Remote Access to your Office Computer

Important: Western ROAMs access is required for Remote Access to your office computer. Instructions can be found below and in Using Western ROAMs.

Introduction

With Windows 7 installed on your office computer, you can use the Remote Desktop feature to allow you to work on that computer remotely. This means, for example, that you can connect to your office computer from home and have access to all of your applications, files, printers, and network resources as though you were in your office. You can leave programs running on your office computer and when you get home, you can see your desktop in your office displayed on your home computer, with the same programs running.

Before leaving your office, you can lock that computer so no one else can access your applications and files while you are gone. When you come back to your office computer, you unlock it by typing in your UWO username and password.

In this Help Note, remote computer will be used to designate your office computer, and local computer will be the computer you are using to connect to your office computer. While connected, processing takes place on the remote computer, not the local one. Thus, the local PC does not need to be a powerful machine to take advantage of the power and resources of your remote office PC. The essential requirement is a high-speed internet connection and access to
Western Remote Access Management system (ROAMs) as explained in section 4 below.

Setting up the Office Computer

This section describes how to setup your office computer for remote access. Your office computer must be left turned on whenever you need remote access to it. It does not, however, need to be left logged in. When you connect to your office computer, a valid UWO Network username/password is required to gain access.

To setup your office computer for remote access, enable the Remote Desktop feature in Windows 7. You must be a Local Administrator on your computer. If you are not a Local Administrator, you will see a message when you attempt the following steps asking you to contact your Administrator. Click on the Start orb and right-click on Computer and select Properties. Record the Full computer name as it is shown in this window; you will need this when you launch the remote desktop session described in section 4 below. Then choose Remote settings from the menu on the left. Ensure that the box beside Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop is selected. 

System Properties window

Next, click the Select Users... button. Click Add to insert the usernames of additional people who you wish to grant remote access to. The username must be entered as: UWO\username (e.g., UWO\brown9, will allow the user brown9 to remotely access your office computer). Users who are administrators on the office computer (i.e. your own username) do not need to be added since these are automatically given remote access.

Locking Your Office Computer

You can log off your office computer before leaving for home and start a new session later, or simply stay logged in to your current Windows session to resume work later and leave applications or files you are working on open.

For security reasons, it is advisable that you enable a screen saver with a password. This will cause your computer to be automatically locked after the specified period of time to prevent someone else, who has access to your office, from using your logged in account. Alternatively, you can force your computer to be locked by simply pressing the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keyboard sequence and clicking on the Lock Computer button that appears within the Windows Security window.

Your office computer also becomes locked when you connect to it remotely. Note that only those users that have been explicitly allowed access (typically only your username) can use your computer remotely.

Note: As a power saving measure, you may power off your monitor when leaving since it is not required for remote access but your computer must be powered on.

Setting up the Local Computer

In order to access computing resources at UWO from off-campus, you are required to login to Western ROAMs at remote.uwo.ca. Before you can do that successfully, you have to complete the Corporate Data Access Form found at www.uwo.ca/wts/identity/identity_support/CDA.pdf and place a check mark beside Western ROAMs. Many faculty and staff have been granted access already. There are more detailed instructions in the Western ROAMs Help Document. If you have Western ROAMs access, the steps to Remote Desktop to your office computer from off-campus are as follows:

  • Login to Western ROAMs using Pulse Secure.
  • Use the Remote Desktop Connection on your local computer to connect to the office computer (see below).
  • Use Remote Desktop as you would normally.
  • Log off or disconnect your Remote Desktop Session
  • Remember to disconnect Pulse Secure (Western ROAMs) when you are finished with your Remote Desktop Session.

This step is not necessary when using Remote Desktop while on campus.

Connecting to the Office Computer

Run Remote Desktop and connect to your office computer by clicking the following:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > (Communications) > Remote Desktop Connection

Or, for Windows 10, in the search bar, start typing Remote Desktop Connection

In the Computer field type the full computer name of your office computer (this was noted in the section Setting up the Office Computer above). Then, login and work as if you were in your office—you will experience the same interaction with your office computer as you would sitting in your office.

Shortcut

To make it easier to invoke, you may want to create a shortcut to Remote Desktop Connection on your desktop. To do this, select the menu item as described above, right-click Remote Desktop Connection and choose Copy. Then, right-click on the desktop and choose Paste Shortcut.

Performance

To improve your Remote Desktop performance, in the Remote Desktop Connection window, prior to connecting, click:

Show Options > Experience

Choose your connection speed, and the recommended options will be automatically selected from the list as shown below. You can select or deselect options at your discretion.

Experience

Local Resources

A particularly useful feature of Remote Desktop is the ability to map local resources, such as your C: drive or your printer, to the remote computer. In the Remote Desktop Connection window, prior to connecting, click:

Show Options > Local Resources

and check the devices that you want mapped to the remote computer. Click on the More button to connect Drives and Plug and Play devices.

Working in the Remote Session

Connection Bar

When you are working in the Remote session, you can switch back to your local computer by clicking on the minimize button in the Connection bar at the top of the window. The Restore Down button will resize your Remote Desktop Connection window down and the Connection Bar will be replaced by the normal windows' minimize, maximize and close buttons. The Connection Bar feature enables you to easily minimize and maximize a full-screen Remote Desktop session. There is a pushpin on the left side of the Connection Bar. If it is turned on, the Connection Bar is always displayed. If the pushpin is not turned on, the Connection Bar is only displayed when you move the mouse to the top of the screen.

Copy and Paste

The copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V) feature can be used to move blocks of text and images from the Remote Computer to your Local Computer or vice versa.

Screen Resolution

If the Screen Resolution of your Local Computer is different from that of the Remote Computer, the icons on the Desktop of the Remote Computer could be rearranged. It is recommended that you use the same Screen Resolution on both your Remote Computer and Local Computer. The Screen Resolution should be set on your Office Computer when you are in your office. To set your Screen Resolution, right-click on the Desktop and choose Screen Resolution. Choose the correct resolution from the drop down menu. Please check your monitor's manual for appropriate Screen Resolutions.

Closing the Remote Session

When you are finished working, click Start and select Logoff. If you select Disconnect, you may resume the same session the next time you login to your office computer either remotely or directly. You can also Disconnect by clicking on the X in the Connection bar. Remember to sign off of Western ROAMs if you are working from off-campus.

If you need assistance with the items discussed in this Help Note or with setting up your office PC for remote access, please call ext. 82152 or email ssts-help@uwo.ca.