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Connecting to the computer on Windows 2008 network remotely

Hi,
 
  I have Windows 2008 Network with Windows 7 PCs on the network.
  Is it possible to remotely connect to the workstation PC directly (not to Terminal Server) from outside of the network using remote desktop?
  I know on SBS2011 network I can connect to a workstation PC via RD Gaetway Server Settings in Remote Desktop Connection.
  I am trying to avoid installing remote access programs such as Logmein  or TeamViewer or Port Forwarding setup  (like TCP 3390) on the router.

Thanks.
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sglee
Asked:
sglee
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2 Solutions
 
jli168Commented:
Are you sitting behind firewall? Are you workstation on DHCP? I would recommend do port forwarding or you can one to one NAT if you have enough external ip.

JL
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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
Another possibility (more secure) would be to set up a secure VPN, either using your Windows server or your perimeter router, and have the users connect to the VPN. Once they're connected, they can use RDP through the VPN connection to their workstations.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
@jli168
Are you sitting behind firewall? ---> no firewall. Just Linksys router
Are you workstation on DHCP? ---> Yes it gets IP address from Domain Controller (W2008 Svr)
I would recommend do port forwarding  ---> This is what I will do if there is no other option like in SBS2011 network.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
@ hypercat

"Open VPN connection and run Remote Desktop to connect to internal PC" ---> That is a good idea. I did not even think about that.

Or ... we have a Windows 2008 Terminal Server. So the user can connect to theTerminal Server first and launch another remote desktop sessoin to connect to his/her office PC.
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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
Yes, as you say you could do it either way. However, for them to connect to the TS and then open a separate RDP session to their own workstation, working in an RDP window within an RDP window might be a bit confusing for the user.

If you already have a terminal server, I have to ask: Why do the users need to connect to their own PCs?  It seems rather redundant to say the least...
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
" It seems rather redundant to say the least... " ---> because they have some software on their desktop. Those software may not be compatible with TS or too complicated to setup/run on TS.
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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
I see your point.  I think the VPN/RDP direct to the user's desktop might be the better alternative. On the other hand, the terminal server solution does avoid your having to open more ports on your firewall.  And, depending on how they work, it might be more convenient for the users to connect to the terminal server, work on that platform, and then do another RDP from there to their own workstation.

In any case, you might want to think about security. If it's a concern at this firm that users shouldn't have access to each other's workstations, then you would want to be sure that each user has remote access permissions only to his/her own workstation.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
I like both options (1) VPN/RDP  (2) TS/RDPtoWS  because they both allow local printing and full access to their computers.
They are both two step processes, but (1) VPN/RDP option requires RRAS setup whereas (2) TS/RDPtoWS is already there.
If I can verify local printing, I think I will go with (2) TS/RDPtoWS option for now.

Let me ask you guys:
So unlike SBS2011, there is no way to connect to the workstations from outside using Remote Gateway settings in remote desktop connection in Windows 2008 network?
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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
Come to think of it, if you're using the remote desktop gateway feature of the Windows 2008 remote desktop services setup, then you should be able to allow users to connect to their own workstations remotely through that gateway.  I've never done it for any of my clients, since the issue hasn't come up and I'm not a big fan of having users connect to their own desktops remotely for security reasons.  But I have tested it and it works.  You'd need to add the workstations to whatever connection group you've set up in your TS Gateway RAP (resource access policy) and then they could connect directly their workstations using the terminal server as a gateway.

Here's an article just on TS RAPs.  If you're not familiar with the concept and/or aren't using the TS Gateway features of your Windows 2008 remote desktop services, then you'll have to do additional reading:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772397(v=WS.10).aspx
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
Let me try to setup separate Windows 2008 Server as a Virtual Machine on a test server and install TS Gateway feature. I will post the result.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
For now, I decided to go with VPN / RDP solution.
I will try setting up  install TS Gateway features on Windwos 2008 Server later.
Thnaks for your help.
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Hypercat (Deb)Commented:
You're welcome, and good luck with this project!
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