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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004

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Windows XP
Networking In General

By Najmi 

Windows XP Professional is built on the proven code base of Windows 2000, which features a 32-bit computing architecture, and a fully protected memory model. This makes Windows XP Professional the most reliable version yet.

Windows XP helps protect data transmitted across a network. IP Security is an important part of providing security for virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow organizations to transmit data securely over the Internet and a firewall client that can protect small businesses from common Internet attacks. Windows XP Professional makes it significantly easier for you to remotely connect to networks, including to VPNs, over dialup connections, infrared and direct cable connections. 

What is VPN?

VPN uses a technique known as tunneling to transfer data securely on the Internet to a remote access server on your workplace network. Using a VPN helps you save money by using the public Internet instead of making long-distance phone calls to connect securely with your private network.


There are two ways to create a VPN connection:

  • By dialing an Internet service provider (ISP).
  • By connecting directly to the Internet. 

ConfiguringWindows XP Professional to connect to a VPN is significantly easier with the new Connection Wizard. Simply enter the VPN server name, and Windows XP Professional will automatically configure the device and add the appropriate networking services-making all the settings required to get you connected in about one minute.

What is Remote Assistance?

Remote Assistance enables a user to share control of his or her computer with someone on a network or the Internet. An administrator or friend can view the user's screen, and control the pointer and keyboard to help solve a technical problem. IT departments can build custom solutions, on top of published APIs using HTML, to tailor Remote Assistance to their needs, and the feature can be centrally enabled or disabled. 

What is Remote Desktop?

Remote Desktop is based on Terminal Services technology. Using Remote Desktop, you can run applications on a remote computer running Windows XP Professional from any other client running a Microsoft Windows operating system. 

Remote Desktop lets you take advantage of the flexibility provided by a distributed computing environment. A standard component of Windows XP Professional (although not included in Windows XP Home Edition), Remote Desktop lets you access your Windows XP computer from anywhere, over any connection, using any Windows-based client. Remote Desktop gives you secure access to all your applications, files, and network resources-as if you were in front of your own workstation. Any applications that you leave running at the office will be running when you connect remotely-at home, in a conference room, or on the road.

Remote Desktop works well even under low-bandwidth conditions, because all your applications are hosted on the Terminal Server. Only keyboard, mouse, and display information are transmitted over the network.

If you're an IT administrator, Remote Desktop provides you with a rapid response tool: It lets you remotely access a server running Windows 2000 Server or Whistler Server and see messages on the console, administer the computer remotely, or apply headless server control.

Remote Desktop Protocol:

The features provided by Remote Desktop are made available through the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). RDP is a presentation protocol that allows a Windows-based terminal (WBT), or other Windows-based clients, to communicate with a Windows-based Terminal Server. RDP is designed to provide remote display and input capabilities over network connections for Windows-based applications running on your Windows XP Professional desktop. RDP works across any TCP/IP connection, including a dial-up connection, local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), DSL, or Virtual Private Network (VPN). 

Remote Desktop Resource Redirection:

When you use Remote Desktop from a Windows XP-based client, or another RDP 5.1-enabled client, many of the client resources are available within the Remote Desktop connection.These resources include: 

File system redirection

This makes the local file system available on the remote desktop within a terminal session. The client file system is accessible through the Remote Desktop as if it was a network-shared drive, and no network connectivity-except the Remote Desktop-is required. The client drives appear in Windows Explorer with the designation " on tsclient." 

Printer redirection

This route printing jobs from the Terminal Server to a printer attached to the local computer. When the client logs on to the remote computer, the local printer is detected, and the appropriate printer driver is installed on the remote computer. 

Port redirection

This enables applications running within a terminal session to have access to the serial and parallel ports on the client. Port redirection allows these ports to access and manipulate devices such as bar code readers or scanners. 


You can run an audio-enabled application on your remote desktop and hear the audio output from speakers attached to the computer you're working on. 


The Remote Desktop and the client computer share a clipboard that allows data to be interchanged. 

Remote Desktop Web Connection in windows XP:

The Remote Desktop Web Connection provides a simple way to connect to your Windows XP Professional remote desktop, even when you don't have the Remote Desktop client software installed on the computer you're currently using (called the client computer). Before you can use the Remote Desktop Web Connection from home or the road, you need to set up Remote Desktop on the remote computer.

