Copying Files Over Remote Desktop

tech 0 comments suggest edit

Here’s a handy tip I just recently learned from the new intern on our team (see, you can learn something from anyone on any given day). I’ve long known you could access your local drives from a remote machine.

For example, start up a remote desktop dialog.

Remote Desktop Dialog

Then expand the dialog by clicking on Options, then check the Local**Resources tab.

Remote Desktop Local Resources Options

Make sure Clipboard is checked, and then hit the More… button.

Remote Desktop Drives

Now you can select a local disk to be shared with the remote machine. For example, in this case I selected my C: drive.

Local Drive shared on Remote DesktopAs you can see in the screenshot, the file explorer has another drive named “C on HAACKBOOK” which can be used to copy files back and forth from my local machine to the remote machine.

But here’s the part I didn’t know. Let’s take a look at the desktop of my remote machine, which has a text file named info.txt.

Remote Desktop

One way I can get that file to my local machine is to copy it to the mapped drive we saw in the previous screenshot.

Or, I can simply drag and drop the info.txt from my remote desktop machine to a folder on my local machine.


So all this time, I had no idea cut and paste operations for files work across remote desktop. This may be obvious for many of you, but it wasn’t to me. :)

Found a typo or error? Suggest an edit! If accepted, your contribution is listed automatically here.



85 responses

  1. Avatar for Kevin Connolly
    Kevin Connolly May 17th, 2010

    Funny timing, recently posted about the dangers of copy/paste over remote desktop. Worth a read.

  2. Avatar for Bertrand Le Roy
    Bertrand Le Roy May 17th, 2010

    Actually, even though the drive mapping is neat, you don't even need it in order to be able to copy and paste files back and forth between remote and local. I've been using it as my main file transfer tool with remote machines.

  3. Avatar for Chris Airey
    Chris Airey May 17th, 2010

    Known that ever since the feature was included. Many remote desktop apps can access the clipboard! But sometimes the smallest things go easily missed!

  4. Avatar for Lb
    Lb May 17th, 2010

    This is the kind of thing that you're most likely
    to learn from pairing with other people.
    It's useful but hard to discover and hard to imagine
    how they could advertise the feature better.

  5. Avatar for Artiom
    Artiom May 17th, 2010

    Well, this is a bit surprising.. While I knew about copy/pasting.. I never knew that I could drag&drop files like this.
    Then again, testing this between Win7 and Server2008 R2... it didn't work! :(
    Is there something I missed?

  6. Avatar for Thanigainathan
    Thanigainathan May 17th, 2010

    very nice tip. Thanks Hackked. Long time I worked in remote desktop and does not know this secret.

  7. Avatar for tracker1
    tracker1 May 17th, 2010

    I think the better question... is it possible to. Dissable these features on the server via group policy? Since it is a security risk for remote work.

  8. Avatar for Bunter
    Bunter May 17th, 2010

    Select some number of large files on a local computer and do copy. Then move to remote desktop and right-click something in explorer. Can you spot the most annoying feature of remote desktop?

  9. Avatar for msuarz
    msuarz May 17th, 2010

    really haacked? this has been around for years ... anyways ... try mstsc /w:5000 /h:1600 to expand the rd across multiple monitors (5000 & 1600 were just sample resolutions)

  10. Avatar for Josh
    Josh May 17th, 2010

    I was able to use this when I remoted into Win2K3 servers, but couldn't do it on a Win2k8 server. I'm assuming it's a buried security setting.

  11. Avatar for Zacho
    Zacho May 17th, 2010

    Really? Running out of things to blog about eh? Please tell me this is some sort of tasteless joke! :)

  12. Avatar for Hashname
    Hashname May 17th, 2010

    Wow..this is cool..
    Thanks for sharing..

  13. Avatar for Peter Kellner
    Peter Kellner May 17th, 2010

    I can't believe I did not know this! I have done this so many times without this trick. I feel like I've been robbed of 20 seconds times about 1000! Now, I have to wonder what else don't know. SUBSCRIBED!

  14. Avatar for McConnell Group
    McConnell Group May 17th, 2010

    I guess you can always learn something new no matter the source. Thank you for Posting it

  15. Avatar for Sebastien Lachance
    Sebastien Lachance May 18th, 2010

    You saved me a lot of time today with this trick. Thank you!

  16. Avatar for Shlomo
    Shlomo May 18th, 2010

    In related news, you can also bring up the start menu by pushing the Windows button...

  17. Avatar for andi
    andi May 18th, 2010

    Finally! there's something I know and you didn't know! :)

  18. Avatar for alamode
    alamode May 18th, 2010

    Great tip, but I prefer TurboMeeting for remote desktop. Gets the same thing done but much easier. Just click and drag.

