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Free Remote Access Tools For Windows and Mac Compared 152

Posted by timothy
from the wish-you-were-here-printing dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Keith Schultz provides an in-depth comparison of seven free remote access tools for Windows, four of which offer compatibility with the Mac. 'As you read about each tool, you'll notice that I put a lot of emphasis on remote printing. I rely on remote access tools on a daily basis, and in most cases I need to be able to print to my remote PC. For someone that just wants to check their home/office email account or view documents from outside the office, all of the utilities here will work fine. But for those trying to get some serious work done, remote printing may be the deal breaker.' Many of the free tools under review offer paid or licensed versions for access to additional features."
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Free Remote Access Tools For Windows and Mac Compared

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  • They're all free! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ProdigyPuNk (614140) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:48PM (#32020178) Journal
    ...Unless you want something besides a demo version.

    Many of the free tools listed here also have paid versions that offer additional features (such as support for remote printing) or licensing (extra host computers or clients). For some users, the paid version will be the only true option.

    ...and I was getting all excited, too. TBH, I switched to Linux a few months ago and remote administration/printing/etc is one of the pluses. It's great to be at school, think "Uh-oh, forgot that term paper," and be able to grab it off the desktop at home.

    • Re:They're all free! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:02PM (#32020428)
      The whole reason I use macs at work is that it's underpinnings are unix so I can use all those great tools that I use on linux at home and on my computing clusters on the mac. So, my remote computing solution is fuse, sshfs, fink and X11.app on the mac side, and ssh. Works like a charm. I even have konqueror installed on my desktop mac so I can have a remote gui file browser.
      • by loufoque (1400831)

        I don't get why you don't use linux at work instead of mac.

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          Probably because he doesn't want to actually manage his computer.

          I love Linux and run it at home, but I regularly have to tweak things or they simply don't work. Macs are a good middle-ground between functionality and ease-of-use.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            If you can make it work at home, you can make it work at work.
            Plus you'll likely be more productive if you keep using the same environment all day.

            • Re:They're all free! (Score:4, Informative)

              by Sancho (17056) * on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:52PM (#32021442) Homepage

              If you can make it work at home, you can make it work at work.
              Plus you'll likely be more productive if you keep using the same environment all day.

              If I have to spend a lot of time making something work, that's not productive. On my own time, I'm allowed to be unproductive. At work, if I'm spending time fiddling around making my OS run, I'm not doing real work.

              • by soppsa (1797376)
                I'm much the same. I develop high performance application hosting platforms, in Linux (and to a lesser extent fBSD) but my work computer is a Mac. I actually need my desktop to be productive no matter what. Guess what, once you grow past the oMG Steve Jobs Is Teh Evil crap, the Mac is a great UNIX platform to do your day to day work on...
              • by loufoque (1400831)

                If I have to spend a lot of time making something work, that's not productive.

                You would be surprised.
                Studies show that if instead of using a good-enough environment for work, people dedicated some time to make their work environment better or got training at using their tools better, they could significantly increase their productivity, to much higher levels than what any project management technique can achieve.

                The simplest things like typing training gives quite an impressive boost.

                • by Sancho (17056) *

                  The problem is that I'm not getting training in using my tools better--I'm getting training in making them function at all! Each time a failed upgrade causes e.g. apt to crap itself (happened twice in recent memory), I now have to track down why that is and how to fix it. Using apt is not part of my job--it's a necessary requirement for keeping my workstation up to date if I use Linux.

                  In 3 years of using a Mac, I've had 0 updates cause me to have to stop and troubleshoot.

            • by h00manist (800926) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @06:00PM (#32023440) Journal
              The only things I have used that had reasonable speed for real work were RDP, Citrix, and LTSP. I used vnc, tightvnc and ultravnc many times, but never found it to be usable for day-to-day stuff.
              • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:27PM (#32026378)

                The only things I have used that had reasonable speed for real work were RDP, Citrix, and LTSP.

