How to connect and log on to an Azure virtual machine running Windows

You'll use the Connect button in the Azure portal to start a Remote Desktop (RDP) session from a Windows desktop. First you connect to the virtual machine, then you log on.

If you are trying to connect to a Windows VM from a Mac, you need to install an RDP client for Mac like Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Connect to the virtual machine

  1. If you haven't already done so, sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. On the Hub menu, click Virtual Machines.
  3. Select the virtual machine from the list.
  4. On the blade for the virtual machine, click Connect.

    Screenshot of the Azure portal showing how to connect to your VM.

    Tip

    If the Connect button in the portal is greyed out and you are not connected to Azure via an Express Route or Site-to-Site VPN connection, you need to create and assign your VM a public IP address before you can use RDP. You can read more about public IP addresses in Azure.

Log on to the virtual machine

  1. Clicking Connect creates and downloads a Remote Desktop Protocol file (.rdp file). Click Open to use this file.
  2. You will get a warning that the .rdp is from an unknown publisher. This is normal. In the Remote Desktop window, click Connect to continue.

    Screenshot of a warning about an unknown publisher.

  3. In the Windows Security window, type the credentials for an account on the virtual machine and then click OK.

    Local account - this is usually the local account user name and password that you specified when you created the virtual machine. In this case, the domain is the name of the virtual machine and it is entered as vmname\username.

    Domain joined VM - if the VM belongs to a domain, enter the user name in the format Domain\Username. The account also needs to either be in the Administrators group or have been granted remote access privileges to the VM.

    Domain controller - if the VM is a domain controller, type the user name and password of a domain administrator account for that domain.

  4. Click Yes to verify the identity of the virtual machine and finish logging on.

    Screenshot showing a message abut verifying the identity of the VM.

Next steps

If you run into trouble when you try to connect, see Troubleshoot Remote Desktop connections. This article walks you through diagnosing and resolving common problems.