  19. Avatar for Justin
    Justin May 18th, 2010

    I've been doing something similar with mapped network drives but I didn't know you could actually copy and paste between and RDP seesion and your local machine. Thanks.

  20. Avatar for Chris
    Chris May 19th, 2010

    Can't remember when I first did that it's so long ago, probably in the 90's.
    Since drag and drop is a core functionality of the GUI environment (ever heard of the Xerox Star system released in 1982?) I assume any semi-sophisticated application makes use of it. It's the first thing I try when trying to move something from A to B. It's only when that fails that I begin looking at the alternatives.
    You'd be amazed at some of the objects that can be dragged from one environment into another. Try it sometime.

  21. Avatar for Jack
    Jack May 19th, 2010

    I like this feature, and we can also map the CD drivers to the remote connection :)

  22. Avatar for Shan
    Shan May 19th, 2010

    One thing with remote desktop sessions that leaves me completely gobsmacked is how the heck do I disable my local PC speaker from beeping! It is terrible! Sometimes I remote in late i.e. when the wife is sleeping and when I'm laying in bed and all of a sudden a huge loud PC speaker beep emanates from my laptop, which kind of disturbs her. I have never been able to figure out how to suppress my local PC speaker from making it's obligatory beep!

  23. Avatar for Crawl About
    Crawl About May 20th, 2010

    Doesn't work for me with Windows 7 --> Windows 7 connections.
    Am i missing something?

  24. Avatar for Colin
    Colin May 20th, 2010

    Yes, this is nice, but be careful... I think when using the clipboard to copy files between machines, if you are copying a big file, and then happen to copy something else to your clipboard, it will cancel the original file copy!
    (I haven't proven this yet, but having had several files mysteriously stop copying for no apparent reason recently, this appears to be the problem)

  25. Avatar for Mike
    Mike May 22nd, 2010

    I use MyGreenPC ( basically a wrapper around Remote desktop and you don't have to setup firewalls or open ports to use it.
    It also automatically maps all drives - which is pretty convinent.

  26. Avatar for gerleim
    gerleim May 23rd, 2010

    ... and now somebody should investigate that why is file copying soooo slow in remote desktop.

  27. Avatar for Parag
    Parag May 24th, 2010

    @gerleim : Slow speed is because of Encoding I believe. Probably BASE64 inflating size by 30% or so and probably coupled with a verify algorithm that checks files again!

  28. Avatar for Rich
    Rich May 24th, 2010

    The question is how secure is the file transfer with this method?

  29. Avatar for Doug Rathbone
    Doug Rathbone May 25th, 2010

    I thought this was a very well known feature.
    It is the same as \\tsclient being the hostname mapping for the clients pc in explorer etc.
    The problem you'll have with the automatically mapped drives is that a lot of installers and programs etc check to see if they are loaded from this "drive" over RDP and will complain
    you can get around this by surfing to the shares on \\tsclient in explorer and mapping a drive. This is also how the local printers get mapped when you connect via RDP so that you can still print locally.
    basically anything that relies on network traffic gets sent back to the client using the network sharing over \\tsclient hostname

  30. Avatar for Doug Rathbone
    Doug Rathbone May 25th, 2010

    - I'm pretty sure that files/copy&pastes are sent through the RDP tunnel and therefore are encrypted
    - The above is probably also why it is slow - as it's encrypted

  31. Avatar for Paintball Barrel
    Paintball Barrel October 12th, 2010

    Use this feature a lot, but it is sooooooo incredibly slow. Im talking an order of magnitude slower than it should be. This is really frustrating.

  32. Avatar for Gani
    Gani January 19th, 2011

    In using Remote Acess the operation of Copy ,paste from Windows 7 to Win Xp, file copy is performed but from Win Xp to Win 7 file copy cannot be done. Does anyone knows the answer? if do, please send a mail to

  33. Avatar for Ravi
    Ravi January 31st, 2011

    thanks for the help can easily be done with above settings in windows xp..just copy from one and paste to another..

  34. Avatar for Steve
    Steve February 22nd, 2011

    Also, printing can be done locally during RDP session (2008 SR2). If member of Print Operators, all local printers beccome available to matter where you VPN and RDP from... Nice!

  35. Avatar for Putra Eka
    Putra Eka April 8th, 2011

    Great tutorial, I've searched several tutorials about copying files from remote desktop to local computers but don't work. Now It's works. Thanks

  36. Avatar for shakar
    shakar May 31st, 2011

    THank you. This was a real helpful tip. Solved my problem of transferring files from RDP.

  37. Avatar for lucky
    lucky June 15th, 2011

    great tech. now i m relax ... thank u very much team..

