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How To Copy Files From Remote Desktop: Detailed Guide

Olga Weis Olga Weis Aug 18, 2021

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) gives users the ability to remotely view and operate a Windows desktop. And often it is required to reliably and quickly copy files to a remote desktop from a local machine. Microsoft has developed this functionality a long time ago, so connecting external hard drives to the remote desktop to transfer files can be accomplished with RDC in a matter of minutes.

If you’re using RDC and want to know how to copy files from remote desktop PCs, you will need to properly configure your RDC setup.

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Is it possible to copy files to remote desktop only on Windows?

RDC utilizes Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol to share files to remote desktop sessions. This functionality comes standard in every edition of Windows 10 and Windows Server.

There are RDP-compatible software tools by Microsoft that also provide Mac users with the ability to connect to Windows PCs and access mobile platforms like iOS and Android.

If you’re on a Mac computer, you can transfer files to Windows remote desktops by using the Redirection tab (located in the Remote Desktop app).

Windows users have the Remote Desktop Connection tool already built-in, which makes configuring file-sharing settings (before connecting), simple and fast.

Transfer files with Remote Desktop - step-by-step-walkthrough

Open the Remote Desktop Connect tool (located either in the Windows Start menu or by searching for “mstsc/remote desktop/RDC”.

Remote Desktop Connection’s first launch will seem pretty simple. Usually, you would enter the IP address of the remote machine and then click the connect button. However, for this circumstance, before being able to copy files to a remote desktop, a configuration is needed.
 open remote desktop
Click “Show Options” from the Remote Desktop Connection window (this shows RDC’s configuration options).
 remote desktop additional options
Access the remote desktop file-sharing settings, go to the Local Resources tab.
Click “More” (which can be found at the bottom of the Local Devices and Resources section).

From within the Local Devices and Resources box, you can configure the remote desktop connection to transfer files with remote Windows PCs.
 remote desktop local resources
Click the “+” arrow next to “Drives” (this will expand the section, allowing you to transfer local files and/or folders to remote desktop).

You can share your available Windows drives while inside the Drives section. For example, any attached optical drives (such as a CD drive, DVD drive, or portable storage - like flash drives) are sharable in case you want to connect to them in the future.
Share the desired storage with a remote machine by checking a box next to it displayed in the GUI. Then hit OK.
 copy files to remote desktop
Return to the General tab once drive sharing settings are all done.
In the General tab, enter the server/remote PC’s IP address in the Computer field (found beneath the “Log on Settings” section).
Click Connect to access a remote machine.
 connect to remote desktop
Open Windows File Explorer once a successful connection to a remote desktop session is established.
From within the Devices and Drives section, you’ll be able to open and copy files from shared disks to remote desktop.
 transfer files to remote desktop
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