Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Boot a PC to Remote Desktop

Boot a PC to Remote Desktop - Concept / Reasoning

There are many reasons why you may wish to boot a PC to a remote desktop, you can share resources and software, make better use of you high spec PC from a low spec PC, or access you PC from remote locations. All of these are good reasons, but for me the main reason is to make use of old PCs which would otherwise go in the bin.

Step 1 - Build a Stripped down version of windows XP service pack 2 or 3.

You can skip this step if you want it is not necessary is you are using a fairly good PC as a client, but if you are using an old PC may be you should / might want to do it.

Use "n-lite" to strip down you copy of windows XP service pack 2 or 3, there are guides of how to do this on the n lite site.

Step 2 - Install your OS.

Install you OS on the PC you intend to use as a client. If you already have XP service pack 2 or 3 on there already save some time and maybe use that.

Step 3 - Learn your user and network setting.

You need to know your user name and passwords for your PC you intend to log on to (your "server" and the computers name.

Step 4 - Tinkering with the Registry.

Step 4.1 - mstsc.exe instead of explorer.exe

If you have got this far you probably know and accept the fact that messing about with the registry in windows can mess it up to the point where you have to reinstall . . . . .

First off we have to change the windows shell so it looks for mstsc.exe in stead of explorer.exe

type regedit in the run box and navigate to the following bit:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Find this key () and right click > modify.

Change explorer.exe to mstsc.exe.

Step 4.2 - Change / Set Default User

You don't have to do this bit, but if you don't you will have to log in twice, once top the local client, and then again to the remote desktop.

In regedit:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.

Edit Value : "DefaultUserName"

If this isn't present then create the value, put in the user name that you specified during installing you OS or "administrator". To create a value right click on empty window space in regedit, "new" will appear select "string value" and rename to "DefaultUserName"

Edit Value "DefaultPassword"

If this isn't present then create the value.

Step 5 - Reboot Client

With your fingers crossed reboot your client, make sure your server is on.

You should be presented with:


Type in the computers name you are using as a server. For a guide of home to find you server / computers name.

Click More Options and select features you would like to be available during you session, for a home network you should be able to switch on all of the "experience" features.


Click Connect and away you go.

Desktop Study

Sustainability Consultants

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