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Using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)

Using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is a client application included within recent Windows operating system versions, allowing the user to connect to another PC and use that PC as if sitting in front of it. While there are a number of uses of this, the most useful is for a member of staff to be able to take control of their own work PC, and have access to all of the associated applications, filestore and access rights.

Before you can use RDC you need:

  • to check that you actually need to use the service, as the Virtual Desktop service offers access to applications and filestore without requiring your PC to be on.
  • to register to use the system, as for security reasons, your Birkbeck PC needs to be configured to allow you to connect to it from a remote location.
  • to first connect to the Birkbeck VPN service.
  • to make sure you Birkbeck PC is switched on.
  • to know the PC name or IP address of your PC.

RDC clients are also available for other operating systems, including Mac OS X, IPad, and Linux variants.

Using RDC from Windows client

Remote Desktop Connection is usually found in the Accessories list of programs on Windows PCs. Sometimes it is in Accessories/Communications. To access it, click Start or Windows button, then all programs, then Accessories, and Remote Desktop Connection

Remote desktop connection opening screen

Enter the computer name or IP (network) address of your PC at work. You will only have to enter this the first time, as your PC should store the information. If you're not sure of the IP address, please contact ITS or School support staff for advice.

Accept the warning message, and click connect.

As long as the Birkbeck PC is on, a screen will appear which looks the same as your own PC login, and you should login as normal. To close the session, move the mouse cursor to the very top centre of the screen (assuming your display is working at full size) and a small bar will drop down. Simply close the window. The next time you connect, you will find your Birkbeck PC in the state you left it, whether connecting locally, or remotely via RDC (it is still recommended to save work regularly).

Settings you may want to consider

If you click on the options link after starting RDC, you have a number of tabs available, which you may want to review.

The first is to check whether you want local (ie your home) printer to be available, from the Local Resources Tab.

RDC Settings - Local resources

The second invites you to select whether you want to use RDC full screen, from the Display Tab.

RDC Settings - Display tab

And the third, the Experience tab, allows configuration depending on broadband connection speed.


If your Birkbeck PC is not switched on, you will not be able to connect, so you may have to ask a colleague to switch your PC on.

The main cause for confusion is the relationship between the screen showing the remote desktop, and the local PC. You may find it helpful to click on the pin icon on the bar which drops down when you move the mouse to the top of the screen, as a reminder that you are using a remote PC.If you do want to use the local PC, you can minimise the RDC window and return to it at any time.