Remote Desktop Web Connection isn't installed by default in Windows XP Professional, so you'll need to add it yourself to the remote computer. And to add it, you'll also need to enable Internet Information Services (IIS) on your remote desktop. 

Remote Desktop Web Connection means you can work from home or the road, and access all the data and capabilities of your office computer. Bookmark your remote desktop in Internet Explorer and you can get There are several issues to consider when managing and administering Remote Assistance in the corporate environment or large organization. You can specify an open environment where employees can receive Remote Assistance from outside the corporate firewall. Or you can restrict Remote Assistance via Group Policy and specify various levels of permissions such as only allowing Remote Assistance from within the corporate firewall.

Issues of Proxy server/Firewall:

Regardless of how you connect to a Remote Desktop server, if either your client or your server is behind a firewall or proxy server, you won't be able to connect unless you open up the necessary port, 3389, to permit the Remote Desktop Connection capability to pass through.

Here server means the computer that's actually serving up the Remote Desktop session. This could be a Windows XP Professional-based computer running Remote Desktop Services, or earlier versions of Microsoft Windows NT/2000 Server running Terminal Services, or even a Windows NT 3.5-based computer running Citrix.

One can easily open up the Remote Desktop port when you're using the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) included in Windows XP. Heck, you don't even need to remember the port number, but if your network is running some other firewall, you'll need to work with your network administrators to sort out the details for it.

Remote Assistance:

Remote Assistance runs over the top of Terminal Services technology, which means it, needs to use the same port already used by Terminal Services: port 3389.If the person who is being helped is behind a firewall, NAT, or ICS, Remote Assistance will still function as long as the person being helped initiates the session via Windows Messenger. However, as stated above, Remote Assistance will not work in cases when the outbound traffic from port 3389 is blocked.

Using Remote Assistance in a Home Environment:

If you are using Personal Firewall or NAT in a home environment, you can use Remote Assistance without any special configurations. However, if you have a corporate-like firewall in a home environment, the same restrictions apply: you would need to open Port 3389 in order to use Remote Assistance.

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scott stambaugh's Comment
My question is why doesn't windows enable its Remote Desktop functionality right out of the box?
18 Fri Mar 2011
Admin's Reply:

Probably for security. I'm not sure, that's only a guess.

Mohit's Comment
10 Thu Feb 2011
Admin's Reply:

Yeah...Me Too.

vinod 's Comment
ho to remot acces to sem desktop
06 Wed Oct 2010
Admin's Reply:

Try TeamViewer.

kinjal bhoiwala's Comment
i understood basic ideas about rd,but this is all based on windows appliction...if i want to build rd on JAVA PLATEFORM,WHAT ARE THE BASIC STEPS THAT I SHOULD FOLLOW..thank you
07 Mon Dec 2009
Admin's Reply:

Sorry, wouldn't know how that would apply to Java.

Adam's Comment
Fair enough. I'm curious with the up-and-coming OnLive service, and long-time existing video conference services (including some relatively recent developments [read: a couple years past] in on-the-fly hardware codec switching which is allowing 3-4 simultaneous 480i video streams over standard TCP-IP connections), it seems to me that some nice, fast RDP-like service ought to be available, allowing live video playback (and gameplay), usable photo editing, etc. etc. From what I can tell it just isn't out there though. Thanks again.
19 Thu Nov 2009
Admin's Reply: agreed. the technology is available but no one i know has ever pushed it further in front of main stream public.

Adam's Comment
I understand that RDP works by using an understanding of the windows API and transferring data as api instructions and cached glyphs and bitmaps ... but how does it handle more dynamic and intense graphical situations such as playback of a video file? Given a sufficient internet connection on both ends of the connection, should it be possibly to remotely watch a video stored on the pc which is being connected to? If not, what technology will allow this? Streaming video, even high def, as proven possible, so it must be possible to do this in a remote-connection-to-computer method. Thanks.
19 Thu Nov 2009
Admin's Reply: as of my own personal experience, RDP doesn't handle high graphic scenarios too well. That includes, videos, games, at times however, youtube videos might work (low quality ones).

Sarbeswar Dash's Comment
It is a good,clear and simple article about Remote Desktop Connection.One can understand clearly about RD Connection. Thank you verymuch.
12 Thu Nov 2009
Admin's Reply: I'm glad you like it. :)