macOS - Remote Access to Windows

How to use Microsoft Remote Desktop in macOS to connect to a remote Windows computer.

Please review the Prerequisites section of this article. If you do not meet one of these prerequisites, or you have trouble following any steps, please contact the TechZone.


  • Remote access must be enabled on the remote computer. This has already been done for most computers.
  • You must know the IP address of the remote computer.
  • You must know your username and password on the remote computer. In most cases, your username is your NetID.
  • The remote computer must be powered on. Please consider leaving your computer on at all times to ensure you can connect remotely.
  • GlobalProtect VPN must be installed on the local computer. See WiscVPN - Overview for steps to install and connect.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop must be installed on the local computer. You can install this application from the Apple App Store.

First-time Setup

  1. Open Microsoft Remote Desktop.
  2. If prompted to share usage information, click Not now.
  3. If prompted to grant access to microphone and camera, click Continue.
  4. If you'd like to be able to use your local microphone and camera on the remote computer, click OK in the subsequent popup windows. Otherwise, click Don't Allow.
  5. At the top of the window, ensure that PCs is selected.
  6. Click Add PC.
  7. For the "PC name," enter the IP address of the remote computer.
  8. If desired, enter a memorable name for this connection in the "Friendly name" field.
  9. Click Add.


  1. Open Microsoft Remote Desktop.
  2. Identify the remote computer by its IP or the friendly name you used and double-click on it.
  3. Enter the username and password of your account on the remote computer and click Continue.
  4. If you see a message about the connection not being secure, click Continue.

Display Options

In multiple-monitor setups, Microsoft Remote Desktop defaults to only displaying on one of the monitors. However, it can be configured to display the remote computer on both monitors.
  1. Make sure your remote connection is not active. If it is active, open Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Center. Locate your remote computer from the list: Right Click - Disconnect
  2. In Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Center, locate your computer from the list Right Click - Edit
  3. Select the Display tab
  4. Check Use all monitors
  5. Select Save
Now, when you connect to your remote computer, it will appear on all of your monitors. You can toggle between your remote and local displays on each monitor by pressing the F3 button on your keyboard or doing a three-finger upward swipe on your MacBook trackpad.


After connecting to your remote computer, you should see your normal desktop or any programs you had open when you last used the computer. You can interact with the remote computer the same way you normally would. By default, the remote session will be in full screen, so you'll need to touch the top of the screen with your mouse to see the normal macOS windows controls:
The red close, yellow minimize, and green full screen window buttonsact the same way they would in for any other window. You can use the green full screen button to leave full screen mode.


To disconnect from the remote computer, click the red close button to close the window.

See Also:

Keywords:mac win remote rdp rdc desktop connection login logon sign in access vpn   Doc ID:98956
Owner:Jacob R.Group:Learning Support Services
Created:2020-03-17 09:07 CDTUpdated:2020-03-19 09:42 CDT
Sites:Learning Support Services
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