Remote Desktop Can’t Find the Computer: Troubleshooting Guide

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a powerful feature in Windows operating systems, allowing users to connect and control a computer remotely. However, one common issue users face is the dreaded “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” error. This problem can arise from various causes, such as network issues, incorrect settings, or software conflicts. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore multiple solutions to resolve this issue and get your remote desktop connection up and running smoothly.

Table of Contents

1. Verify the Computer Name and IP Address

One of the most straightforward reasons for this error is an incorrect computer name or IP address. Ensure that you have the correct details:

  1. Check Computer Name:
    • On the remote computer, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System.
    • Note down the computer name displayed under “Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings”.
  2. Check IP Address:
    • Open Command Prompt on the remote computer by typing cmd in the Start menu and pressing Enter.
    • Type ipconfig and press Enter.
    • Note down the IPv4 Address listed under your network adapter.

2. Ensure Remote Desktop is Enabled

Remote Desktop must be enabled on the remote computer to accept connections:

  1. Enable Remote Desktop:
    • Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System.
    • Click on “Remote settings” on the left pane.
    • In the System Properties window, under the “Remote” tab, select “Allow remote connections to this computer”.
    • Ensure that “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended)” is checked for security purposes.

3. Check Network Connectivity

Ensure that both the local and remote computers are connected to the same network, or if accessing remotely, that the network configuration allows it.

  1. Ping Test:
    • Open Command Prompt on your local computer.
    • Type ping [remote computer's IP address] and press Enter.
    • If you get replies, it means the network connection is established. If not, there may be network issues.
  2. Firewall Settings:
    • Ensure that the firewall on the remote computer allows Remote Desktop connections.
    • Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall.
    • Click on “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”.
    • Ensure “Remote Desktop” is checked for both private and public networks.

4. Configure Router and Port Forwarding

If you are trying to connect over the internet, you might need to configure your router to forward the Remote Desktop port (default is 3389) to the correct internal IP address.

  1. Access Router Settings:
    • Log in to your router’s web interface. This is usually done by typing the router’s IP address (often or into a web browser.
    • Navigate to the port forwarding section.
  2. Set Up Port Forwarding:
    • Add a new port forwarding rule.
    • Set the external port and internal port to 3389.
    • Set the internal IP address to the IP address of the remote computer.
    • Save the settings and restart your router if necessary.

5. Update Network Drivers

Outdated or corrupt network drivers can cause connectivity issues. Ensure all network drivers are up to date:

  1. Update Network Drivers:
    • Right-click on the Start menu and select “Device Manager”.
    • Expand the “Network adapters” section.
    • Right-click on your network adapter and select “Update driver”.
    • Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software” and follow the prompts.

6. Check DNS Settings

Incorrect DNS settings can prevent the local computer from resolving the remote computer’s name.

  1. Verify DNS Settings:
    • Open Control Panel and go to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
    • Click on “Change adapter settings” on the left.
    • Right-click your active network connection and select “Properties”.
    • Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click “Properties”.
    • Ensure “Obtain DNS server address automatically” is selected. Alternatively, you can set it to Google’s public DNS ( and

7. Configure Remote Desktop Client Settings

Incorrect settings in the Remote Desktop client can also cause connection issues.

  1. Adjust Client Settings:
    • Open Remote Desktop Connection from the Start menu.
    • Click on “Show Options” to expand the settings.
    • Ensure the “Computer” and “User name” fields are correct.
    • Under the “Advanced” tab, click on “Settings” in the “Connect from anywhere” section.
    • Select “Use these RD Gateway server settings” and enter the necessary details if your organization uses an RD Gateway.

8. Verify User Permissions

The user account you are trying to connect with must have permission to use Remote Desktop.

  1. Check User Permissions:
    • Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System.
    • Click on “Remote settings” on the left pane.
    • In the System Properties window, under the “Remote” tab, click “Select Users”.
    • Ensure your user account is listed. If not, click “Add” and enter the username.

9. Disable IPv6

In some cases, IPv6 can cause connectivity issues. Disabling it might help.

  1. Disable IPv6:
    • Open Control Panel and go to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
    • Click on “Change adapter settings”.
    • Right-click your active network connection and select “Properties”.
    • Uncheck “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)”.
    • Click “OK” and restart your computer.

10. Check Remote Desktop Services

Remote Desktop services must be running on the remote computer.

  1. Restart Remote Desktop Services:
    • Press Win + R, type services.msc, and press Enter.
    • Find “Remote Desktop Services” in the list.
    • Right-click and select “Restart”.

11. Review Group Policy Settings

Group Policy settings can sometimes override Remote Desktop settings.

  1. Check Group Policy:
    • Press Win + R, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.
    • Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections.
    • Ensure “Allow users to connect remotely using Remote Desktop Services” is enabled.

12. Test on a Different Network

If possible, test the Remote Desktop connection on a different network to rule out network-specific issues.

13. Use a Different Remote Desktop Client

If the problem persists, try using a different Remote Desktop client, such as Microsoft Remote Desktop app available on Windows Store or other third-party clients like AnyDesk or TeamViewer.

14. Examine Event Logs

Check the Event Viewer for any logs that might give more details about the connection issue.

  1. Review Event Logs:
    • Press Win + R, type eventvwr.msc, and press Enter.
    • Navigate to Windows Logs > Application and Windows Logs > System.
    • Look for any errors or warnings that correspond to the times you attempted to connect.

15. Reinstall Remote Desktop

As a last resort, reinstalling Remote Desktop can sometimes fix underlying issues.

  1. Reinstall Remote Desktop:
    • Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    • Type DISM /Online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:Microsoft-Windows-RemoteDesktop-Server and press Enter.
    • Re-enable it by typing DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:Microsoft-Windows-RemoteDesktop-Server.


Troubleshooting Remote Desktop connection issues can be complex due to the variety of potential causes. By systematically verifying settings, network configurations, and permissions, you can often pinpoint and resolve the “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” error. Implementing these solutions should restore your ability to connect remotely, ensuring uninterrupted access to your remote systems.

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