[Remote Desktop] Access Windows through your Mac

Mac Microsoft Remote Desktop

Both Windows and OS X include tools that allow users to remotely connect to another computer. Users can easily take advantage of these tools to connect across different platforms so today we will be looking at the Windows Remote Desktop utility and how you can use it to connect to a Windows PC from your Mac. If you would like to know more about connecting to a Mac via Windows, read our guide here.

Set up Windows

In order to connect to Windows via your Mac, you will need to set up the Windows Remote Desktop utility in both computers.

  1. Open your Start Menu or Windows Run box (WinKey + R), type SystemPropertiesRemote and press Enter.
  2. This should take you directly to the Remote tab of the System Properties window. In case you are taken to another tab, click on Remote to continue.
  3. Once you there, simply make sure that the “Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer” option is checked.
    System Properties Remote Assistance
  4. Do not forget to click on OK to close the window and save your settings.
  5. Before you go to your Mac again, open a CMD window by typing exe in your Start menu and pressing Enter.
  6. On the command prompt, type ipconfig and press Enter.
  7. Look for the “IPv4 Address” item and write it down somewhere because you will need it later.

Set up OS X

Setting up the Windows side of things is incredibly simple but it does not get much harder in OS X.

  1. Go to iTunes and download the Microsoft Remote Desktop app.
    Mac Microsoft Remote Desktop Settings
  2. Launch the app and create a new profile by clicking on the “New” button.
  3. In the “Connection name” field, enter whatever you want. This is simply so that you can identify the name of the connection and nothing else.
  4. In the “PC name” field, enter the actual name of the computer or its address in the local network that you got from the previous paragraph in step 7. Also note that the actual name of the computer can be found in the System properties window on your PC. You can quickly get there by pressing WinKey + Pause/Break.
  5. Skip the “Gateway” field and enter your Windows login credentials instead. Technically, you can also skip this part for now but you will need to enter your details later anyway.
  6. Feel free to mess around with other Remote Desktop settings which will allow you to control the resolution of the target machine, among other things.
  7. Once you are ready, connect to the Windows PC. Your Mac will ask you to verify the certificate of the PC you are attempting to connect to. Before you click on Continue, click on the “Show Certificate” button and check the option that says “Always trust…” so that OS X does not ask for confirmation every time you connect to Windows.
  8. Enter your OS X credentials to confirm the changes to the “Certificate Trust Settings”.
  9. You are done! The Microsoft Remote Desktop app should now be showing your Windows screen in all its glory.