Remote Desktop
Use a remote desktop connection to access your work computer from home.

Using Remote Desktop to Connect to Your Work Computer

With Remote Desktop, you can have access to a computer at the Laboratory through another computer. For example, you can connect to your work computer from home and have access to all of your programs, files, and network resources as though you were sitting at your computer at work. You can leave programs running at work and see your work desktop displayed on your home computer, with the same programs running.

Remote Desktop can be used in many situations, including:

  • Working at home. Access work in progress on your office computer from home and have full access to all local and remote devices.
  • Collaborating. Access your desktop from a colleague's office to work together on projects, such as updating a slide presentation or proofreading a document.

When you connect to your computer through Remote Desktop, your computer is automatically locked so that no one else can access your programs and files while you are using them. When you come back to work, you can unlock your computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.

With Fast User Switching, you can easily switch from one user to another on the same computer. You can also keep your programs running while another user is logged on. When that user logs off, you can reconnect to your session in progress. For example, you might be working at home and have logged on to the computer at your office. But a family member needs to use your home computer to check for an important e-mail message. You can disconnect Remote Desktop, allow the other user to log on and check e-mail, and then reconnect to the computer at your office.

Using Remote Desktop with Windows

To use Remote Desktop, you need the following:

  • A computer ("host" computer) running Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business Edition, or Windows Vista Ultimate Edition with a connection to a local area network (LAN) or the Internet (such as your work computer at Argonne). This is the computer to which you are connecting. It must be enabled for remote access. Check with your your local IT support to ensure that your computer has been enabled for remote access before trying to connect.
  • A second computer ("client" or "remote" computer) with access to the Internet via a broadband connection (such as your home computer). This is the computer from which you will be connecting to the host computer. It must have Remote Desktop Connection installed (this is a standard feature on Windows XP and Vista).
  • A VPN account if you are connecting to a host computer on the Argonne network (e.g., your work computer) from a remote computer that is not on the Argonne network (e.g., a home computer)
  • An ANL domain user account. The user account that will be used to access the host computer must be in the Remote Desktop Users group on the host computer. Check with your local IT support to ensure that your account is in this group.

Setting Up the Connection

  1. Write down the computer name of the host computer. This can be found by right-clicking on My Computer, then Properties, and then looking at the "Full computer name" on the Computer Name tab.
  2. From the remote computer:
    1. Establish a VPN connection.
    2. Your computer may be asleep because of power management software. Wake it up at wakeup.anl.gov. See the wakeup instructions for detailed information.
    3. Run the Remote Desktop Connection software by clicking on Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Remote Desktop Connection.
    4. Enter the computer name that you wrote down in the Step 1 above.
    5. The connection will be established, and you will see a login or unlock screen from the host computer. Enter your ANL domain username and password to gain access to the host computer.