both ways since its using the IP so you might have to try and set it up while on LAN and see if that helps.