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Xp Remote Access - Setting up Windows 7, Vista, and XP Remote Access

alternative remote access software

Remote access software allows users to access programs and files over the internet or a local network. Many different types of software are available for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP remote access. Some editions of Windows come with complete remote access software, but others must have third party software installed by the user. Some third party programs are free; others are available for a monthly fee or a one time payment. Choosing the right remote access program depends on situation where the software is being used. This article outlines how to select and use the best remote access software for Windows.

Windows’ Remote Desktop

All versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP ship with a remote access program called Remote Desktop. However, only Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows come with a fully functional version of Remote Desktop. The Remote Desktop in the Windows Home and Basic editions can only be used to view other computers. These operating systems lack the server component necessary to host a Remote Desktop connection. The only way to remotely access a Windows Home or Basic PC is to install additional server software, as discussed below.

Using Remote Desktop to remotely access a computer is easy. First, make sure that remote access is enabled on the host computer. The process is nearly identical for all Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows: Right click on “Computer” or “My Computer” then click “Properties.” From here, look for the “Remote” or “Remote Settings” button. On the remote settings page, tick the box to allow remote access. If the computer has a firewall, it may still block remote access. TCP port 3389 and TCP port 80 must be open for remote access to work.

After configuring the host computer, open up the Remote Desktop program on another Windows computer. Remote Desktop is located under Start > Programs > Accessories. Once open, the program will prompt for a compute name or IP address. On a local network, enter the name of the host computer. Remote connections over the internet may be more difficult. If the host computer is behind a router, then it may not be possible to connect even with the computer’s IP number. Refer to the comments on virtual networks below.

Alternative Remote Access Software

Remote access without using Remote Desktop is possible through third party software. VNC is a popular free open source protocol for establishing remote access. VNC software can be installed on any operating system from Windows XP Home to Windows 7 Ultimate, to non-Windows operating systems. Mobile VNC viewers are even available for remote access on a cell phone. Most editions of VNC are divided into separate server and viewer programs. Once a VNC server is running on a computer, it can be remotely accessed from almost anywhere with any kind of device. Popular versions of VNC include RealVNC, TightVNC, and UltraVNC.

Commercial third party applications are also available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP remote access. GoToMyPC and LogMeIn are two popular remote access services, and they offer similar features. Users can encrypt remote access sessions, transfer documents between the host and remote computer, and create virtual networks. Virtual networks may be the most attractive feature of the third party services: with a virtual network it is unnecessary to connect directly to a host computer’s IP address. The remote access connection is established by the service provider instead, sidestepping many of the difficulties created by routers and firewalls. LogMeIn offers a standalone virtual network service called Hamachi. If Hamachi is installed on a host and client computers, then they will behave as if on a local network, simplifying the connection. Remote Desktop and VNC can both be used for remote access over Hamachi’s virtual network.

Remote access can be quick and easy. Many Windows computers already have Remote Desktop software installed on them. Otherwise, programs like GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, and VNC can be installed to allow remote access to any computer. Virtual network services like Hamachi are also available to take the hassle out of making a remote connection through the internet. Experiment if need be: most remote access services are available for a free trial.

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