                For GUI work, yes you have it nailed. But it depends on your needs I guess. Most of my work can be done via ssh, so PuTTY works great for my tasks. I use TouchTerm on my iPhone to check on things during meetings as needed... it makes quite an impression when they ask how many parts or customers we have or how much in sales over some period for some group of items and I just login and check instead of getting back to them later.

                I'm not against using a GUI, but most of my work is SQL or bash scripting or shell commands or whatever, and text works just fine for that.

              • by pnutjam (523990)
                The NX protocol works well. Try the freeNX version, or download the free one from NoMachine.

                They have a java web client so I just have port 80 and port 22 open to the internet, I hit the webpage where the client is and it launches the application. I can do it from any PC, no installation necessary.
          • by socz (1057222)

            Probably because he doesn't want to actually manage his computer.

            I love Linux and run it at home, but I regularly have to tweak things or they simply don't work. Macs are a good middle-ground between functionality and ease-of-use.

            Try FreeBSD & Ports Collection :>

            • by Sancho (17056) *

              Actually, I use FreeBSD for my servers. I'm getting a little bit frustrated with ports, to be honest. It seems like every other time I upgrade (I only upgrade when there's a vulnerability) some number of ports fail, and there's no mention of a problem in UPDATING.

              Also, the recent (well, last year or two) libtool bump was really irritating. I wish there was a real package system rather than just building packages on another machine, rsyncing (or nfs mounting) over, and using portupgrade -PP.

              I don't think

          • I regularly have to tweak things or they simply don't work.

            I call shennanigans! You change your work computer often enough that you regularly have to tweak things? This seems somewhat unlikely. Once you have your working set of hardware and software, and all your user preferences set up, what is there to change?

        • by Bugamn (1769722)
          Because Linux doesn't have Steve Jobs' Magic (tm).
        • It's a geek CYA. You can get the benefits of a GUI but still pretend you're a hard-core UNIX geek.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      TBH, I switched to Linux a few months ago and remote administration/printing/etc is one of the pluses. It's great to be at school, think "Uh-oh, forgot that term paper," and be able to grab it off the desktop at home.

      What were you using before that didn't have this? A TRS-80 perhaps?

    • Re:They're all free! (Score:4, Informative)

      by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @05:31PM (#32023062)

      Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection is free for all Windows and Apple users and is the full version. You don't even have to install it on Windows, it already is installed(provided you have the right versions of Windows).

    • Don't look at them like demo versions, they're more like stripped down versions that don't have all the crap you don't need. I'll take that bargain for a free tool. I use logmein's free version to support clients. I don't need file transfer or printing, I just need an easy-to-set-up remote access product (with no port-forwarding requirements) that's cheap. Free is cheap.
  • You mean print from your remote PC to your local printer, right?

    And what about device recognition? Drag/Drop capability? Touch panel integration? USB/DVD device detection?

    I use remote desktop software on a daily basis as well, and these issues vex me.

  • lpr (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:51PM (#32020218) Journal

    You shouldn't need any extra software to print remotely in OS X. Just cat a postscript file over SSH and into lpr on the remote machine.

    • by edmicman (830206)

      Haha, it's that easy!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CronoCloud (590650)

      It's even easier if the remote machine has CUPS setup so you can access the printer remotely via IPP. You can then just add the printer via whatever GUI frontend you want and print directly to it from your applications.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:51PM (#32020228)

    i used to tell my mom who lives 2000 miles away "i don't know" or "I need to be there"

    now i can have desktop access to her laptop over the internet. and for free

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by sconeu (64226)

      And this is a plus, how?

      Now you can't even plead distance to get out of "fixing" her machine.

      • by Trashman (3003)

        This is why I switched to Mac OS (and Linux) at home. No Windows Now when my Windows using family members have issues, I say "I'm sorry but I don't use the product so I can't really help you." My family members are too cheap to spring the $$$ for a Mac.

        And now, I'm not "tech support" anymore; which some members of my family have been ungrateful for in the past.

