How to Disable Windows Remote Desktop

Enable Remote Desktop Only When You Need It

Windows Remote Desktop allows you (or others) to connect to your computer remotely over a network connection, effectively accessing everything on your computer as if you were directly connected to it.

This is useful if you need to access your computer from another location — for instance, if you need to connect to your computer at home when you are at work or vice-versa. This is also handy in a support situation in which you either want to help someone else by connecting to their computer, or you want to provide access to support personnel to connect to your computer.

Unfortunately, Remote Desktop can be exploited by hackers to gain control of remote systems and install malware or steal personal information. It's a good idea to keep the feature turned off unless you actively need it — and it is not enabled by default. Once enabled, however, it's easy to disable it. 

Note: Another Windows utility, Windows Remote Assistance, works similarly to Remote Desktop but is specifically geared toward remote tech support and is configured differently with different requirements. You may wish to turn this off, as well, using the same System Properties dialog as Remote Desktop, discussed here.

Windows 7

  1. Click the Start button, and then Control Panel.
  2. Open System And Security.
  3. Choose System in the right panel.
  4. Select Remote Settings from the left pane to open the System Properties dialog box for the Remote tab.
  5. Click Don’t Allow Connections To This Computer and then click OK.

    Windows 8

    For Windows 8, the process is similar to that for Windows 7.

    In Windows 8.1, however, the Remote Desktop section has been eliminated from the Remote tab. To regain this functionality, you must download the Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store and install it on your Windows 8.1 computer.

     

    Once installed and set up, to disable it:

    1. Press Windows + X and select System from the list.
    2. Click Advanced System Settings in the left sidebar.
    3. Select the Remote tab and check Don’t Allow Remote Connections to this Computer.

    Windows 10

    Windows 10 ships with Remote Desktop, so you do not need to have explicitly installed it. Once installed and set up, disabling it is similar to Windows 8.1, but you can use the Cortana search box:

    1. Enter "remote settings" into the Cortana search box and select "Allow remote access to your computer". This seems counter-intuitive, but this opens the Control panel dialog for Remote System Properties.
    2. Check Don’t Allow Remote Connections to this Computer.

     

     

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