Using RDP to Connect to a Windows Computer from MacOS

Due to the unique circumstances at the college due to COVID-19, we have opened up computer labs that are normally available in-person for remote access. The terminal server ( is not capable of handling the increased remote access demands of this situation, so we kindly request you use the lab computers where possible.

To learn more about this and to find a list of lab computers to connect with, read our guide with the following link:


RDP services inside MCECS are protected from external access. For these steps to work, you must make sure that you are successfully connected to one of our VPNs before proceeding.


Step 1 – Get the Microsoft Remote Desktop program for your Mac

You will need a locally installed RDP client (a program that lets you connect to Windows computers that have RDP enabled). If you don’t have one, we recommend getting the Microsoft Remote Desktop App from the Mac App Store. Once you have it installed, you can proceed.

Step 2 – Open Microsoft Remote Desktop. Press +, and then select “Desktop” to setup a new connection.

microsoft rdp client started

Step 3 – Fill out connection information.

  • Give the connection a name in the “Friendly name” field.
  • Specify the fully qualified domain name of the Windows computer to which you wish to connect via RDP.
    • The computer you are trying to connect to must have RDP services enabled and your user account authorized. RDP services are usually available for the Windows Terminal Server, some computer lab systems during the Covid-19 driven closure, and for specific faculty/staff or research computers with the approval from the people controlling them. If you are unsure, contact the CAT for details.
  • Press “Add” to add the desktop connection.
    • In this example, we are demonstrating a login to, the Windows Terminal Server, which has a subset of the tools available in the general Windows computer labs.
rdp connection box being filled out

Step 4 – Start the RDP connection.

Then, double click on the connection to connect.

Image of the Microsoft Remote Desktop App for Mac


You will be prompted for your username and password. Enter your MCECS username as cecs\username as shown below. Note the “cecs\” that precedes your username. Use your username and password for MCECS if you are trying to access a CAT managed computer.

Image of the Microsoft Remote Desktop App for Mac


You may sometimes get a warning about the server certificate, which is a side effect of some of our internal configurations. Click ok to acknowledge it.

Make sure that you are connected to the VPN before connecting via a local RDP client.