        • by Qwavel (733416)

          > My family members are too cheap to spring the $$$ for a Mac.

          So everyone is supposed to spring for the most expensive option or you will call them "too cheap"?

          • by Trashman (3003)

            No, not everyone. You can buy whatever whatever makes you happy with *your* own money. :-)

            I just want to use something that none of them will likely buy (and waste my time about when they have issues.)

            • by PReDiToR (687141)
              Then I think the phrase you're looking for is:
              "Sorry, I don't do Windows"

              If you can SSH in and fix problems from your house then obviously you've set your friends/family up to be immune to the usual CRAP that we get called out to deal with.

              Most people don't mind helping people they care about when the problems aren't caused by their own gross ignorance and/or total ignorance of advice from us.
    • I've been using TV for a while now. While I don't particularly enjoy "Family Tech Support Guru", this tool has made my job MUCH easier.

      The previous tool I used was WebConference.com. While WC.C worked for most of my clients, it didn't always. Plus, for somebody who isn't very computer literate, the install is scary as fuck.

      Now all I need my mom to do is start up the program, give me her ID number (in case I don't feel like looking it up and since I don't want to install it to be persistently connected) a

  • RDP, NX vs VNC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FrenZon (65408) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#32020264) Homepage
    I'd be interested to know how good these are at actually doing UI updates - I'm assuming they're all similar in implementation to VNC, which is a shame as you cannot really compare VNC-based systems to the speed of more integrated solutions like RDP and NX.
  • It's free, fully free until you go over 5 lic.

    I tried to pay them, and they wouldn't take my $. Great for Friends / family support, and lic costs are pretty reasonable.

    • by socz (1057222)
      What if the client is behind a router/firewall with DHCP? Can you connect to them without them having to configure port forwarding? That seems to be a problem I run into.
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:55PM (#32020292)

    They're not free, but you already paid for them when you bought the OS. Granted, you'll need to set up the firewall rule beforehand, but they do everything you need. Control UAC, print, fast over slow connections, etc.

    In a pinch, I use crossloop, which is nothing but hamachi+VNC in a neat little package.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      In a pinch, I use crossloop, which is nothing but hamachi+VNC in a neat little package.

      A lot of what people pay for are common/reachable/available tools "in a neat little package." :)

  • by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:57PM (#32020334)
    Honestly, what I would really love to see would be something like SSH X forwarding to run a single remote app from a Mac or WIndows machine. I have a MacBook, it has a 13 inch screen. My Linux desktop at home has a much larger screen. I wish I could just forward individual Cocoa apps the same way you can run remote X apps over SSH and run them on the larger screen without having to hook the monitor, a keyboard and mouse to the Mac.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by loufoque (1400831)

      X forwarding over SSH is extremely slow.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > X forwarding over SSH is extremely slow.

        That's what I thought until I used the MacOS VNC server.

        The bundled VNC server just doesn't cut it. Is there something else that manages to be usable in terms of the speed and smoothness department?

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          VNC is not X forwarding...

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > VNC is not X forwarding...

            I didn't say it was.

            Although I suspect that X forwarding across a WAN would be faster.

            Apple's VNC sucks. It is too sluggish to be usable even on a LAN where X11 can run fast enough remotely to be indistinguishable from a local application.

            So is there something on the Mac that sucks less? I would like a usable remote Mac desktop for my other machines.

            • by AvitarX (172628)

              I misunderstood, I thought you meant the OS X implementation showed that it was good once you tried it, blaming something like vino/vinagre for the trouble.

              I used Chicken of the VNC on Mac's, it worked for my needs, but they were light.

        • by godefroi (52421)

          Um, use Windows?

          *duck*

      • Only as slow as your connection.

        And the point is "slow" is relative. It's very fast compared to remote desktop solutions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bemymonkey (1244086)

      I just use Remote Desktop... resizes windows for smaller-than-host screens automatically.

      Now on a Mac, no idea...

