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How to control a desktop remotely

You can access your office computer from location A while at home in location B. The computer in location B is the client whereas the one that has the file or program is the host. The use of the remote desktop connection technology is a great way to ease the stress of hitting the road and wasting valuable time to get a file on a computer when you could access it the minute it came to mind. The host must be running on any one of Windows XP Pro, Vista Business, or Vista Ultimate. However, the client could be running on any version of the Windows operating system. If you do not have remote desktop on your OS, you can try a free program such as FreeVNC.

We start by illustrating how to enable remote desktop on a computer running on Windows XP. The steps are the same for Vista and Windows 7. Now, login to the computer as an administrator. From the start menu, click control panel, and next click performance and maintenance. Click system. Click the remote tab and select the "allow users to connect remotely to this computer" checkbox followed by ok. We now need to check to see that your firewall is set up to allow for exceptions. You do that by clicking on security center -> click windows firewall (under management settings) -> see to it that "Don't allow exceptions" is not selected. Next, click the exceptions tab and check to see that the remote desktop is selected. Finish by clicking OK.

The name of the host computer is very important if you are using this over a the same network. Go to control panel -> performance and maintenance-> system-> computer name. From here you would see the full name of your computer. Write it down and then click ok.

If you are using this over the web, you will need to connect to your computer via IP. You can find out the IP of your host computer by searching Google for "What's my IP" and then getting your IP from one of the top search results. If you have a router, you will also have to enable port forwarding from the router administration panel. You will have to forward traffic on port 3389 to your local machine that you want to connect to. Your router will have some type of "port forwarding" administration in which you can do this. You will have to forward this traffic to your host local IP address which should look something like "192.168.0.x". We can now run a test to see how this works from the other computer. From the start menu, click All Programs-> Accessories-> communication-> Remote Desktop connection. A computer box will appear. Type the name of the host computer(same network) you wrote down earlier or the IP address (internet) and click connect. A logon to Windows box will appear; enter the fields (user name, password and domain name) followed by ok.

Note that both computers must be connected to the internet/network for you to be able to use this technology. There are also remote desktop control software programs that are more robust in functionality. In this case, install the software on the host computer. However, some of such third party remote desktop connections software consists of two parts: one for the host computer and the other for the client.

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