Closely related to Remote Assistance, and therefore easily confused with it, is Remote Desktop. Essentially, they do the same thinglet another user take over your computerbut with Remote Desktop, this other user is you. But before you read further, know that this won't work on XP Home. Remote Desktop is only available on the Professional Edition.
For example, say you're at the office or on the road and want access to a letter you wrote on your XP desktop back home. To do this, you either need to teleport your home system to the hotel roomor you can use Remote Desktop. Remote Desktop will let you connect to your home computer and use all applications, files, and network resources as if you were sitting right there. Very cool.
You could even use Remote Desktop to initiate a defrag of your home system while you're at the office. Start the defrag on your home system on your lunch hour, for example, and you should return home to a freshly defragged drive.
Further, Remote Desktop automatically locks the Remote computer so no one else can access your applications and files while you are gone. In this example, you can unlock your home computer (the Remote Desktop computer) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del.
But note that Remote Desktop is not enabled by default. To enable it, you have to check the "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer" check box. To find this check box, again look in the Remote tab of the System Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure 9-13.
Figure 9-13. Allowing Remote Desktop.
Then you select which users will be able to remotely connect and control the computer. By default, the administrator account has this ability, but you can add others, as shown in Figure 9-14.
Figure 9-14. Adding Remote Desktop users.
To start the Remote Desktop session, click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Communications | Remote Desktop Connection. You get the dialog box shown in Figure 9-15. Specify the computer name or IP address of the system you're connecting to and click connect. A new window opens with the desktop of the Remote Desktop computer.
Figure 9-15. Establishing a Remote Desktop connection.