Internet Technologies/Remote Desktop Connection
Note: This is for Windows. Linux users may be interested in VNC.
What you can do with Remote Desktop Connection
Wish you could access your home desktop from work? Going on vacation, but want to be able to use your home computer? This can be easily done with Windows XP’s built in Remote Desktop Connection feature.
Some companies also use remote Desktop for technical support. Cisco systems (among others) allow engineers to use remote desktop to look in on issues and correct them. This troubleshooting method can save time and money for numerous industries.
In order to take advantage of remote desktop connection, you have to have port 3389 (TCP) open on your firewall/router. To do so consult your firewall or router’s manual.
In order for remote desktop to work, you have to set a password on your user account. Follow these steps to set a password.
- Go to Start then to My Computer (or go to your desktop and go to My Computer)
- Go to Control Panel
- Go to User Accounts
- Click on your user account
- Go to Create a Password
- Fill everything out and hit Create Password
Enabling Remote Desktop Connection (on the host)
Now you’re ready to enable remote desktop. You have to be logged in as an administrator
- Go to Start then right click on My Computer (or right click My Computer on your desktop)
- Select Properties
- Go to the Remote tab
- Check “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”
- If you have other users that you want to allow remote access to the computer then go to Select Remote Users and select add and type in the user account name of the user where it says “Enter the object names to select”
Getting your IP address
You now have to get your ip address. Please see Finding Your IP Address for more information.
Connecting to the host machine from another machine
Now, this is how to connect to your computer from using Remote Desktop Connection. If you’re using a computer that doesn’t have Windows XP then you can load the client side of Remote Desktop Connection. Get it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/rdclientdl.asp and then you can follow these steps.
- Go to Start
- Go to All Programs
- Go to Accessories
- Go to Communications
- Click Remote Desktop Connection
- Go to Options and modify the options as you seem fit
- Type in your IP address by 'Computer'
- Log in with your username and password
You should now have access to your computer. Take note that playing music will not work well with over the remote connection unless you have it stay at the local computer (change this in the options). Also, if you view images and webpages over the connection it will be very slow. Oh, and of course, you can’t play games like Quake 3 over the connection, this simply isn’t possible.
Similar software does exist for other operating systems, such as rdesktop.
- You can access your documents from anywhere.
- You can keep your IRC (internet relay chat) and IM clients open on one machine and then connect to your computer from other places. Thus you don’t have to leave your screen names and whatnot behind on other people’s computers.
- Check and save email in YOUR email client instead of using webmail.
- Perhaps your workplace/school doesn’t allow you to run IRC or IM clients, but you can use remote desktop. Then you can log on to your computer and IRC and IM from there.
- You could use this as some sort of tech support method.
- You can use Remote Desktop if you can’t always have a monitor plugged in to the box.
- Great for servers, you don't need to buy keyboard, mouse, monitor etc. to use.
- You can’t play games with it, since the connection will have lag.
- In order to start the server you have to log into your account, meaning if you’re on vacation and your computer locks up, you’ll have to have someone else reboot the computer and log in with your password. But this problem can be fixed by modifying a DLL file and adding a registry value. And up to 2 more computers can be connected remotely at the same time.
See the following link for more information on the procedure for enabling it.
- You need a broadband connection that is always on, if you want to be able to access it all the time. Dialup won’t cut it there.