Remote Access

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Remote access may refer to the connection to a data-processing system from a remote location, for example through a virtual private network remote desktop software, terminal emulation, or the activation of features of a business telephone system from outside the business's premises.

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At the beginning of the year, the IT world was taken hostage by the shareholders of LogMeIn. Their free product, which had been free for ten years, all of the sudden became a "pay" product. Now, I am the first person who will say that software makers have a right to charge whatever they choose; however, the one week countdown was enough to make me never trust them again. They knew that people had built business processes around their software, and many people would be forced to buy a license if they weren't given enough time to consider other options. That's the road they chose, and I took the path less traveled.

The LogMeIn solution is a fantastic product, and if you have a requirement to log in to machines on a day-to-day basis, it might be worth the investment. But, for the rest of us - especially the occasional user who only logs into a given machine three times per year - $99 / year just isn't worth the convenience. To me, the math didn't add up. I have around 20 computers that I log into once or twice a year. That's a $2,000 - unwarranted - expense.

So, I began the search for alternatives. A simple Google search doesn't reveal any secrets. You see links for Teamviewer and a few other remote desktop style products, but nothing that can replace LogMeIn with free, open-source software. So: challenge accepted.

The main components of LMI

The LMI product has five parts to it: firewall traversal, access to dynamic IP address spaces, an encrypted connection, …
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Let’s list some of the technologies that enable smooth teleworking. 
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Like many organizations, your foray into cloud computing may have started with an ancillary or security service, like email spam and virus protection. For some, the first or second step into the cloud was moving email off-premise. For others, a cloud-based CRM service was the first application in the cloud.

Currently, we see organizations rapidly moving file services and storage into cloud-based solutions as more marketing, sales, and line of business applications switch to Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") solutions. Often, this leaves you with a small set of business applications running on-premise.

What do you do with applications and services left on-premise when most of your systems have moved, or will be moving, to the cloud?

While you may wish to keep these legacy systems on-premise, you can move them into a cloud or hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment. VDI environments provide a virtualized, remote desktop accessible via browser or "receiver" app. When connected, users get their full desktop environment with access to local and network applications.

Some applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing/process controls, are not well-suited for VDI. Most local and network applications work well within a VDI environment. VDI services typically charge based on processor load, memory, and allocated diskspace. Fees may also include standard office software, data backup services, malware protection, and other common …
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In this article, I'll explain how to setup a Plex Media Server on a Redhat (Centos) 7 based NAS with screenshots to help those looking for assistance.
 

What is Plex?


If you aren't familiar with Plex, it’s a DLNA media server that offers the ability to access your own music, photos, and video. In addition, it also gives you the ability to access these on any of your devices, including PC, Playstation, Xbox, Android phone and tablet, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Chromecast, Roku / Now TV, and so on. Wherever you are, whether that be at home, work, a friends house, or even on a plane (watch your data costs with this one tough, as even a transcoded video will gobble GB's) it will allow access. 

In addition to your media, the service offers the ability to aggregate your own media with artwork, recomendations, and playlists from the web or friends. Essentially it’s a Spotify+Flickr for your content. So, if you’ve got many GB’s of media and are after a handy tool to order and access it, not to mention eliminating the need to physically swap CD’s (just define a few play lists first and control the playback from a phone), this is the perfect tool to help you do so.

In addition to covering the basics, this crib sheet will help you access and map any additional content you have stored in OS X Time Machine sparse bundles, Microsoft .vhd, VMware .vmdk and Oracle .vdi or .iso disk image files on …
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Remote Desktop Shadowing often has a lot of benefits. When helping end users determine problems, it is much easier to see what is going on, what is being slecected and what is being clicked on. While the industry has many products to help with this, such as Bomgar, Webex, or even the free solution join.me, they all require an install.

In secure enviroments, this is not always the best option, and I for one hate to install anything unless I absolutely have to. This leads to Microsoft's built-in functionality in RDS (also know as RDP). In Windows 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1, you may now RDP into another compter with some switches, and watch or even control the session. No extra installs, and it comes built in, and here's how.

I do not shadow others' sessions often. But every so often, I need to shadow an RDP (RDS) session to help out a user, like this morning working with remote site. I have found that Windows 2012 no longer has the Task Manager > users > Shadow option, but thankfully, this was restored in 2012 R2. To get this option, you must install the Role "Remote Desktop Services" and then you can go into the connection window and Shadow, Control, or Control with no notification.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2013/10/22/windows-8-1-windows-server-2012-r2-rds-shadowing-is-back.aspx

BUT you can bypass this by going straight to the command line, and you do not have to add any roles! To do this, use the following process:

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Local Printing Using Remote Desktop


Windows 7 sometimes has issues with printing to a local printer using a Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).

The 1st step is to verify that printers are checked on the Local Resources tab of the Remote Desktop Connection. It is checked by default.

RDC-local-resources.pngInstall the Same Driver


If you have the same printer model  at home as one at the office then Windows may be confused. It’s best if you install the same printer driver for office and home. The best bet is to check the manufacturer’s website for a driver that fits all of the Operating Systems involved.

Example:

Scenario – Home and Office both have Gestetner P7325N printers. Office Print Server is 2003 Standard while the connecting remote PC and the Office PC is Windows 7.

Gestetner P7325N – Manufacturer Drivers

Common driver for most Operating Systems – PCL Mini Driver 2.16


32 bit Operating System/64 bit Operating System


32 bit & 64 bit machines may also complicate the process. If necessary install the driver 32 bit O/S on a 32 bit machine & the 64 bit driver on a 64 bit machine. Share both printers and PCs can then choose a matching printer.