  38. Avatar for John
    John June 16th, 2011

    Great feature, but retarded slow. Even more slow if you're RDP'ing over an encrypted connection (e.g. you're on VPN that's encrypted, and then the RDP is encrypted on top of that). At that point, it's almost faster for me to drive to the office, throw a thumb drive in, get the files, then drive home than it is to wait for them to finish (granted, I'm talking about large files).
    Either way, it works and it's easy to use. MS doesn't do a good job of advertising it's features. I mean, they've had *great* voice recognition since XP and built into Windows since Vista. Mac comes out with it and everyone's like OMG, that's so innovative, you can talk to it and it does stuff. When I broke my arm that feature saved me, yet, you don't ever hear about them touting features like that. MS has one of the worst marketing teams in existence (like, remember the bomb that was the Jerry Seinfeld commercials where they spent like 100 million dollars and people were burnt out on the commercials before they were even released). I mean, they over advertised the advertisement like it was something revolutionary.

  39. Avatar for Mr_47snake
    Mr_47snake July 18th, 2011

    this is very cool

  40. Avatar for Shyam
    Shyam July 26th, 2011

    I tried all steps abd once i connect to remote desktop i was not able to see my local drive on remote machine which i slected for my local.

  41. Avatar for Kayal
    Kayal August 23rd, 2011

    Good Tips....GAve me Answer for my long time R&D ;)

  42. Avatar for rg
    rg August 28th, 2011

    thanks it s useful

  43. Avatar for jc
    jc September 1st, 2011

    The reason that works is more an accident than a feature. See, the clipboard is what enables drag-and-drop functions in Windows. The path to your file is translated to a RD path by the RD window when you drop it. By enabling the sharing of the clipboard, Microsoft enabled drag-and-drop features.
    I do not remember them making a lot of noise about this feature either.

  44. Avatar for Kingo
    Kingo September 20th, 2011

    Is there a security setting in Group Policy on Server 2003 that disables copying from a RDP session to a local PC? If I try to copy a file this way i get a access denied message.
    I can quite happily copy files from my Local PC to the same RDP Session by mapping the drives.

  45. Avatar for Saravanan
    Saravanan October 18th, 2011

    This very help to me!! now i am teach to my friends thank you very much !!!

  46. Avatar for Jeff Borg
    Jeff Borg November 14th, 2011

    This is fantastic, thanks!

  47. Avatar for Sy
    Sy November 30th, 2011

    I can't do any of that. I used to be able to copy files from remote computer to my old computer (Windows 7 Professional). On the new computer (running Windows 7 premium) I have been unable to copy or to drop and past the files i need from the remote computer.
    Just wondering if the operating system might have something to do or if i needed to set up something else on the Remote computer
    Thank you

  48. Avatar for frank
    frank January 7th, 2012

    Didnt know if anyone had posted this.. too many comments...
    try this in future
    Run > \\IP\\(drive)e.g. C then $ you can then navigate where you gotta go.

  49. Avatar for jbw
    jbw January 21st, 2012

    Funny how all the smarta**es who made sarcastic remarks about the triviality of the post were unable (surely not just unwilling?) to answer the questions from several posters about why this functionality isn't working for them.

  50. Avatar for Ashok
    Ashok January 22nd, 2012

    Great to see these posts!!!

  51. Avatar for Naveen
    Naveen February 21st, 2012

    thanks for the wonderful tip :)

  52. Avatar for Marc
    Marc February 21st, 2012

    While I knew about the local resources option I never expose my local disks to a machine I'm remote-desktopped into. There's too much of a security risk as usually the reason I'm even connected to someone's machines is because there's a problem with it and that problem may well be caused by a virus.
    I'd love to be able to just copy/paste a single file. It's happened thousands of times that I'll need to move one file, usually a text file at that to or from a machine I'm remote-desktopped to. Dealing with this is nearly always a time-wasting adventure.

  53. Avatar for Darl
    Darl January 26th, 2013

    Hope you found a friend by cheer u up

  54. Avatar for daniel
    daniel March 15th, 2013

    Great. I thought I was the only one. You did a good service today. Thanks! daniel.

  55. Avatar for Max
    Max March 16th, 2013

    thank you

  56. Avatar for Guruboy
    Guruboy March 28th, 2013

    Finally i found a solution to this. thanks!!

  57. Avatar for Prashant pujar
    Prashant pujar May 2nd, 2013

    It was very helpful in getting my large files copied over from local to remote.

  58. Avatar for RunasSudo
    RunasSudo May 10th, 2013

    Are... are you kidding me??? How did I not know this?!!!!!!!

