Protect your Computer from Hackers by turning off Remote Desktop Access


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 are directly connected to it.

Remote access is a useful feature when you need to access your computer from another location, such as when you need to connect to your home computer when you are at work. A remote connection is also handy in support situations in which you help others by connecting to their computers or when you need tech help and want to allow support personnel to connect to your computer.

Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 10

When you don’t need the Windows Remote Desktop feature, turn it off to protect your computer from hackers. 

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  • Type “remote settings” in the Cortana search box and select Allow remote access to your computer. This action seems counterintuitive, but it opens the Control Panel dialog for Remote System Properties.

Check Don’t Allow Remote Connections to This Computer.

Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8.1 and 8

In Windows 8.1, the Remote Desktop section was eliminated from the Remote tab. To regain this functionality, you download the Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store and install it on your Windows 8.1 computer. After it is installed and set up, to disable it:

  1. Press Windows + Xand 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.

Disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8 and Windows 7

To disable Remote Desktop in Windows 8 and 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.

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The Risks of Running Remote Desktop

Although Windows Remote Desktop is useful, hackers can exploit it to gain control of your system to install malware or steal personal information. It’s a good idea to keep the feature turned off unless you need it. You can disable it easily—and you should unless you need the service. In this case, create strong passwords, update the software when possible, limit the users who can log in, and use firewalls.

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


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