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CONFIGURE AND FIX / ENABLE REMOTE ACCESS FOR WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM

Configure and enable remote access for windows operating system

There can be several reasons on why you cannot access a remote computer in your network. In this guide we will focus on troubleshooting the issues you might need to configure to enable a remote access for a computer running a Windows operating system.

There are three important components that needs to be correctly configurated before you can connect and access a remote computer under your current user access credentials.

1. Able to ping within 1500 ms response time.
2. Able to access the file system without been asked for a username and a password.
3. Able to access the remote registry without been asked for a username and a password.

Before checking required settings in Windows for a remote access please make sure you can ...

Ping the remote computer as it appears in the application (hostname or ip-address).

The easiest way to check a remote computer for a ping activity is to execute the cmd.exe program built-in Windows and write ping <machine> where <machine> is the hostname or ip-address of the remote computer you are troubleshooting.

Note, it is very important you ping the remote computer exactly from the same name as it appears in the application you are having a trouble connect to remote computer.

Sometimes remote computers can be pinged as ip-address and not as a hostname and in such cases there might be an issue with your network DHCP/DNS server in your domain/workgroup.

Screenshot of the Command Prompt (cmd.exe) program built-in Windows.
Ping Remote Host from Command Line to Check Ping Response
If the ping task succeed we need to check if you can access the file system on the remote computer.

Remember to use exactly the same hostname or ip-address you used in the ping test.

Check access to the file system using the built-in Windows Explorer.

The easiest way to check access to the file system is using the built-in Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) that comes with Windows. Execute it and write the following into the edit box.

\\<machine>\C$ where <machine> is the hostname or ip-address of the remote computer.

Screenshot of the built-in Windows Explorer running on Windows 8 operating system.
Check Remote Access To File System From Windows Explorer
If you can access the C$ share on the remote computer without entering a username and a password then you have full access to the remote file system from your current logged in user credentials.

If you are been asked for a username and a password then your current privilege does not match the administrator privilege on the remote computer and you will need to fix that before continue to the next step of the troubleshooting.

Screenshot of the password dialog in case the file system access was denied.
Gain Access Rights by Entering Password to Match Remote Host
If the file system access task succeeded we need to check if you can access the remote registry system on the remote computer via Remote Registry service.

Remember to use exactly the same hostname or ip-address you used previously.

Check access to the registry system using the built-in Registry Editor (regedit.exe).

The easiest way to check access to the remote registry system is using the built-in
Registry Editor (regedit.exe) that comes with Windows installation.

Now Execute regedit.exe and open the menu File > Connect Network Registry...
Establish Remote Connection to Remote Registry Service
Enter the remote computer name exactly the same as in the previous tests and click OK.
Assign Remote Computer to Connect Remote Registry
If you can access the Remote Registry on the remote computer without entering a username and a password and you can locate and open
the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft registry key, then you should have a full access to the registry system from your current
logged in user credentials. If you are been asked for a username and a password then your current privilege does not match the administrator
privilege on the remote computer or it can be the Remote Registry service is not started and needs to be set to Automatic mode and then
start the service.

Screenshot of the dialog in case the registry system access was denied.
Enter Username and Password to Get Admin Rights for Remote Registry
If you passed all the three important checks then you should have a remote access to the specific remote computer and you should be able
to use the application for remote tasks.

My tests did not pass and I still have an issue connecting remotely

Below you will find steps to enable and activate correct Windows settings for a remote access within company‘s network using
Administrator privilege.

Make sure you have administrator rights from your current user credentials and from the same user that is running the application
you are having remote access troubles from.

Domain environment

If you are running in a domain environment please make sure your username is a member of the Domain Admin group and UAC group
policy is configured correctly to ZERO.

Workgroup environment

If you are running in a workgroup environment then you need to have a username created on the remote computer exactly with the same
name and password where you execute the application from. In a workgroup environment the username and password system have to
match to allow administrator privileges,  i.e.. Account to Account.
Activate and configure Windows components for a remote access

Windows Firewall

If the Windows Firewall is active and running you need to enable the File and Printer Sharing rule. Or open the required ports for remote
access within network, i.e.. (5355, 137, 138, 139, 445).

Also make sure the firewall is set to accept ECHO request (ping intervals).

Screenshot of the File and Printer sharing rule in Windows Firewall.
Enable File and Printer Sharing for Windows Firewall
Remote Registry service

If the Remote Registry (remoteregistry) service is set to Manual or Disabled state and not started you need to configure it to be set to
Automatic for the StartType and then start the service. This can be configured from the Windows Service Manager in Control Panel applet
Administrative Tools or by running the program directly from the command line as ... %windir%\system32\services.msc

Screenshot of the Remote Registry service selected from the Windows Service Manager.

Double click on the Remote Registry item to change the service configuration.
Set Remote Registry Service to Automatic State and Start the Service
Change the Startup type to Automatic.
Set Remote Registry Service to Automatic Mode
Then start the Remote Registry (remoteregistry) service by clicking on the Start button.
Set Remote Registry Service to Automatic Mode And Start It
Remote registry access should be enabled now if you are running in a domain environment but in case you have a workgroup environment and still have an issue accessing remote computers in your network please follow the next steps.

Configure workgroup environment for a remote access.

User Access Control - UAC

Open Control Panel and open the applet User Accounts or execute it from a command line as ...

control /name Microsoft.UserAccounts or nusrmgr.cpl if you are running Windows XP
Configure User Access Control List (UAC) to Allow Admin Rights
Click on the Change User Account Control Settings
Change User Access Control List in User Accounts (Control Panel)
Change the option to Never notify and click OK.
Set User Access Control List (UAC) Settings to Never Notify
LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy

This rule is very important to add if the remote computer operating system is running Windows 7 or Windows 8 and will configure Windows to let username with the same user and password work together like in a domain environment, e.g.. Workgroup Security.

To add or configure this registry settings open the Windows Registry editor (regedit.exe) and open the registry key ...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
Configure LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy for Registry Rights
Create a new value named LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy of type DWORD (32-bit Value) on the right pane and set its data to 1.
Set LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy for Remote Registry to DWORD 1
Remote access is now correctly configurated for a workgroup environment. Note, in case you are running in a domain environment and this value is not been a part of your group policy rules you can apply this value as well.
External links that might help with remote access troubleshooting ...

How to Enable Access to Windows Administrative Shares
Click here to access the link:

Configuring User Account Control features for remote target installation
Click here to access the link:

Troubleshooting Access Denied for Administrative Shares in Windows 7
Click here to access the link:

Windows 7 - The $admin share
Click here to access the link:
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