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Remote Desktop - I just can't get it to work......

First off....networking is really not my thing...please bear with me if I use the wrong terminology, or don't know what something is called.    (thanks!!)

I have a small office (10 PCs all with XP, 1 server with Windows Server 2003).  I can use remote desktop between the pcs while I'm in the office  (using the full computer name example:  laptop001-work.local.companyname.com)  and a predecessor has told me that he set up the server so that one of the vendors could remote desktop in.  (I have a call in to the vendor to see what he is using for  PC name and domain to get in.)

However, I can't for the life of me figure out what I need to do.

The internal IP addresses are 192.168.1.....etc.

When I go to the whatismyip.com site it gives me the external IP address (same one regardless of what PC in the office I use - server or desktops.

I need directions (the simpler the better!!) on what exactly I need to do to get all 10 users to be able to use Remote Desktop from their homes to access their PCs.  

Thank you!!!!
1 Solution
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
1) are all 10 users remoting in to 10 different computers or to the 1 server?
2) what kind of firewall / router are you running?

to begin with... you will only have 1 external IP.  that is the IP your users will need to remote in.
by default, remote desktop works on port 3389 of your router/firewall.  you will need one of two configurations, depending on the answer to #1 above.

if all 10 users are remoting in to 10 different PC's, then you will actually need to open up a port for each user on the firewall / router.  you will then forward that port to the user's computer at work.  when the user tries to access their computer from home, they will access it with externalip:port  (so if you external ip is 123.567.123.567, and the port forwarded to the user's work computer is 3390, then they would use 123.567.123.567:3390.  if this is the setup you need, you will also have to edit the registry on the work computers so they know to listen for incoming remote connections on a port other than the default 3389.

if, on the other hand, all 10 users need to connect to your server, then you need to set up your server as a Terminal Server.  it can then handle multiple remote desktop connections, all on the standard 3389 port.
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
another solution you might consider is to have the employees use something like http://www.gotomypc.com
tmhechlerAuthor Commented:
1.  All 10 users will each be going to a different PC (their own desktop)
2.  It says Cisco on the physical equipment, when I go into it from IE, it says linksys.  

Ok.  I understand the basic concept you describe.  


1.  How do I go about opening the port for each user?
2.  How do I then forward that port to the users computer at work.
3.  Where in the registry to I edit to listen for incoming connections?  (I think the server has already been set up on 3389 - because the vendor has accessed it - but how would I know what port that was set to also?)

Thanks for the quick response!!

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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
you may have 2 different routers... cisco has routers, and linksys has routers.  there must be a linksys router somewhere that you are seeing it in IE.

1.  to open a port for each user depends on your router.  i dont have a cisco or a linksys, so i won't be able to give you step by step instructions for how to do it.  in general terms, you will need to select 10 port numbers.  each port should run the TCP service.  for most routers, you will need to select the port and also select the service for that port, and then identify what computer the port should be forwarded to (the internal ip address of of that user's computers... the internal address should start with 192.168...)
2. see #1
3.  be sure to make a safe copy of the registry before you edit it.  the registry will need to be edited at each user's computer, not at the server.  the users won't be hitting the server.  they will hit the external ip:port, which will then forward to their computer.  you first need to set up each user's computer to accept incoming connections  (right click on my computer, select properties and go to the Remote tab).  you then need to edit the registry key for PortNumber at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp .  make sure you don't enter a numerical value if hex is selected (change the setting so it's not showing in hex).

these may help
Just a quick comment on your perimeter router..  if it is a Cisco Router, then you will have to edit the IOS, and this is not something a novice should do..  it is command line driven, and it can be tricky..  best to have a consultant, preferably a CCNA / CCNP come in to do this for you..  After you edit the PCs registry for the RDP ports, let the consultant take it from there..

If Linksys, then it is really just opening the ports using the web interface..  easy to do...

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
It's really too bad you don't have Small Business Server 2003, because that handles this natively.  You might consider changing to SBS, because it's designed for exactly your situation.

More info on that:  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/evaluation/default.mspx

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