Accessing Your Windows Server with Remote Desktop

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In this article, we explain how to utilize the Windows Remote Desktop software to access your server from any location to a Windows Server operating system. 

For VPS servers hosted and accessible to the Internet, things are a lot different now than they were years ago because servers can now literally be thousands of miles away. To access the desktop of an Internet-hosted Windows server, Microsoft offers a feature known as Remote Desktop.

This article pertains mainly to those clients who want to connect to a Windows server.. Those with Linux servers can use SSH to access their server or the Remmina software.

Supported Operating Systems

All of Liquid Web’s Windows VPS servers are capable of accepting Remote Desktop connections.  However, not all client computers can utilize it. Here is a list of operating systems known to be capable of communicating with your Windows server with Remote Desktop:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Clients and Servers
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 7 and later
  • Linux with the RDesktop application installed
  • Mac OS X with a Remote Desktop client:
  • (Mac OS X versions 10.9 and later: Microsoft Remote Desktop)
  • (Mac OS X versions 10.5-10.8 only: Open Source CoRD Client)
  • (Mac OS X versions prior to 10.7: Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac)

Remote Desktop to Your Server From a Local Windows Computer

Here are the directions to remote desktop into your server from a local windows OS

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Run
  3. Type “Remote Desktop” and press the Enter key.
    (mstsc – Microsoft Terminal Server Connection)
  4. Next to Computer: type in the IP address of your server
  5. Click Connect.
  6. If all goes well, you will see the Windows login prompt.

Remote Desktop  to Your Server From a Linux Computer with RDesktop

  1. Open a command shell using xterm
  2. Type ‘rdesktop‘ at the command prompt to see if you have rdesktop installed
  3. If rdesktop is installed, then proceed.  Otherwise, you will need to install the rdesktop package for your flavor of Linux.
  4. Type ‘rdesktop‘ followed by your server’s IP address.  Then press Enter.
  5. If all goes well, you will see the Windows login prompt.

Remote Desktop From Mac OS X

  1. Install Microsoft Remote Desktop from the Mac App Store.
  2. Click the New button or use the shortcut Command + N to set up a connection to your server with the following settings:

    • PC name: You can use your server’s IP address or its hostname (if the hostname has an appropriate DNS record and resolves).
    • User name: To access the admin account, use “Administrator”.
    • Password: Enter the Administrator password.
    • Configure full-screen and multi-monitor settings to your preference.
  3. Once you’ve filled in the appropriate settings, close the “Edit Remote Desktops” window.

  4. Select your connection under My Desktops and press the Start button in the menu to connect (or simply press the return key on your keyboard).


  5. If your server uses a self-signed SSL certificate, a message will be displayed as Remote Desktop is negotiating credentials. You can either press Continue to proceed with the connection or, to permanently store the certificate and connect directly in the future, click Show Certificate and then check the box next to Always trust … before clicking Continue to proceed.

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Author Bio

About the Author: Alison Gray

Alison Gray is currently an IT Project Manager at Liquid Web and has been with Liquid Web for nearly 10 years. In 2015, She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Media and Information from Michigan State University. In her free time, she loves spending time with her girlfriend and 3 kids. You can usually find her at a basketball court or some sort of sporting event. If the weather's right, she loves being outside in the yard finding some sort of yard work to do.

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