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May 20, 2014

How to see your desktop on your Lumia smartphone

If you’re away from your desk but need to connect to your desktop PC, look no further than the Microsoft Remote Desktop app.

This preview version of the app can be installed on smartphones running the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers and can provide you with access to your files no matter where you are.


On the PC end, you’ll need one of the following versions of Windows to connect:

  • Windows Client operating systems (Pro or Enterprise): Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista
  • Windows Server operating systems: Windows Server 2012 R2, Window Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003

To connect your Lumia to your PC, you’ll need to go through some essential configurations.

Firstly, you’ll need to add a new desktop, which can be done right at the start screen of the app – called the Connection Center – by pressing the add (+) icon.

You’ll then be asked to enter the name of the PC you want to connect to, as well as given the option to change the credentials.

Be default, you’ll be asked to enter credentials every time you attempt to start a session. However, selecting Add credentials from the drop-down list easily changes this.

There’s an additional advanced screen just a swipe away should you want to rename that desktop to something more memorable, rather than trying to recognise an IP address.

This is particularly useful if you’re planning to connect to more than one desktop.

The way you interact with the connected desktop will depend on what OS is running on the PC.

If it’s running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 then your default interaction mode will be touch and the desktop will respond just as it would should you be using a touch monitor. Just make your moves on the screen of your Lumia.

There’s even support for multiple touch points – up to ten!

If your PC is running Windows 7 or earlier, a mouse pointer will be the default interaction method.


Much like a touchpad on any laptop, the screen on your Lumia is transformed into a touchpad where you can drag the cursor around the screen.

Any typing you need to do on your desktop can be performed on your phone’s keyboard by using the connection bar at the top of the screen.

If at any point you need to bring up the Start menu or switch back to the Start screen of your desktop, the camera hardware button has been reconfigured for the job while the app is running.

With help on setting up the remote PCs, click here.

Microsoft Remote Desktop is free to download and can be found on the Windows Phone store now.