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how to access a workstation from outside the network

Posted on 2008-06-17
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Hello Experts,

I have a private network using Windows 2003 servers and a SonicWall firewall; I want to find out if there is a way for a user to access a specific WinXP machine from outside the network where he gets directly to the login prompt on that machine.

My idea is to use public IPs for each machine and RDC into the public IP; the firewall will direct traffic to the specific machine and process the RDC request.

My boss thinks there is a way to do this using VPN connection. He says by connecting through VPN it should land to the login prompt.

Can you help?
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Question by:Newco
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by:KCTS
ID: 21805085
One way to do it would be to set-up your router to forward the RDP port (389) to the machine and connect using remote desktop
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by:Newco
ID: 21805121
that's what I thought but I would need different public IPs right?   If not, all users that want to access their machine using rdp will land on the same machine. We only have one public IP.
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by:KCTS
ID: 21805238
If you want multiple user access then thats a different matter - I thought we were taking about a single user for the occasional seesion, for multiple users you really need to set up a Terminal Server
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by:Newco
ID: 21805286
Sorry for not explaining myself; I want different users to access different machines.
Ex. User1 = Access Machine1; User2=Access Machine2, etc.

Thank you,
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by:KCTS
KCTS earned 1000 total points
ID: 21805319
That would be very waateful, you would need to have a machine switched on for each user that might want to connect and then come up with some way of directing each user to the appropriate computer - A terminal server is the way forward.
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by:Newco
ID: 21805343
so your suggestion is: Terminal Server, then RDC to the machine?
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by:exhaust
exhaust earned 1000 total points
ID: 21810438
To properly meet your requirement Terminal Server is the proper way to go. But if you feel like a hackjob you can simply update the registry on each machine to change it's listening RDP port from the default 3389.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306759

Then when they connect from outside they just need to enter the address:

"computername:portnumber"
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by:Newco
ID: 21816476
what about this:  open Desktop Console from a batch file, for example RDC over VPN, using: 'mstsc /v:servername /console command'

Sintax:  mstsc.exe /v:ServerName /f
where: ServerName = Machine Name
/f=Full Screen

would that work?
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Expert Comment

by:exhaust
ID: 21819963
No it would not work. The fact of the matter remains: the client's listening port has to be unique since you are sharing one public ip address. In otherwise your socket connection (ipaddres:port#) has to be unique for the firewall to differentiate how and where to forward the incoming RDP session.
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Newco earned 0 total points
ID: 21822448
Thanks exhaust,

I actually used RDP over VPN: I changed the VPN settings on the client's machine to run the script after the communication is established (mstsc /v:machine /f) and it works perfect!

The command opens the RDP session after establishing the VPN communication and I get right to the login prompt. I did not have to change any port numbers.

We use SonicWall firewall and their VPN client software.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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