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How To Use a Windows Laptop As a Terminal

Posted on 2011-02-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have some dell rack mounted boxes at a data center.
I use a spare monitor and keyboard that the data center provides to log into and mess with my machines.
There have been times when someone else is using the single monitor and keyboard that they provide.
How can I use my windows 7 laptop as a terminal to log into the windows server 2003 dell boxes?
The laptop has 1 female video recepticale and 3 usp ports.
I think the dell boxes have a female video port as well so I'm guessing that I would need a special
cable that has two male ends to plug into my laptop and the dell boxes.
Is that a correct assumption?
What other setup considerations to I need to take into account when trying to do this laptop to server terminal connection?

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Question by:FastEddie___
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by:kdearing
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Can you use your laptop as an extra keyboard/video/mouse - no.

But of course you could remote in to your servers using Remote Desktop (windows) or VNC, etc.
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by:dcraft
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fyi, the reason you can't use the video port on the laptop is because it is a video out port. You can display the laptop's screen out to an external monitor.
Like kdearing said, use remote desktop. Enable rdp on your servers and start, run, mstsc /console on your laptop and you're can do most administration. There are a few programs that must be installed from the actual console, but most day-to-day operations can be done via remote desktop.
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by:FastEddie___
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I cannot remote desktop into my box at the data center.
That's why I want to use my laptop as a terminal.
I want to use the screen and keyboard on my laptop in place of a monitor and keyboard.
Can this be done?
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by:Psy053
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Why can't you use Remote Desktop?
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by:FastEddie___
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I normally do use remote desktop to administer that box however there was a problem at the data center and my site is now down. I can not remote into that box. I need to physically go there and try to fix it.
Normally I would hook up a monitor and keyboard and go to town however I can not do that today.
Is there any other way of doing this with a cross over cable or something?
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by:Psy053
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Sorry, I'm confused.

If you have to attend onsite, you should be able to plug your laptop into the switch that your servers are on, and use remote desktop.
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by:FastEddie___
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That's great news!
I've never had to do that before.
Is there any configuration considerations other than just connecting my laptop via ethernet?
What are the steps involved in doing that?
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Psy053 earned 300 total points
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Obviosuly, it depends on your environment, for example, in one of my test environments, my Switch is configured as a DHCP server, and will hand out an appropriate address to my laptop. However, in another of my environments, there is no DHCP Servers, and I have to statically assign an IP Address that is in the same range as my servers, in order to connect via RDP.
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by:JT92677
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I use Logmein to access computers and control them remotely. However, it does take over the screen if someone is using the computer, but the advantage is that if the machine is somewhere else, or you have several to manage, you can create an account, and add the machines one at a time to be logmein servers, and log into them with a browser running logmein client, and the quality is excellent, speed is great, and control is flawless.

Lookup Logmein using google, and go to the logmein.com site.

I've used VNC (slow by comparison) and remote desktop, etc., but logmein seems to be the easiest, fastest, and cleanest approach.  That's just my experience, others may have different experience, but at least look at logmein.

Hope this helps

Jeff
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by:Psy053
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Logmein may be a little overkill. From my understanding of the original post, he has physical access to the servers, just not phyiscal access to KVM.
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by:JT92677
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I use logmein inside my LAN to make changes to computers running various tasks, and have different IDs that i can use to help people outside my Lan.

Given the price (FREE) for the version of Logmein that I use (I can do file transfers using fireftp inside firefox, etc., so don't need the features of the advanced logmein service) it works great. My experience with VNC is that it's slow, the screen updates are marginal, and it just feels like a constant battle trying to work the remote computer with a vnc viewer client.

So even with physical access to the servers, if he has a multiple-monitor system where he works, it makes controlling a second computer a snap.  I always run logmein in full screen mode on a very high resolution monitor so it doesn't distort the remote screen resolution.
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by:Psy053
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Interesting, I guess I've just never thought of doing it that way - especially file transfers, from my understanding of LogMeIn, you would be sending out that data over the internet.

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by:JT92677
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Logmein uses their service to locate the target machines on your account, but the data goes directly between your computer and the remote host computer.

File transfers are also easy if you have a common file server somewhere. Or you can share a directory on the server, with read/write attributes, and put your files into and out of that directory by using your "My Computer" program. If you know the IP address of the server, you can just type it in with \\ in front of it. I do this routinely.

My remote computer might be  172.16.44.110  so on my local computer I bring up My Computer, and type in  \\172.16.44.110  and voila, there is the remote computer.  Then just drag and drop. You would do this OUTSIDE of logmein, but you use LOGMEIN to setup the directory, the file sharing, copying the file on the server, running programs on the server, etc. Then just minimize the logmein window and use  your local machine to access the server.

Like a toolbox, just grab the right tool and the problem is easy to solve.  The trick is to (1) have the tool, and (2) know how to use it <<grin>>

Hope this helps,  if it does, how about a few points for the effort? (Remember Caddy Shack, asking the Lama for a little something for the effort, one of Bill Murray's best lines).

Jeff
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