Are you getting the “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” error? If yes, determine the main reasons for this error and 16 significant fixes.
Imagine that you work on a PC setup and have to go somewhere. But you can’t afford to go and do the work there. You can’t either postpone the work later since it’s pretty urgent.
Any solution? Yes, there is!
And the solution is to use the Remote Desktop feature of your computer.
This feature allows you to access your computer remotely, and it only needs the Username and Password of your PC.
This RDP feature requires a strong internet connection, which can be accessed anywhere in the world.
However, while setting up a remote connection, there are high chances of you encountering the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error as several other users do.
This article will discuss how to fix this “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” error that may arise for various reasons.
But first, we need to know how it may be caused so that we can quickly try and fix the error without any technical know-how.
Reasons Behind The Remote Desktop Can’t Find The Computer Error Pop Up.
Here are some common reasons why the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error message.
- Unstable Internet Connection
First and foremost, you must have a stable and high-speed Wi-Fi network to connect to the Remote Desktop. If not, the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error is inevitable.
- Windows Updates Problem
Due to corrupt files, the Remote Desktop may not work as it should. Finding the file that conflicts with RDP will be challenging, and you might be dealing with a Windows Update error.
So, check and update your Windows to the latest version, if any.
- Antivirus Software Is Blocking RDP Services
A third-party antivirus and the built-in Windows Defender may also cause problems by blocking the Remote Desktop connection. But it might solely be due to Windows Defender as well.
You can easily find out if an antivirus is causing the issue and which it is by switching off the antivirus for a while and checking connecting to the Remote Desktop.
If the connection then starts working, it means that the antivirus is blocking the connection. Thus, it would be best if you kept it disabled.
- The Remote PC Might Be Turned Off Or Disconnected
It might even be that the remote PC you are trying to connect to is turned off or disconnected. And that’s why you’re getting the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error.
Ensure the PC is turned on and the remote access is also turned on.
- Wrong Credentials
You could even put the wrong credentials on the connecting page. Recheck all the entered information just to be sure.
- Insufficient Permission
Another reason behind the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error could be that the account you’re trying to connect from has insufficient permission for the connection.
So, make sure the computer has all the necessary permissions.
- Network Related Issues
It could be that the configuration of listening ports is incorrect or another network-related issue.
- Essential Services on Remote Desktop
Essential services on the Remote Desktop aren’t enabled? That’s why the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer.
Ensure all the essential services on the Remote Desktop are enabled.
- Switch To A Private Network
You may need to switch to a private network for a Remote Desktop connection. You can also change your current connection network profile to private from public.
16 Fixes For The “Remote Desktop Can’t Find The Computer” Error On Windows 10/11
If you can’t find the solution to this problem on your own, start by applying the solutions given below one by one till it fixes the “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” issue.
- Check Windows Version
- Enable Remote Desktop
- Configure Your Firewall Settings
- Disable Antivirus And Windows Defender
- Troubleshoot Internet Connection
- Enable Remote Desktop services
- Flush The DNS Cache
- Reset Credentials
- Check The RDP Port
- Check The Group Policy
- Clear The Connections History Using The Windows Registry
- Check The Network Properties
- Switch To A Private Network
- Solve Potential Crowding On Port 3389
- Add The Hostname To The Hosts File
- Turn Off Custom Scaling
Let’s now discuss each of these solutions in detail below.
1. Check Your Windows Version
Note that the Remote Desktop connection feature is only available on Windows 10 Pro and higher. So it won’t work on Windows 10 Home, for example.
But you can still run it on Windows 10 Home using the RDP Wrapper Library on GitHub.
2. Enable Remote Desktop Option
You have to enable the Remote Desktop option on both computers to access the Remote Desktop on your computer.
You can do this by following these steps.
- Go to Start Menu, then click on Settings.
- Find the Remote Desktop option on the left pane of Settings.
- The Remote Desktop option will be there with a radio button. Toggle it on.
- A confirmation dialog box will appear. Click on Confirm.
- A list item will appear under Remote Desktop, called PC name, PC name being the name of your PC. Copy it and use it to connect to the computer remotely.