You can ascertain if your PC is 64 bit by right clicking "My Computer" and selecting properties. In the System section you will see "64-bit Operating System" or something similar if it's 64-bit. 32-bit Operating Systems may just list the Operating System without denoting it as 32-bit. 


Add Printer Wizard

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Author Comment

by:Randy Downs
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I have Google Authorship enabled on EE an Google+. Am I missing something else?
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Remote Desktop Connections allow you to control remote host machines via the magic of the Internet and RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).

For the purposes of this article we will assume you are connecting from your home PC or laptop to a remote office (remote host). This means that we will need access to the router at the office.

Hypothetical Remote Host:
 
FQDN  - mymail.somecollege.edu
default port for RDP 3389
no VPN (Virtual Private Network)
static IP
connect to a host on the WAN (WAN – Wide Area Network)
Typically we would ping the FQDN to make sure the IP is valid. Since this is a non-existent machine that won’t work so we’ll pretend it translates to a usable IP.

If we wanted to control our PC from work then our PC at home would be the remote host and we would need to access the router at home.

If your PC or laptop is connected to the host's LAN then you could possibly access host via a private IP on your (e.g., 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x,). Private IPs are not routable so only work on the LAN.


Setup PC or Laptop

When we setup Remote Desktop Connections  we need the IP address or fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the host. You can usually find your public ip by visiting a site like WhatsMyIp.

You can get to the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) program by clicking Start and typing "Remote Desktop Connection". You won't have to type more than a few letters before you will …
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by:Eric AKA Netminder
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Congratulations; your article has been published.

ericpete
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Haven’t we all been there – Mom (or Grandma) needs help on her computer, so calls her IT son (or grandson) for help.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just remotely connect to her computer and fix the thing rather than trying to go through it on the phone?

Or we have that “special” user call us from their home office trying to get something working.  Sometimes it is just easier to do it ourselves, but driving to the persons' house is normally not the way to go.

Sure, there are plenty of paid services like GoToMyPC – but we are the IT gods!  We shouldn’t have to pay to help somebody, right?

Microsoft has (bless their hearts) actually tried to make this task a bit easier with remote help.  But sadly they have fallen quite a bit short of the mark when attempting to help Mom (or Grandma :-)

After having set up a lot of different remote control options over the years, I’ve run across one that I really love for it’s simplicity in the occasional-use arena.  It does not have a bunch of bells and whistles, and you are not going to be able to brand it and use it for a robust help desk solution.  But it is just about perfect for the every so often “I need help” call.

I am talking about VNC One Click – a free tool from the makers of VNCScan.  It is very similar to Ultra VNC SC, but setup is quicker and the “go to” IP can be easily changed with a simple .ini file edit.  When you find out that VNC One Click supports DNS names (an undocumented feature) it becomes even that …
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Author Comment

by:mds-cos
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LogMeIn is a fine tool (as are so may others), and certainly has it's place.  The downside is the install part.  I sometimes get people needing help with no previous warning, and assume others get the same type of calls.  Sure I could walk somebody through downloading and installing something like LogMeIn on their system fairly easily.  But with this particular VNC approach all I need to do is send them a link and we are up and running.  I have a "private" page already set up with self-extracting, self running archive to make it super-simple.

I also wanted to avoid a write-up on a commercial offering like LogMeIn, TeamView, etc.  I don't see that an article on such products provides any value.  And while these products are currently offered free for "non-commerical" or "personal" use, who knows if / when that will change.  Further, as an IT person I find the "non-commercial" restriction fairly significant.  I think we all have times when using one of these tools would be walking a very fine line between "personal" and "commercial" -- if not blatently stepping over it.

As Mark says we can get a nice list of tools going.  Each tool has it's place.  Actually, wouldn't that be another good article.  A list of tools we have used with summary of pro's / con's on each.  It could be a long list!
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Expert Comment

by:Mark Wills
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*laughing* a very long list - looking forward to seeing that Article :)
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As an IT person for a call center we are always looking for tools to make our jobs easier. Well I found the ultimate application for the job. SmartCode VNC Manager gets the job done.

SmartCode VNC Manager
Its easy to get up and running just run the wizard to pull in computers from your active directory if you do not use windows AD then you can scan the network and import that way using ip ranges. Once you import the computers you can then do so many management tasks directly from the application.

Some of these items I use VNC Manager for everyday.

* Installing VNC on the computers within your network.
* View and Record screen captures using the vnc thumbnail view included in the application. This tool is expecially usefull to monitor groups of people at once and keep a screen capture log of the activity while you watch.
* Run scripts remotely on the computers within your network. We do things like delete text files, deploy software remotely, add local admin users. Yes these are things you can do via group policy etc. However having a tool to do some of these tasks is very nice.
* View logged in users. Great when you are trying to figure out what pc a user is on for the day.
* Quickly connect via rdp and vnc to remote desktops on your network.
* reboot all the computers on your network with just a couple button clicks.
* Join computers to the domain and even rename them.
* Manage the VNC install on the remote computer start/stop and even change its …
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Expert Comment

by:aliasgarbabat
Comment Utility
Nice one. Smart Code VNC manager is a good tool for system administrators in IT companies to remotely control computers. Additionally, one may even consider using various other remote support tools such as logmeinrescue, gosupportnow, GoToMyPC etc. or can even have deployment of on premise remote support appliance such as Bomgar or RHUB appliances.
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Remote Access

7K

Solutions

10K

Contributors

Remote access may refer to the connection to a data-processing system from a remote location, for example through a virtual private network remote desktop software, terminal emulation, or the activation of features of a business telephone system from outside the business's premises.