As we all know, the best way to live life is to sit in one place, silently waiting for something amazing to happen. Plus, sloth is a basic human right. Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced by factors outside our control to go to the dreaded “someplace else.” Among other things, one frustrating result of that movement is that we no longer have direct access to the computer. Luckily, there is a solution.
Remote desktop software allows you to access your computer from anywhere through the Web. This tool is sometimes used for remote tech support, but it can also come in incredibly handy anytime you (unjustly) can’t be in the computer’s same physical location. If you have an old computer this may not be compatible, and if you are going to need something like this a lot with your job or personal life then you are going to need to look at an upgrade. Luckily you can do computer recycling to save from dumping it in a bin as it can be partly refurbished for something else, benefitting others. A win-win!
This two-part series, drawing on information and advice from Geek.com and Lifehacker, will look at how to set up remote desktop capabilities in two different ways:
- Part 1: Hard way – by changing router and OS settings (actually, not that difficult).
- Part 2: Easy way – Installing a ready-build solution you can use to accomplish the same task.
Note: Because the hard way involves opening router ports, you will be making the computer less secure. The easy way, then, is chosen by most people because you’re using an application designed for security by professionals.
Also, the hard way is specific to Windows, while many of the “easy ways” are available for Apple as well. Let’s look at each of these options. Then, to celebrate, we will lock ourselves in our rooms and refuse to take any phone calls.
Remote Desktop the Hard Way
As we are reminded by Geek.com, Remote Desktop Connection on Windows is easy to access and employ. Be aware that you are going be changing some important settings on your computer, so turn off SportsCenter, close the windows and blinds, and do some deep breathing exercises to prepare.
1. Allowing Remote Connections. In the computer you will be accessing, go into the start menu, right-click Computer (right column), and select Properties. In the left sidebar, choose Remote Settings, and within that, Remote Desktop. There you should see two options. Choose the Network Level Authentication one.
Selecting Network Level Authentication (NLA) configures access so that any of your enemies or their henchmen – or, God forbid, their henchmen’s henchmen – will be blocked by the requirement for login credentials. Basically this feature prevent DDoS attacks, in which your computer is forced into an army of computers – a botnet – to assault websites with massive amounts of bogus traffic. If your computer is drafted for service, build it a Liberty Garden and pray.
When you’re accessing the computer remotely using the NLA feature, the PC that you are using for access will have to have Windows 7, Vista, or Windows XP Service Pack 3 installed. Click Apply. If you have administrative control of the computer, the Selects Users option is irrelevant.
While you’re at it, disable “Allow Remote Assistance.” Not everyone out there wants to assist you. Sometimes living with your disability is better than accepting assistance, especially in the case of homicidal schizophrenia.
2. Configuring the Router. Finally, go into your router and forward TCP port 3389 to the accessing computer. This step is a little more advanced (though, again, it’s no more complicated than a double-lutz, and each of us is an accomplished figure skater). There’s no general guideline for this because it is router-specific. Geek.com points to PortForward.com to locate the instructions for your router.
While you are working within your router, ensure that it assigns the same local IP every time you remotely access the other device. Otherwise, port forwarding will not function correctly. If you forget to do this and the remote connection doesn’t work, the proper emotional response is to shriek and groan loudly until the men in the white coats take you away (the bakers in the high-end muffin shop where you are following this tutorial while eating scrumptious, overpriced muffins).
3. Testing. Now try it out. Go to your favorite search engine (and if you don’t have one, just Google, “What’s the best search engine?”) and search for, “what is my IP.” Write it down, and put it in a lockbox. Then remove it from the lockbox, and start up a second computer.
On the second computer, go into the start menu, Programs, Accessories, Remote Desktop Connection. Within Options, you will be able to customize your experience interacting with the remote computer, especially connection speed (within Experience) and the Keyboard shortcut selections within Local Resources. Then click into the General section and type in that IP. Connect. Now stare hard at your computer.
Finally, you should be asked for login details. The desktop of the other computer will appear. Go ahead and install the spyware so you can know what you are doing at all times.
Conclusion, Continuation & Postlude
(Please play “Pachelbel’s Canon” as you read these last few comments. The YouTube address can be found in the bulletin.) That covers Remote Desktop Connection. Now let’s move onto an overview of ready-made applications, in the second part of this series.
Good night, and good luck, and need hosting? Here it is.
By Kent Roberts