I'm having trouble setting up Remote Desktop access on a Windows XP computer.


  • I can connect to it from the local network, by typing it's IP (
  • The Windows firewall is configured to let incoming connections to port 3389 through
  • The router NAT is configured to forward port 3389 (TCP/UDP) to
  • I can telnet the router's public IP at port 3389 and I actually connect
  • I can NOT connect to the public IP using Remote Desktop Client

What's wrong?

  • What does "I can NOT connect to the public IP using Remote Desktop Client" mean? You're receiving some kind of error message. What is it? – Evan Anderson Sep 24 '09 at 8:42
  • Yes that's pretty much it. "Remote Desktop can't connect to the remote computer..." – Tomas Andrle Sep 24 '09 at 8:46
  • You're sourcing this failing connection from a host on the outside interface of the NAT router? – Evan Anderson Sep 24 '09 at 8:47
  • Nope, the RDP connection I'm testing is from the inside, but using the public IP. Is that wrong? The telnet connection was from a remote machine though (SSH to a 3rd party server, telnet from there). – Tomas Andrle Sep 24 '09 at 8:48
  • Yes, that's wrong. Tunnel through ssh to make your connection come from outside. – Gleb Sep 24 '09 at 10:18

Generally, SOHO routers are not required to and don't do port forwarding when you try to connect to the external address from inside.

  • I disagree. In the last five years it is an odd thing to find a SOHO router that does not do port forwarding / NAT translation (at least in North America where the bulk of my experience is). Furthermore, the OP states "The router NAT is configured to forward port 3389 (TCP/UDP) to" which implies that there is indeed a port forwarding function within the router's interface. – Wesley Sep 24 '09 at 14:35
  • Did you happen to notice the word 'inside'? I don't see it addressed in your comment. – Gleb Sep 24 '09 at 14:56
  • I admit guilt that I did not notice the word "inside" in your post and that the main point of my first comment is now disproved. Nevertheless, I still disagree by experience that its common to not honor port forwarding rules on SOHO routers when using the external IP address from within the LAN. – Wesley Sep 24 '09 at 15:49

I suspect that the RDP rule on your Windows firewall is set to not allow connections outside of your subnet. Go into your firewall, go to the exceptions tab, select the RDP exception, select "edit", select "change scope" and change the scope to allow "any computer (including those on the internet)".

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