Troubleshooting Tips for Windows 8.1 Remote Desktop Connection Problems

Here you will be finding basic and simple troubleshooting tips for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 Remote Desktop connection problems. You can apply and check every methods mentioned below when you can’t connect to a Windows 8 or 8.1 computer with RDP client from another computer. Understanding the requirements of RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) and how it works will solve most of the problems.  Remote Desktop connectivity allows to connect a particular network computer desktop remotely with almost all control (as sitting front of the desktop) through the local network (even WAN and internet too). But when you face an issue in connecting a Windows 8.1/10 from Windows 7 or XP, then this post would be helpful.

Obviously the basic requirement for RDP is, proper networking. Make sure the source and destination computers are in proper network and they can communicate. To test the network connectivity easily, ping the Windows 8.1 computer that you need to take remote desktop connection. As default, the ping response is blocked in the Windows firewall,  enable it first to check the network connectivity by pinging.

Basic Troubleshooting Tips for Windows 8.1/Windows 10 Remote Desktop Issue

Though the following screenshots taken from Windows 8.1, still it is applicable for Windows 10 since the settings unchanged in new Operating System. You can follow these same methods on Windows 2012 R2 server too.

1) Enable Remote Desktop to Accept the connection

a) By default remote desktop connection is blocked in Windows 8.1 or 8 computers. It will not accept any incoming RDP connections until it is enabled manually.  Firstly as troubleshooting method, do allow the incoming remote desktop connection or verify whether it’s enabled already.

To do that, right click on the My computer (check this guide how to show My computer icon on desktop) and Properties.

My computer properties


b) Click on Remote settings (1) and enable the radio button to accept RDP connection (2). By default the ‘Allow connection only from ……Network Level Authentication (recommended)’ would be selected.  This is the most secure way of allowing RDP connections. Removing the tick will allow the RDP connection even without Network Level Authentication.  If this tick is selected (3), then only the Remote desktop clients and apps which support Network Level Authentication (Windows 7 and later versions) can take RDP connection to particular Windows 8.1/10 computer. In this case, if you need to take RDP connection to particular Windows 8.1 computer from Windows XP or Vista (without latest RDP clients with Network Level Authentication), that will not work. Read more about what type of RDP connections you can allow from Microsoft site here.

more settings in rdp windows 8.1

If you still need to manage a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 computer from XP and Vista computers, you can untick “Allow ….Network Authentication” checkbox.

c) Usually the users in Administrators and Remote Desktop Users will have the access to take remote desktop connection to particular Windows 10/8.1 computer. You can check the users under Local Users and Groups  in computer management. Right Click on My computer and select Manage to get this option.rdp allowed users

2) Check The Firewall

Remote Desktop connection works through TCP port 3389 which is blocked in recent Windows Operating Systems by default. But when you enable RDP on a Windows client or server as shown in step 1.a, the OS will add Remote Desktop connection protocol in the firewall to allow incoming connection. But if you are still facing the problem on particular computer or others can’t connect to your computer by RDP even after it’s enabled properly, it is recommended to check the Windows firewall.

To check the Windows firewall, go to Control Panel and access Windows Firewall. Open the ‘Allow an App or feature through…’ option as below.

open firewall

Here you must find that Remote Desktop connection is ticked to accept the RDP protocol on Windows 10 or 8.1. If it is not selected, click on ‘Change Settings’ then enable it.enable rdp in firewall

If you are using other third party firewall software like Comodo, or other network threat protection software, you must check the firewall settings of specific programs to enable incoming Remote desktop connections (RDP protocol TCP 3389).

3) There is a Service You Must Check

There is a Windows service called ‘Remote Desktop Service’ which should be running to allow RDP connection. It doesn’t matter whether you have enabled it properly and checked the required network/firewall settings, the remote desktop connection will not work if the RDP service is not running on the destination computer. It’s a default Windows service from Operating System which is set to start and run automatically. But as an troubleshooting steps, you must check and make sure this service is running.

Access the Services (from Computer Management) and check the service state. You can start it manually if it’s not running.

running rddp service in Windows 10

4) Try This If Remote Desktop Connection is Slow

Sometimes the RDP connection will be slow and the display performance would be poor due to slow network connectivity. If you use Windows 8.1 remote desktop connection through WAN (Wide Area Network) or internet, then you will be facing this issue.

Usually RDP connection is used for basic tasks to do over the network and not for any multimedia or high graphical required activities. Therefore the screen resolution and color depth settings can be reduced to have better experience in slow network connection. To do that, before making the connection, change few settings in display properties of RDP client in Windows 8.1 or 10.

RDP settings in Windows 8.1

Changing the settings to lower color depth (15 bit in Windows 8.1 as marked by 2) in Remote Desktop Connection program will improve the performance by using minimal bandwidth in slow network connections. Also, reducing the display (in pixels as marked 3) resolution can help in seeing the destination computer in smaller/limited screen size which can hugely improve the performance in slow network.

5) Connect Remote Desktop to Windows 10 from Outside Network – Internet

If you like to take Remote desktop connection to your Windows 10 or 8.1 through internet from anywhere in the world, then there are specific configurations need to be done on the internet router. Here are the few considerations.

1) The port forward should be enabled on the internet router to forward any incoming RDP connection on public IP (or DNS name) to internal Windows 8.1/10 computer which you like to connect via RDP over the internet.

2) Your home/office internet should have public static IP or DynDNS with dynamic IP address. Because your internet modem gateway should have a valid static IP or name to be able to accept connection on internet.

Though Sysprobs will be publishing a latest guide about setting up a home router for RDP connections, still you can find a nice guide here about how to set up Windows 8.1,10 and 2012 R2 RDP to accept from internet.

6) Third Party Free Apps

If you are looking for free third party remote desktop connection programs for Windows 10 and 8.1 for free, here are the few suggestions. These programs will work through internet also without any changes on your home internet router. But unlike Microsoft’s built-in RDP client, some of the free programs require someone to allow the RDP connection from destination computer.

1) Ammyy Admin

2) AeroAdmin


Find out more free Remote Desktop Connection programs for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 here.

Hope this guide would be helpful in troubleshooting Windows 8.1, 10 and 2012 R2 server remote desktop connection issues on your home or office network. Also, there are few tweaks and other third party programs mentioned here to over come the connectivity issues from internet and WAN.

2 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Tips for Windows 8.1 Remote Desktop Connection Problems”

  1. Is there any way to prevent our pc from accessing via remote connection that are connected via same cable. whenever i use my pc in the computer lab some login to my pc via remote desktop and lock my computer how can i stop this ?

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