You must follow these steps and enable the Remote Desktop option on both computers.
Check whether the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error solved. If not, try the following solution.
3. Configure Your Firewall Settings
If the Firewall has blocked the device from connecting to any other device online, that could also be why Remote Desktop can’t find the computer.
Follow these steps to make sure it can connect.
- Go to Start Menu, then Control Panel.
- Find Windows Defender Firewall.
- On the left pane, find Allow an app Or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.
- Now you can see all the apps and features it is blocking.
- Click on Change Settings.
- Find Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop. Allow both Private and Public in it.
Now, again check for the error.
4. Disable Antivirus And Windows Defender
As aforementioned, the antivirus and the Windows Defender may be blocking the resources the Remote Desktop uses.
Try switching both off to ensure the Remote Desktop can access everything it needs.
If the Remote Desktop works correctly, you must configure the antivirus and Windows Defender to block the remote desktop.
5. Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi Internet Connection
Even if the computer has internet access, there may be some error with the Remote Desktop. After all, it would help if you had a stable internet connection for it to work.
You can run the Network Adaptor troubleshooter to check for errors. To run it, follow these steps.
- Go to the Start menu.
- Open Settings.
- In settings, open the System and then Troubleshoot.
- Scroll down and click on the Run on Network Adapter option.
Now, choose to connect to this desktop using the Remote Desktop connection. The troubleshooter will now diagnose the problem with the remote desktop.
After it is complete, you will get the details of things stopping the Remote Desktop from running.
6. Enable Remote Desktop Services
If Remote Desktop can’t find the computer, it may also mean that Remote Desktop services aren’t disabled.
Follow these steps to enable these Remote Desktop services.
- Go to the Start menu, open the Run box, and type services.MSC.
- A services window will open, showing all the services running in the background.
- Double-click on Remote Desktop Configuration by scrolling down.
- A Remote Desktop Configuration property dialog box will appear. Make sure that the startup type here is either Manual Or Automatic. Service status should be Running.
- If you made any changes here, click Apply, then OK.
You can also check this in the Task Manager. Follow these steps for opening through the Task Manager.
- Press the Ctrl+Alt+Dlt keys simultaneously.
- Go to Task Manager.
- Click on the Services tab.
- Make sure that the TeamService and UmRdpStatus are running.
7. Flush The DNS Cache
Some frequently used addresses are stored in the cache often. These can cause connectivity issues resulting in the Remote Desktop malfunctioning.
And thus, you get the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error.
Follow these steps to flush the DNS cache and solve the problem.
- Press Windows + R key.
- Type cmd in the Run box and press Control + Shift + Enter to run the Command Prompt as an Administrator.
- Type the following command – ipconfig/flushdns.
- Hit the Enter key.
8. Reset Credentials
If you are trying to connect to a PC you previously linked to, the old credentials might be being used again to connect. This causes a problem if it’s not matching with the new credentials. Hence, it’s recommended to reset the credentials.
Follow these steps to make sure it is good to go.
- Open the Remote Desktop connection app.
- Insert the IP address of the computer you are trying to connect to.
- You can also manage the credentials from the User Accounts Panel in the Control Panel.
- Make the necessary changes to connect, check, and save it.
9. Check The RDP Port
Open the Registry Editor by going to the Search box and typing Registry Editor or “Regedit” in the Run dialog box.
Check the Listener Port being used by the Remote desktop. Port 3389 is used by default in it.
However, if another computer uses the same port by any chance, the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error will show up.
To fix it, go to the RDP-TCP directory. If you want to save time, use the Find Function inside the edit tab.
Search for Port Number and check the number of the listener port. If it is 3389, try changing it to something else to connect to a different port.
To change the PortNumber, right-click on it and select Modify. This will open the editing window.
It should default be “d3d,” which is hexadecimal for 3389 ports. Please change it to decimal by clicking on the decimal option, and then change the port number to another port, for example, 3388.
Now, try connecting to the remote computer again. You shouldn’t get the “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” error now.
10. Check The Group Policy
Incorrect Group Policy settings may also interfere with the Remote Desktop.
