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Trouble enabling remote desktop for Windows 7/ Server 2012

Posted on 2013-11-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Good evening;
I am working with a Small Business that is using Windows Server 2012, 5-Winows 7 Pro, and 1 Windows XP pro workstations.  ADDS is enabled and they are using file sharing on their server/network.

I am interested in enabling remote desktop connections to the A) server and B) at least the Win 7 workstations.  The XP workstation is running a piece of equipment so it is not critical to be able to remote connect to this workstation.

I believe remote desktop is enabled to the server and was able to access the server desktop from a computer on the same network and domain, and then as a computer on the same network outside of the domain.  I am not, however, able to access the computer from an external network (i.e. my home computer, a Windows 7 Ultimate).  I was also not able to access the workstations from within the domain or network, nor from outside of the domain and network.

The error message I get from the remote desktop connection is:
“Remote Desktop can’t find the computer [Computer name].  This might mean that [Computer name] does not belong to the specified network.  Verify the computer name and domain that you are trying to connect to.”

I am using the same titles that I used from the office to attempt to access the server.  Let’s say the computer name is “Server” and the domain is “mycompany.local”  I am putting “Server.mycompany.local” in the field that reads “Computer” in the remote desktop application, is this correct?

How can I enable remote connections to the server?

For the workstations do I need to create a group for the domain computers that allows them to use remote desktop connections?  In other words, how can I enable remote connections to the workstations for the domain users?
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Question by:Autkast
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Expert Comment

by:SagiEDoc
ID: 39659227
The issue here is from home you are on the public internet and the public internet does not know how anything about Server.mycompany.local.
Typically you would have a firewall between your machines at work and the internet. On the firewall there would be ways of allowing connections from the public internet through the firewall which would direct to certain machines. If you have no firewall and just a router again there are ways of allowing connections through but I would need to know more about your specific setup.
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Assisted Solution

by:Aaron Tomosky
Aaron Tomosky earned 200 total points
ID: 39659282
The usual way to rdp to the office computers from a remote location, is to first connect via VPN. That basically puts your computer on the office network.
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Hypercat (Deb) earned 200 total points
ID: 39660056
I agree with aarontomosky - using a VPN connection will be the easiest way to accomplish what you want to do.  You can either use your Windows 2012 server as a VPN server by enabling and configuring RRAS services.  Or if you have a VPN-capable router at the perimeter of your network, you could use it as a VPN server.

Once users are connected to the VPN, they can connect to their desktops using a regular remote desktop connection.  You have to give permissions to the appropriate user on each workstation.

You will not, however, be able to allow remote desktop connections to your server except by administrators, unless you set it up as a remote desktop server and purchase licensing for remote desktop connections to the server.  

If you need any assistance with this, please post back.
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Author Comment

by:Autkast
ID: 39660833
I know that I need to enable the Remote access role on the server.  I have a list of the IP addresses for the workstations in the company, the step I am confused on is assigning address to the pool.  Is this the pool of addresses that the VPN is allowing connections to?
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 39660851
It's the pool of addresses it hands out like dhcp for remote computers coming in. They each get a local address when they connect.
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