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I have a desktop at home, where I would like to install a virtualization system and use it remotely. The desktop is also for gaming and for home use, so it doesn't have a password on the main account (hence, it boots directly to the desktop). I would like to keep it that way, however, I would like to be able to Remote Desktop to this computer with a password, for obvious security reasons. Is this possible?

I tried creating another account with a password, but the other account will make me access the new account's desktop only, not the original account's desktop.

So, I would appreciate explaining whether one of these two options are possible:

  1. Remote desktop from the new account into the first account's desktop, OR
  2. Remote desktop to my original account with a password, without having to log in locally (when I'm physically in front of the computer).
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  • Nothing definite (hence no answer) but I think you may have a couple problems. First, IIRC, non-passworded accounts are generally excluded from RDP sessions for security. Secondly, if it is possible to RDP into the password-locked account, I am pretty certain only one login at a time is allowed for non-server versions of Windows for licensing reasons. Since you say you want to use a virtualization system, if it's an OS system (such as VMware or VirtualBox) you might just want to RDP or VNC into that directly. Aug 5 '17 at 14:46
  • @Anaksunaman The problem with VNC is that it's not encrypted... I fear using it. Aug 5 '17 at 15:01
  • Not going to judge your comfort levels, I get it. However, note that it is possible to tunnel VNC over SSH which is encrypted. Not better or worse than RDP but a possible option if RDP does not work out in your case. Aug 5 '17 at 15:11
  • @Anaksunaman Did you manage to get SSH server to work properly on Windows? Last time I did it, it was insanely annoying and the terminal did many weird things including not line-breaking in the right place and not being able to switch between drives cleanly. Does this sound familiar to you? Aug 5 '17 at 15:14
  • Yes, unfortunately it does. That said, for the purposes of tunneling, I am not sure it would have much relevance since the VNC server and client should be the ones exchanging data. Aug 5 '17 at 15:55
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The simplest method would probably be to use automatic logon with the primary account.

  1. Set a password on the primary account
  2. Make sure the primary account has remote desktop access
  3. Enable automatic logon by saving your username and password in the registry. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/324737/how-to-turn-on-automatic-logon-in-windows

Alternatively, you can assume control over another desktop after connecting via Remote Desktop. But, this might be limited to server operating systems.

  1. Setup a secondary user account with a password and remote desktop access.
  2. Connect via remote desktop to the system.
  3. Open Task Manager, choose the Users tab and Right-Click the primary desktop user and choose Remote Control. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc725700(v=ws.11).aspx

Lastly, if this fits with your plans, you could port forward individual ports to the virtual machines, rather than the host system. This way you could directly connect to each virtual machine via RDP or SSH rather than having to connect to the host machine to get to the virtual machine.

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You should seriously consider Teamviewer since it does use SSH sessions. If you do, learn the best practices and the gotchas in this most excellent discussion of TV's security, on SECURITY.StackExchange.com. The answers and comments cover pros, cons, and alternatives to TV.

(I'm planning on spending more time on that Security.SE site--There's some very smart dudes there.) I'd also recommend re-posting your question there, since you'll get very definitive security advice.

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    I used TeamViewer for a while then stopped after realizing it's closed-source. Basically it's an NSA backdoor to my computer. At least with Windows RD, if there's a backdoor, I'm not adding another one. Btw I'm also thinking of joining the security SE. But I'm more obsessed about SO :) Aug 5 '17 at 17:05
  • I'd posit, that Windows itself likely has a ton of backdoors. How could they, and why do I know it's likely? There's an incentive and tons of capabilities. For instance, my company CDP wrote and shipped millions of copies of software, that no one ever got source code for, including Microsoft. It had a snapshot device filter driver for snapshots that intercepted, and redirected as we dictated, EVERY read and write on those millions of servers. Agree though on Security SE --- I'm not worthy of posting there. Check out Bruce Schneier for definitive advice on who likely has backdoors.
    – DaaBoss
    Aug 6 '17 at 14:19

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