Accessing computer on a network from a remote location.

Posted on 2004-11-13
Last Modified: 2013-11-21
Hi. Thanks in advance for your help. I am trying to figure out how to gain access to a computer on my home network from a remote unrelated network. My home network is behind a firewall now. I believe my ISP provides us with an IP. Do I need to configure the firewall to point to the computer I want access to? If there is a better way, I appreciate the advice. Thanks.
Question by:frogpad
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    What Operating system are you using?  XP Home?  XP Pro?  Something else?

    There are various tools for doing this.  Including:

    *Remote Desktop (XP Pro Only - BEST functionality in my opinion)
    *TightVNC/RealVNC/UltraVNC (All FREE - different programs based on the same code, available for all Operating Systems)
    *PC Anywhere (Windows versions)
    * (web site that provides this service for a fee)
    *Dameware (heard of it, never really used it)
    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Depending on which you want/can use, you'll have to configure your firewall to forward the appropriate ports to your desktop.  Remote Desktop is port 3389.  VNC is 5800 and 5900 I believe (Their web site has an FAQ section describing how to do this).  Not sure about port numbers for PC Anywhere or Dameware. does things a little differently and you wouldn't have to modify your router (or so I believe).
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Remote Desktop, VNC, PC Anywhere, etc... all are good solutions.  Depending on the solution, you'll need to modify your router to map the incoming connection on a given port to your inside address on your computer.

    For instance, if you want to use WinXP Pro's Remote Desktop...
        You would set your computer manually.
        Let's call it, IP Address (that will depend on the router that you're using and its configuration.)
        You would also need to set the router to forward all incoming traffic on port 3389 to go to  The way you configure this will vary from one router manufacturer to the next.

    The other part of the problem is that your ISP likely changes your IP address from time to time... and you don't want to have to memorize an ugly IP address to get access to your home computer.

    I use a DNS service - to map by IP address to a nice, human-readable domain name.  They have several available.  The service is free (they do take donations)... but for what you want to do, you can do it for no cost.

    There are several domains available.  So, you can have your address be something like "" or something like that... it's a lot easier to remember than or whatever your ISP gives you for an IP address.

    You'll want to get one of the free client programs to keep your address updated.  That way, you won't have to update it manually.

    I hope this helps.

    -- Nick
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    1. Remote Desktop is the easest way to do it. Redirect the port 3389 (default) to the computer you want. Allow Administrator login only.
    2. Terminal service, same as remote desktop, but you need a windows server plus terminal server. You can use it for any user in the domain.
    3. Free tool like VNC....
    4. VPN - Better sucruity but hard to set up.
    5. PC Anyware.... software like that

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your feedack. I appreciate it.

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