I used to never believe in laptops, but I got one from work and after a long time, I think I started using it out of pure necessity one day. The more I used it though, the more the form factor grew on me, and at the end of my tenure at MS, I was using it almost constantly. I think its the portable nature of the power that drew me. Sure, in this day and age, its specifications were almost laughable:
Toshiba Portege: 1.7 GHz Pentium M, 2 gigs of RAM, 60 Gig harddrive, 1400×900 (4:3) resolution on a 12.1” screen.
But I’ll be damned if that thing didn’t do everything I needed. I compiled the programs I needed just fine, and since I didn’t play any games, the only other thing I was doing on it was e-mail and web surfing. After Youtube added its HD resolution format the CPU started showing its age, but the spacious ( for a laptop ) screen resolution and excellent brightness made up for it. So why am I talking about all this now? Well, I don’t have a laptop anymore, but I can still bum a terminal or laptop off people when I at different locations. So I decided I needed to access my computer while I was out of the house. Its pretty simple, so let’s get to it!
What do you need?
- You’ll need an active, semi-permanent web connection ( you can’t power down your machine )
- Windows XP Professional ( You can hack XP Home edition, but I haven’t done that yet )
- Admin access on your computer AND your router if you have one.
Credit where credit is due: I looked at the ScrewTurnWiki for the steps. The link to their article is here. Microsoft also has some guides to installing remote desktop here. Now you must be asking: Huong why are you writing up the steps then? Because I’ll have some specific steps for my router, the D-Link DI-524 that are not in their write ups.
What to do:
- Open up Control Panel –> System ( This may be inside Performance and Maintenance ).
- Select the Remote Tab and you’ll see the Remote Access options:
- You’ll want the bottom checkbox marked that says Allow users to connect remotely to this computer. Also, If you want other people on your computer to be able to Remote Access the machine, you’ll need to add them in the Select Remote Users screen. If you are not sure you already have access, You can click the screen and it will tell you who has access:
- Once you are happy with everything, you’ll need to click OK. Windows will setup your WINDOWS firewall for you, but now you need to setup your router. My instructions will be specific for my router. So go log into your router now.
- By default, most routers default to 192.168.0.1. If not, you’ll need to find out what it is. Type that IP address into your browser and you should get a prompt that looks like this:
- If you don’t have a router, you’re done! You should probably get one though, because now your computer is even MORE vulnerable to the internet, and anyone can access your machine now if they figure out your password.
- If you’ve been following the ScrewTurnWiki, you’ll know we are here to enable the ports in the router and to direct the traffic to your computer. You could always hope the default settings works, but let’s not. The main screen looks like this:
- Select the DHCP button. What were are going to do here is give your computer a permanent IP assignment based on the MAC address of the LAN card. Sounds complicated but its easy!
- Once you’ve picked the right MAC address, Select Enabled. Then type in a name ( the same name as the computer you have Enabled Remote Desktop to is a good idea ). Now select an IP. I don’t know what your router looks like, but usually 102 or greater is usually a safe bet. Then click the Clone button and it will copy the MAC address for you from the dropdown menu. Click Apply. After you click Apply, the router will turn it self off and reboot. This will take a while and it will kill you internet, so don’t get impatient. Once its done rebooting, your computer will now have a permanent IP assigned to it by the router.
- Now click on the Advanced Tab up above:
- Some routers have Port Forwarding, but our router has something called a Virtual Server. For the purposes of Remote Desktop, they do the same thing, so don’t be confused. What we are doing here is having the router always send Remote Desktop communication to our specified computer. What you’ll want to do is Select Enabled. Type in a name ( Remote Desktop is a good idea ). For the private ip, you’ll want to give it the IP we assigned in the last section. Note that here you’ll need the entire IP instead of just the last digits ( i.e. 192.168.0.XXX ). Leave the next field at TCP. For the public and private ports, assign 3389 and then click always. Select Apply.
- Voila! Your computer is setup for remote desktop. Note you’ll need your computer’s IP. As mentioned in the wiki, you can use http://www.whatismyip.com/ to get your IP. You can also setup a DNS and have a friendly name, but I haven’t done that you. When I do, I’ll report back here. For now, enjoy your computer from anywhere! I know it’s been very helpful for me.