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Remote Control Software?

Posted on 2008-10-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
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.
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Question by:curious77
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21 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:jriggy
ID: 22814700
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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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22814957

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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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 22815059
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22818502
tigermatt:
I enabled Remote Desktop on the Vista side. But I don't know where to find mstsc?
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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22818577
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22818695
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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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22819747

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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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 22820482
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22820731
tigermatt:

yes, i can ping it
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22820827

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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22823988
I don't have any firewalls, unchecked the windows firewalls.
But how do I check about exception for port 3389?
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22826005

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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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 22826127
This is what it should look like for XP.....

Picture-18.png
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:neod
ID: 22826188
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22828827
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22828829
neod:
what are some of the other benefits of vnc?
does it allow copy/paste between the computers?
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22829220

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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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:ai_ja_nai
ID: 22856478
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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Author Comment

by:curious77
ID: 22859894
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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Expert Comment

by:ai_ja_nai
ID: 22860857
Not with VNC alone. Try VNC FileServer
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LVL 58

Accepted Solution

by:
tigermatt earned 125 total points
ID: 22861418

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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