  59. Avatar for pp
    pp August 14th, 2013

    loved it... thanks a ton!!!! :D

  60. Avatar for Michael Langford
    Michael Langford November 12th, 2013

    the \\tsclient feature still works depending on what you're using. My company has pretty strict security policies, so for me to access SSH connections for servers my team managed at a third-party location, they make me use a virtual workstation in our DMZ. Workstations, even Win7 ones, can still use tsclient. With that, you can create a shortcut to a folder on your local machine from the remote machine to make transfer easier. For example, I have a shortcut on the remote desktop that leads to my local machine desktop - the shortcut path is \\tsclient\C\Users\.... etc. That way, when I need to pull a file down, I just use that shortcut as my download destination, and it dumps the file right onto my local desktop and I don't have to bother moving it around.

  61. Avatar for Fidelisrock
    Fidelisrock January 6th, 2014

    Very good. It worked perfectly. Thanks and Good work.

  62. Avatar for moz
    moz February 18th, 2014

    Was really nice to find this today ... I had to move my SAV file from my local host to Windows server today. Although it took a loooong time it saved me a drive.

  63. Avatar for simran
    simran March 3rd, 2014

    what is every thing is exactly done as shown above even then it is not copying

  64. Avatar for simran
    simran March 3rd, 2014

    sorry what if every thing is exactly done as shown above, even then it is not copying

  65. Avatar for saddavi
    saddavi April 29th, 2014

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  66. Avatar for mostafa
    mostafa June 2nd, 2014

    Of I use it while a person is using that computer ,will he know?

  67. Avatar for OntarioChiver
    OntarioChiver June 6th, 2014

    Generally, you can't remote in to a computer while another user is on it. You will get a message offering to boot them off while you remote in.

  68. Avatar for OntarioChiver
    OntarioChiver June 6th, 2014

    Email it to yourself and download it on the remote machine through a browser, or vice versa. However if you have good antivirus/antimalware software this shouldn't be of concern to you.

  69. Avatar for OntarioChiver
    OntarioChiver June 6th, 2014

    Thanks for the awesome post! It was of great help to me.

  70. Avatar for Jen Wilson
    Jen Wilson August 5th, 2014

    It's amusing that that page shows the typical Microsoft .NET error. Does any of the garbage they make actually work?

    Sorry, I'm just bitter because our nine new Dell laptops are blue screening constantly. Dell won't dispatch because they say it's normal. Yes, it is normal for Microsoft's attempts at an OS to blue screen, but not to do it several times an hour.

  71. Avatar for Jay
    Jay August 16th, 2014

    Nice. I just recently started using RDP and had a bugger of a time setting up remote folders. This little gem has mad my life a lot easier. Thanks... Cheers

  72. Avatar for Ricky
    Ricky August 27th, 2014

    Very nice tip, thanks a lot.

  73. Avatar for Becky Runyan
    Becky Runyan August 27th, 2015

    Thanks I never knew about this. this makes my life easier! :)

  74. Avatar for Cindy Houck
    Cindy Houck March 23rd, 2016

    Funny - I knew about the clipboard, but my large file wouldn't copy. What you always knew was the thing I needed to know - thanks!

  75. Avatar for poopyMcPool
    poopyMcPool August 10th, 2016

    could a system admin of the remotely accessed computer know that a file was copy/pasted to the local machine?

  76. Avatar for disqus_qtt36u1EdJ
    disqus_qtt36u1EdJ August 12th, 2016

    Very informative post If you want How to Fast Download, Transfer and Save file from RDP Remote Desktop Connection to Your Desktop
    Youtube Video Link:

  77. Avatar for Jaime Kings
    Jaime Kings December 13th, 2016

    out AEROADMIN, this is the easiest tool for that. No installation, no
    registration, no configuration.

  78. Avatar for Bagas Wigustanata
    Bagas Wigustanata April 27th, 2017

    Woahh nice post

  79. Avatar for Adam Simms
    Adam Simms September 4th, 2017


  80. Avatar for Pio Sammut
    Pio Sammut September 5th, 2017

    Thank you very much for this post, it's very useful

  81. Avatar for kalpesh Ghori
    kalpesh Ghori October 3rd, 2017

    If in HackBOOK cC drive is not getting then what to do?

  82. Avatar for vivek
    vivek January 18th, 2018

    files are copied or downloaded to our pc from rdp

  83. Avatar for Vikas Khandola
    Vikas Khandola February 22nd, 2018

    use robocopy

  84. Avatar for George Renee
    George Renee March 2nd, 2018

    Actually, even though the drive mapping is neat, you don't even need it in order to be able to copy and paste files back and forth between remote and local. I've been using GS Richcopy 360 as my main file transfer tool with remote machines.

  85. Avatar for Beatriz Rezener
    Beatriz Rezener March 8th, 2018

    Obrigada. Thank you.