How To Change The RDP Port In Windows

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) serves as a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, allowing users to establish remote connections to Windows-based computers. The designated RDP port acts as the communication channel facilitating these connections, typically utilizing port 3389 as the default choice.

Although the default RDP port generally suffices for most users, it is considered a prudent security measure to modify the RDP port to a non-standard value. This practice enhances computer security by introducing an additional layer of complexity, rendering it more challenging for potential hackers to identify and exploit RDP vulnerabilities. In this blog post, we will present a step-by-step guide on how to change the RDP port in Windows, empowering you to fortify the security of your computer.

The process of changing the RDP port entails making modifications to the Windows Registry while also configuring the firewall settings to accommodate the newly assigned RDP port. Rest assured, we will provide comprehensive guidance for each step, ensuring that you can implement these changes both safely and securely.

Reasons to change the RDP port

Security

The default RDP port is widely recognized among hackers, who often exploit it to gain unauthorized access to Windows-based systems. They employ brute-force attacks, systematically attempting various password combinations until they successfully breach the system. By altering the RDP port, you can significantly increase the difficulty for hackers to pinpoint the actual port being used by RDP, thereby enhancing the security of your computer.

Changing the RDP port offers several notable security improvements. Firstly, it effectively mitigates the risk of brute-force attacks since hackers would be unaware of the specific port to target. This reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access to your system. Secondly, modifying the RDP port makes it more challenging for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities associated with RDP. By obscuring the port, you add an additional layer of defense against potential exploits. Lastly, the port change acts as a preventive measure, effectively safeguarding your system from unauthorized entry and protecting sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

Troubleshooting

In certain situations, RDP connections may encounter issues arising from conflicts with other applications or network settings. Changing the RDP port can effectively address such conflicts and contribute to the improved performance of RDP connections.

One common scenario involves internet service providers (ISPs) blocking port 3389 as a security precaution. Consequently, RDP connections may be hindered or rendered non-functional. By modifying the RDP port to a different value, you can bypass this restriction and successfully establish an RDP connection, ensuring uninterrupted access to your remote desktop.

Moreover, if you have multiple computers within your network, changing the RDP port offers a practical solution to differentiate between them. This distinction helps prevent connection errors or confusion when attempting to establish RDP sessions, ultimately streamlining the process and enhancing overall connectivity.

By resolving port conflicts and optimizing RDP connections, changing the RDP port provides a practical approach to ensure smooth and efficient remote desktop access in various networking environments.

Steps to change the RDP port in Windows

Verify the Current RDP Port

Before you change the RDP port, you need to check the current port number to ensure that you don’t use an already-used port. To do this, open the Windows Registry Editor and navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp\PortNumber”. The value in the “PortNumber” key represents the current RDP port.

Modify the Registry

Explanation of the registry keys that need to be modified:

To change the RDP port, you need to modify two registry keys: “PortNumber” and “TcpPortNumber” in the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp” registry path. The “PortNumber” key sets the RDP port for LAN connections, and the “TcpPortNumber” key sets the RDP port for WAN connections.

Step-by-step Instructions on how to Modify the Registry:

  1. Open the Windows Registry Editor by pressing Windows key + R, typing “regedit” and pressing Enter.
  2. Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp” by expanding the folders on the left-hand pane.
  3. Double-click the “PortNumber” key and select the “Decimal” option.
  4. Enter a new port number between 1025 and 65535 and click “OK”.
  5. Double-click the “TcpPortNumber” key and select the “Decimal” option.
  6. Enter the same new port number you used in step iv and click “OK”.
  7. Close the Registry Editor.

Configure the Firewall

After modifying the registry keys, you need to configure the Windows Firewall to allow incoming connections to the new RDP port. To do this, open the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security app and create a new inbound rule that allows TCP connections on the new RDP port.

Step-by-step Instructions on how to Configure the Firewall:

  1. Open the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security app by typing “Windows Firewall” in the Start menu search bar and selecting “Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security”.
  1. Click “Inbound Rules” in the left-hand pane and then click “New Rule” in the right-hand pane.
  1. Select the “Port” option and click “Next”.
  2. Select “TCP” and enter the new RDP port number in the “Specific local ports” field. Click “Next”.
  1. Select the “Allow the connection” option and click “Next”.
  2. Choose the network type you want to apply the rule to and click “Next”.
  3. Give the rule a name and click “Finish”.

Congratulations! You have successfully changed the RDP port in Windows. You can now connect to your computer using the new RDP port number. Remember to update your RDP client with the new port number if necessary.

Testing the new RDP port

After changing the RDP port and configuring the firewall, you should test the new RDP port to ensure that it is working correctly. To do this, open the Remote Desktop Connection app, enter the IP address of the target computer followed by a colon and the new RDP port number, and then click “Connect”.

Troubleshooting Common Issues:

If you encounter issues connecting to the computer using the new RDP port, some common troubleshooting steps include:

  • Double-check that you entered the correct IP address and port number.
  • Ensure that the Windows Firewall is not blocking the new RDP port.
  • Verify that the target computer is powered on and connected to the network.
  • Check that the Remote Desktop Services service is running on the target computer.

Conclusion

Changing the default Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) port in Windows is a crucial security precaution to safeguard your computer against unauthorized access. The default RDP port is widely recognized and frequently subjected to malicious attempts by hackers. By customizing the port, you can enhance the level of difficulty for potential attackers, making it more challenging for them to identify and exploit your system. Adjusting the RDP port in Windows involves a relatively straightforward procedure that contributes to bolstering the overall security of your computer. 

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