By Ellie / Last Updated March 14, 2024

How do I Remote Desktop from Mac to Windows?


I'm currently trying to set up Remote Desktop access from my Mac to my Windows PC, but I'm running into some difficulties. I've tried following online tutorials, but I'm still struggling to get everything working smoothly. Could anyone who has experience with this offer some advice or tips?”

- Question from Reddit

Remote Desktop from Mac to Windows

Microsoft Remote Desktop is a versatile tool, enabling users to access their computers remotely from any location. With support for both Windows and Mac systems, it facilitates seamless control over work and files, ensuring productivity even when away from the desk.

How to Remote Desktop from Mac to Windows

Establishing Remote Desktop from Mac to Windows is fairly simple. Remote Desktop Connection is a native feature in Windows, while Mac users must manually download Remote Desktop. To begin, ensure both your Mac and Windows PC are linked to the same network, like your home Wi-Fi network. Alternatively, if they're on separate networks, configure port forwarding on your router to direct all incoming Remote Desktop traffic to your computer. Below, you'll find detailed instructions to assist you through the setup process.

Part 1. Set up Remote Desktop on Windows PC

Setting up Remote Desktop on Windows PC involves a few steps to ensure a smooth connection. Follow these instructions to get started:

  • Enable Remote Desktop on Windows PC

Step 1. Go to: Settings > System > Remote Desktop.

Step 2. Switch on the Enable Remote Desktop option, then click Confirm.

Enable Remote Desktop

  • Allow remote connections to this computer

Step 1. Choose Control Panel > System and Security > System. Under the "System" section, click on Remote settings.

remote setting

Step 2. Tick the box next to "Allow remote connections to this computer" and then click OK.

remote desktop tab

  • Note down your Windows computer's IP address or hostname

Step 1. Press Win + R on the host computer to open the Run dialog box. Enter "cmd" and click OK.

run box cmd

Step 2. In the Command Prompt, type "ipconfig" and note down the IPv4 Address, which will be used for Remote Desktop.

find the computer name in the console

Step 3. To find the PC name for Remote Desktop, type "query user" in the Command Prompt. Your PC name will be displayed.

find the username in the control panel

  • Configure firewall settings on your Windows

Step 1. On the host computer, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall.

defender firewall

Step 2. Click on "Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall" in the left navigation.

allow app or feature

Step 3. Check the box next to "Remote Desktop" and then click OK.

tick remote deskop

Part 2. Connect to a Windows Computer from Mac

After the Microsoft Remote Desktop is properly configured on Windows, the following is how to remote desktop from Mac to Windows:

Step 1. Obtain the Microsoft Remote Desktop program for your Mac. Ensure you have a locally installed RDP client. If not, it's recommended to download the Microsoft Remote Desktop App from the Mac App Store.

Step 2. Launch Microsoft Remote Desktop and press the "+" button. Select "Desktop" to initiate a new connection.

New Desktop

Step 3. Input connection details. Assign a name to the connection in the "Friendly name" field. Specify the fully qualified domain name of the Windows computer you want to connect to via RDP. Press "Add" to incorporate the desktop connection.

Add A Desktop Information

Step 4. Double-click on the connection to establish the connection.

Connect to Remote Desktop

Step 5. You'll be prompted to enter your username and password. Input your MCECS username as "cecs\username", including the "cecs" prefix. Use your MCECS username and password for CAT-managed computers.

User Certificate

Step 6. Occasionally, you might receive a warning regarding the server certificate, which is due to certain internal configurations. Click OK to acknowledge it. The Windows desktop will then appear.

Mac Windows 10 Connected

Note: Microsoft Remote Desktop only supports remote access from Mac to Windows. If you wish to remote desktop from Windows to Mac, it's recommended to opt for third-party remote desktop software such as TeamViewer or AnyDesk.

Bonus tip: Remote desktop from Windows to Windows

For remote desktop access from Windows to Windows, consider using AnyViewer. This free, yet professional remote desktop software for Windows offers a straightforward solution to access and control a Windows computer from another.

AnyViewer boasts a plethora of impressive features, including:

  • Secure measures: AnyViewer prioritizes security by employing robust end-to-end 256-bit Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) encryption, safeguarding your data's privacy during transmission. Moreover, it enhances account security through two-factor authentication, thwarting unauthorized access attempts.
  • Accessibility beyond the local network: AnyViewer facilitates remote access and control of devices over the internet, even when they are located behind firewalls or NAT routers. This functionality streamlines remote desktop scenarios, allowing users to connect to their computers from anywhere globally.
  • Additional features: AnyViewer comes packed with supplementary features aimed at enhancing the remote access experience. These include convenient file transfer capabilities, integrated chat functionality, and the ability to reboot and reconnect to a remote computer seamlessly.

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AnyViewer on both computers.

Download Freeware Win PCs & Servers
Secure Download

Step 2. Navigate to the login section and click on "Sign up" if you haven't already created an account. If you have an existing account, simply log in.

log in anyviewer

Step 3. Log in to the same AnyViewer account on both devices. Then, utilize the "One-click control" feature to establish unattended remote access.


Tips: For businesses with heightened needs, consider upgrading to a Professional or Enterprise plan. This upgrade offers expanded capabilities, including the ability to monitor multiple devices simultaneously, group management functionalities, mass deployment options, and more.

The bottom line

In conclusion, establishing Remote Desktop from Mac to Windows is an essential skill for seamless workflow management across platforms. By following the stepwise tutorial provided, users can bridge the gap between their Mac and Windows devices effortlessly, ensuring uninterrupted access to files and applications.

Leveraging tools like Microsoft Remote Desktop and AnyViewer opens up a realm of possibilities, facilitating secure and efficient remote access beyond local networks. Whether for personal or professional use, mastering remote desktop connections enhances productivity and flexibility, empowering users to stay connected and productive from anywhere.