Remote Desktop Connection in Mac OS X

Remote Desktop Connection, a free utility from Microsoft, allows you to use a Macintosh laptop or a desktop Mac at home (or another off-campus location) to remotely control the Windows-based desktop computer in your on-campus office or lab. When using Remote Desktop Connection from a laptop on a wireless network (including Purdue's Air Link network and free public WiFi networks in coffee shops, hotels, etc.) or a home computer on a broadband Internet connection, it's as if you're sitting at the desk in your office using your computer's keyboard and mouse -- even if you're two buildings, two miles, or two continents away.

By remotely accessing an ECN-supported desktop computer and refraining from storing your Purdue files locally on your laptop or home computer, your data remains safely stored in your home directory on ECN's network servers -- which receive daily backups.

You'll want to follow these instructions on your Mac laptop and/or at-home Mac, not on the on-campus desktop computer! Before you begin, download and install Microsoft Remote Desktop free via the Mac App Store.

When connecting from off-campus, please don't miss step #6! Connecting first to Purdue's Virtual Private Network is required.

These instructions are based on Remote Desktop Connection version 2.0, which requires Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later. Effective April 9, 2012, a Virtual Private Network connection is required. Please see step #1, below.

Remote Desktop Connection 2.x has been replaced by Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.x; please note that there may be procedural differences when using the newer software. This article will be updated when time permits.


Who can use Remote Desktop Connection?

A remote-controlled computer can be used by only one person at a time. As such, this service is intended for use only by those who do not share the same office computer with other people. A graduate student may use Remote Desktop Connection with the permission of their supervisor.

Every ECN-supported Windows PC which will be used remotely must be pre-configured by ECN before this service will work. Please contact us in advance; we will provide you with the value that you'll need in step #3A.


Remote Desktop Connection for Mac OS XConnecting to the desktop computer in your office

These instructions assume that your Macintosh is connected to the Internet, either wirelessly or via a broadband connection (e.g. cable modem or DSL). You will need to know your Purdue Career Account password.

1. Connect to Purdue's Virtual Private Network. When using a computer off-campus, this step is required. Establish a connection to Purdue's Virtual Private Network ( For a description of this service, please see ITaP's VPN "Getting Started" page. 

2. Starting the remote connection.

From the Applications folder, launch Remote Desktop Connection.


Enter the IP address.3. Computer address.

3A. Enter the IP number of the desktop computer in your office.  It will look similar to the following:

where both xxx and yyy are a specific number between 1 and 255.  No two computers have the same full number;  please contact ECN to obtain this value.

3B. Click the "Connect" button. Your laptop or home computer will connect via the Internet to your desktop computer in your office.





Username, password, and domain.4. Username, password, and domain.

When the prompt appears, enter your Purdue Career Account username and password.

In the "Domain" field, type the following:


Then click the "OK" button.






Computer identity alert message.5. Computer identity alert message.

You might see an alert message: "Remote Desktop Connection cannot verify the identity of the computer that you want to connect to." This message is normal and does not represent a concern.

Proceed by clicking the "Connect" button. 

Your office computer's desktop will appear. If you had left programs running and/or files open on your office computer, they'll appear now, just as they were.  If you had logged out of Windows before you left your office, your office computer will go through the typical startup process, finishing with the Message of the Day window -- just as when you're in the office.

Now, while your remote connection is open, when you type or use your mouse, it'll be like using the keyboard and mouse at your office computer.





Close or minimize with the red or yellow buttons.Minimizing and/or disconnecting

6A. Minimizing.

If you need to access a file or program on your Macintosh (the laptop or home computer you're using), click the round yellow minimize button near the top-left corner of the window.  The window will shrink into the Dock at the bottom of your Mac's display. Remote Desktop Connection will stay running (as will all programs you have open on your office PC);  restore it by clicking its icon on the Dock.

Log off or disconnect6B. Disconnecting.

When you're ready to disconnect from your office PC, you may end the session one of these ways:

- In the remote window, click on the Start menu and select "Disconnect."  This will end the remote session but leave files and programs open and running on your office PC.

- Click on the round red button at the top-left corner of the window.  This will end the remote session but leave files and programs open and running on your office PC.

- In the remote window, click on the Start menu and select "Log off."  This will close all open files and programs on your office PC and also end the remote session.



Saving defaults.7. Saving connection defaults.

The first time that you end your remote session, Remote Desktop Connection will offer to save changes to its default connection file. This will save some of the values you entered in steps #3 and #4 so that you don't have to type them again next time.

Proceed by clicking the "Save" button.




Last modified: 2015/09/03 12:13:54.406598 GMT-4 by rose.a.blades.1
Created: 2008/07/31 10:21:59.307000 GMT-4 by john.a.omalley.1.



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