Follow these steps to change and modify the group policy (if needed).
- Run window (or press Windows + R) and type gpedit.msc in the input field.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections.
- Find the “Allow users to connect remotely by using the Remote Desktop Services” option.
- If it is disabled, change this setting to Enabled or Not Configured.
Now, check if the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer error is resolved or not.
11. Clear The Connections History Using The Windows Registry
It may happen that the connection history cache is causing problems and not allowing the remote computer to connect to the desktop.
You can open the registry editor by typing Registry Editor in the Search box and then launching it or typing “Regedit” in the Run dialog box.
Find the Terminal server client folder and delete all MRU entries you find. If you can’t find the entries, go to Edit and select Find. Type ‘Terminal Server Client’ in the search box.
To remove the entries, right-click on them and click Delete.
12. Check The Network Properties
Sometimes, the Remote Desktop application blocks public networks for safety reasons. In this case, you have to set the network from public to private. Follow these steps to do so.
- Open Settings.
- Find the Network & Internet option.
- Open Status and find Properties in the right panel.
- Choose Private in the network profile and connect to the remote computer again.
13. Switch To A Private Network
The public network may be blocking the Remote Desktop connections. The recommended method to solve this is to connect a Private network. You can also switch your network profile from Public to Private.
To change the network Profile to Private, find the Network icon on your taskbar and the connected connection, which will take you to the Settings app.
Select the network you are connected to. There will be two network profiles, public and private. If the connection is public, try setting it private to resolve the issue.
14. Solve Potential Crowding On Port 3389
As previously discussed, by default, a Remote Desktop computer uses port 3389. If another computer uses the same port, your computer will have problems connecting to the port.
To fix this problem, follow these steps.
- Open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows + R key and run Regedit.
- Navigate to
- Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp.
- Look for the value of the port number and double-click on it.
- It will have the value d3d, hexadecimal for 3389, which you need to change to decimal by clicking on the decimal radio button and then switching to 3388.
- Press Ok and Exit.
15. Add The Host Name To The Host File
The hosts’ files on the system may miss the RDP server entry. Follow these steps to enter it manually and see if it fixes the issue.
- Press the Windows key + X key and select Command prompt from the list to open it.
- In the command prompt, type this in and press the Enter key.
- Notepad C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
- This opens the Hosts file in a Notepad.
- Add the string in the following format- 127.0.0.1 (Host name of the server)
- Press Control + S key to save it.
- Close all that you opened.
Check if the issue is solved.
16. Turn Off Custom Scaling
Last but not least, the “Remote Desktop can’t find the computer” should get solved by turning off custom scaling.
Follow these steps to do so.
- Open the Settings app by pressing Windows + I key.
- Go to the System section.
- If the Custom Scaling is already turned on, a custom scale factor set message will appear.
- Click on Turn Off Custom Scaling and sign out.
The problem may be related to custom scaling if the Remote Desktop does not connect. Users mostly use custom scaling on big large monitors. But it may also cause problems with Remote desktops.
We have recommended you try this solution because it has worked for many. When you sign back in, the scaling should be set to default, and the problem should be solved.
So, here you go. There are thus many reasons why the Remote Desktop can’t find the computer, and as many solutions, if not more, to solve the problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Does It Mean When A “Remote Desktop Can’t Find The Computer?”
Ans: It means that the Remote Computer has either been turned off on the Remote Desktop or it has been disconnected from the computer.
Double-check to ensure that the host machine is connected to the internet. Also, make sure that it has remote access enabled.
How Do I Find My Computer Name For A Remote Desktop?
Ans: Follow these steps to find your computer name for a Remote Desktop.
Search for This PC.
Open This PC and find Properties.
From the the computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, write down the given computer name in the middle of your screen.
How Do I Connect To A Remote Computer Without A Static IP?
Ans: You need to use a dynamic DNS provider for it.
Sign up for an account on a dynamic DNS provider
Pick a domain name to use
Install the given Dynamic Update Client
Next, set up the DUC with account information. The DUC then provides updates to the provider if the IP changes.