There are a lot of third party remote control pieces software around such as the popular freeware tools VNC, and TeamViewer, but there are times when the built-in Remote Desktop Connection feature in Windows 7 is the most useful since it’s already present in Windows and you don’t need to install any third party software. All you need to do is to enable it because the Remote Desktop function is disabled by default. You can enable Remote Desktop and allow connection from other computers by going to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> click on the Remote tab.
From there, you can either select “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop” which is less secure or “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication”. If you are setting up a connection to a different Windows version such as XP or Vista from your Windows 7 machine , then you need to choose the less secure option.
Tip: Pressing the WIN Key+ Pause/Break keys simultaneously brings up the System window.
If you only see the Remote Assistance box in the Remote tab but not Remote Desktop, that is because there are some restrictions that Microsoft has implemented in your version of Windows. Only Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise can accept connections from Remote Desktop but NOT for Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium. You can however, use Remote Desktop to initiate a connection from any edition of Windows 7.
Many branded laptops and computers come with Windows 7 Home Premium or possibly Home Basic pre-installed, but not to worry because there is a hack patch that can enable the Remote Desktop Connection in Windows 7 Home Premium with a single click. There is a tool called Concurrent RDP Patcher which is meant to enable concurrent remote desktop connections, which means multiple logons per user. When you log in using the Remote Desktop Connection, the computer that is being controlled will show a message saying “Logged on remotely from COMPUTERNAME”. If you click on the user icon to login, the remote connection will be terminated with the popup:
Your Remote Desktop session has ended. Another user connected to the remote computer, so your connection was lost. Try connecting again, or contact your network administrator or technical support group.
This allows multiple users to control the remote computer using Remote Desktop.
Amazingly, this tool also enables the Remote Desktop Connection for Windows 7 Home Premium. The good thing about this patcher is you can revert the changes back to the way it was by clicking the Unpatch button. There are some scripts that can also do the same by patching termsvr.dll file but it doesn’t provide a way to undo the patch.
By default a Remote Desktop Connection only allows you to login with a user account that has a password assigned to it. User accounts with a blank password cannot be used to login with a Remote Desktop Connection. You can handily bypass that restriction by checking the “Enable blank password logons” checkbox.
The Concurrent RDP Patcher tool is released at The Green Button forums, which if you never heard of it before, is the official Windows Media Center Community forum. The patcher was updated a while ago and is confirmed to work on Windows 7 Service Pack 1. It is also compatible with both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows 7.
Important Update Oct/Nov 2014
Although the original Concurrent RDP Patcher has worked fine since Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was released, in late 2014 Microsoft has again started to updated the termsrv.dll which is patched by the program. As it appears to have been abandoned long ago, the original patcher will probably never get updated by its author to work with these new hotfixes.
Luckily the Concurrent RDP Patcher source code was made available and we have updated the program to patch the latest termsrv.dll file. Currently Microsoft Hotfix KB3003743 (released on the 11th November) is the latest to break the original patcher. If you have this update installed you can try the updated program.
Please note that this update to the patcher has not been fully tested so you should use it with care and at your own risk, although it should work without issue on all versions of Windows 7 except Enterprise.
Any feedback on how well it works is welcome. We will try to update the Concurrent RDP Patcher in future if the are any more updates to the termsrv.dll library.