How to Disable Remote Assistance and Desktop in Windows XP

Turn off RDP in WinXP

Why would you want to disable remote assistance or desktop? Simple, because either could be used or exploited by an attacker to gain remote access to your system, allowing them to run programs on your computer or use your computer to distribute spam or attack other computers.

Support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014.

How to Disable Remote Access in Windows XP

Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop can be beneficial when you need them. But, most of the time, you don't. In the meantime, if an attacker somehow finds a way in, or if an attack is created to exploit a vulnerability in the Remote Assistance or Remote Desktop services, your computer is just sitting and waiting to be attacked.

To disable Remote Assistance or Remote Desktop, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on My Computer

  2. Select Properties

  3. Select the Remote tab

    screenshot of of system properties in Windows XP
    Screenshot 
  4. To disable, or turn off, Remote Assistance, uncheck the box next to Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer.

    Screenshot of remote assistance settings
     Screenshot
  5. To disable, or turn off, Remote Desktop, uncheck the box next to Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.

Screenshot of remote desktop settings Windows XP
 Screenshot

Why Don't I See Remote Desktop?

Many users may not see Remote Desktop as an option on the Remote tab of their My Computer Properties.

The explanation is simple. Remote Desktop is a feature of Windows XP Professional (and Media Center Edition) and is not available on Windows XP Home.

That would be a good thing if you wanted it off anyway. Of course, if you want to use Remote Desktop, you will have to upgrade your version of Windows.