Remote Control Software?

I need some advice on the right program to use.
I have two computers connected on a home network. A laptop running Win XP Pro, and a desktop using Vista 64. I use them both, and go between the two constantly. Currently I use a KVM box to share the same screen, keyboard and mouse. I don't like this approach. I am looking to switch to software solution that allows taking control of another computer on the network. There are many of them I hear about - RAdmin, Real VNC, PC Anywhere, etc. My question is which would be best? I would be on the VISTA computer and when I need to do something on the XP (which is a laptop) I would use this software to control that computer.
curious77Asked:
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jriggyCommented:
I use Dameware for all my remote PC needs.  It provides dual monitor support and an upload / download folder.  Not to mention that it is dirt cheap per license...  You only have to buy 1 license and you can connect to as many PC's as you need.  They also will give you a free 30 day evaluation to make sure you like it.
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tigermattCommented:

If you will be remotely accessing either computer from outside your network (i.e. from your office, on the road etc.), I suggest you take a look at LogMeIn. They offer a free edition which has simple remote control features.

For just remotely logging into either PC when they are on your LAN, look at using Remote Desktop. This will work at least from the Vista PC to the XP Pro machine, it is just a case of enabling it in the System Properties > Remote tab. Then run mstsc on the Vista machine, enter the IP address of the XP machine and you will connect. Going the other way, you'd need Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate to connect XP to Vista over RDP.

-tigermatt
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
RDP or Remote Desktop Protocol.  It is free and works on Both OS natively.

As for accessing the computers from outside your LAN, configure your router to route traffic to one of your computers over port 3389.

But because all Windows computers use port 3389 for RDP traffic you will need to set one of your ohter computers to listen on a different port and add that static IP and port to your router. see here... http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306759
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curious77Author Commented:
tigermatt:
I enabled Remote Desktop on the Vista side. But I don't know where to find mstsc?
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curious77Author Commented:
tigermatt:
I found it.
But when I run it I get this error:
"This computer can't communicate with to the remote computer"
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curious77Author Commented:
LogMeIn won't work for me. I want something that I can click and immediately see the other computer. I don't like having to connect to a website? what do I do when the Internet is down (having cable this happens too often)
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tigermattCommented:

Can you ping the IP address of the Vista machine from your XP computer?

Remote Desktop is ideal for within your own internal network, I only suggested LogMeIn for if you wanted to access your PC from outside while travelling or otherwise not at home.

-tigermatt
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
To find mstc press your " windows logo key + R".  At the run command prompt, type "mstc", without the quotes.

This is for both XP and Vista.  Also, as mentioned, if you follow the steps I laid out, you can setup rdp to both machines and make them accessible from anywhere.
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curious77Author Commented:
tigermatt:

yes, i can ping it
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tigermattCommented:

OK, the next likely suspect is probably either a third-party firewall or the built-in Windows Firewall. Check on both your XP and Vista computers that an exception for port 3389 has been created (that's the port used by the RDP procotol), and I would then expect you to be able to connect.

-tigermatt
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curious77Author Commented:
I don't have any firewalls, unchecked the windows firewalls.
But how do I check about exception for port 3389?
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tigermattCommented:

If you have the firewalls switched off there's no need to check for an exception!

Can you check once again on the XP machine in Control Panel, System, Remote that 'Allow Remote Desktop connections to this computer' is enabled?

-Matt
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
This is what it should look like for XP.....

Picture-18.png
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neodCommented:
I prefer using VNC software over Remote Desktop.  It allows you to logon interactively to different windows accounts without having to reconnect as well as several other benefits over VNC.  
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curious77Author Commented:
tigermatt:
>>Can you check once again on the XP machine in Control Panel, System, Remote that 'Allow Remote Desktop connections to this computer' is enabled?

Yes, this was it!! once I checked the checkbox it works.

Can I connect to a computer over web using this same remote desktop?
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curious77Author Commented:
neod:
what are some of the other benefits of vnc?
does it allow copy/paste between the computers?
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tigermattCommented:

curious,

If you want to connect over the web, you'll need to do two things:

1: Whenever you connect you'll need to know what your router's public IP address is at that time; on home connections, this is usually dynamic and will change, so you have to use a service such as No-IP to keep track of your IP.
2: You need to forward port 3389 through your router to the IP of your XP computer. The guides at http://portforward.com/ should help you there.

When you connect, you'd use your No-IP hostname in the mstsc box.

-Matt
-tigermatt
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ai_ja_naiCommented:
Definitely VNC. It's crossplatform,  allows copy and paste beetween different OSes (linux and windows, for example). It's bandwidth efficent and easy to install and manage
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curious77Author Commented:
ai_ja_nai:
one more question, will VNC allow for transferring files between the computers as well? Right now - per advice here from tigermatt - I have been trying out Terminal Server, but when It allows for copy/paste it does not allow for copy/paste a file.
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ai_ja_naiCommented:
Not with VNC alone. Try VNC FileServer
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tigermattCommented:

Terminal Services / RDP allows for copy/paste of text but not file objects. If you go for RealVNC Personal Edition, you can do File Transfer - it is one of the included features.

See http://www.realvnc.com/vnc/features.html.

-tigermatt
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