    • by Spad (470073)

      It's doable with RDP and Server 2008/Server 2008 R2 using Terminal Services RemoteApp - it's not quite the same as X forwarding, but it works pretty well for most things where you don't need a full desktop environment.

    • by PReDiToR (687141)
      NX [nomachine.com] might be the answer to your problems.
      Compressed X over SSH, cached screens that only update the altered parts, desktop or application can be the command started.
      PK logins, DB logins, ports, host keys, compression ratio, Windows client, Linux client/server, Mac has something that my mate (who uses overpriced gear) couldn't get working. You might.

      Take a look, it's free! (and there is a Free version too). If you can't get your overpriced stuff to work, you might find a great reason to put YDL on it.
  • Forget about the "free" tools in the article and get Tunnelier [http://www.bitvise.com/tunnelier]
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:04PM (#32020480) Homepage Journal
    I highly recommend using UltraVNC-SC [uvnc.com]. You configure it for your needs as a support person. The person you support has to run a small single EXE file, and you then have control over their machine. Quick and efficient access to someone's desktop to see what they see has made a vast improvement in my ability to support people for the past 5 years or so.
    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:03PM (#32021658)

      The only problem is that it's windows only. There is no UltraVNC SC for Mac/Linux users.

      Also, if your dealing with a shop that has to be PCI-DSS or as part of a PA-DSS application, the PCI folks want to see at least 256bit AES encryption. The 128-bit solution isn't enough. So far the closest we've found is Logmein and we only support clients on Windows or OSX.

      But we're looking at an NX based solution to deploy later this year or early next year which will allow us to do remote administration/maintenance for Windows, OSX, and Linux boxes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I love UltraVNC-SC, however since vista (and now including win7) it has become less usable. I believe it has difficulty handling the '3D' desktop, specifically the UAC that causes the screen to darken.
      • by itsme1234 (199680)

        Also, if your dealing with a shop that has to be PCI-DSS or as part of a PA-DSS application, the PCI folks want to see at least 256bit AES encryption. The 128-bit solution isn't enough. So far the closest we've found is Logmein and we only support clients on Windows or OSX.

        So, let me get this straight. 128-bit AES in a popular, trusted , open source, "point to point" application isn't good enough. However Logmein, originally developed in Eastern Europe (and probably now supported from India or China) which

  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:10PM (#32020608) Homepage

    They talk about RDP for Mac, but they are only talking about the client. There is a
    beta version of Mac Remote Desktop that allows an RDP client to connect to a Mac.

    It is called Mac Remote Desktop (surprised?) There is some information about it at http://www.aquaconnect.net/mac-remote-desktop.php [aquaconnect.net]

    Aqua Connect also has a version for Mac Server, called Aqua Connect Terminal Server. More information is at http://www.aquaconnect.net/ [aquaconnect.net]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Or you can go into system preferences>sharing>screen sharing and use VNC. It's built in. Hell, you can do it through iChat. And then you have Apple Remote Desktop which allows for some more advanced options and it's $500 to support an unlimited number of macs.

      We've been exploring this for a while, but we have to make sure any solutions meet PCI-DSS and PA-DSS compliance. That really leaves us with Logmein as the only way to support both Windows and Mac clients behind a firewall on our budget.

      • Before you spring for Apple Remote Desktop, make sure you understand what you're getting. I'm not sure if I'd call it misnamed, but it provides extremely little in the way of what you would actually call "remote desktop" functionality. The screen sharing it uses is equal to what is built-in - it's just vnc. It does allow you to curtain the remote machine, but that doesn't work well...at all.

        Apple Remote Desktop is NOT in any way a terminal server product. Aquaconnect does that. To some extent, Vine
        • It also allows you to push applications, run installers, and run scripts on a bunch of remote Macs.

          Bingo, which is exactly what we're doing with some help desk features. (Being able to see what a client is doing that causes a repeatable bug in their environment that we can't reproduce in house.)

    • by znerk (1162519)

      It is called Mac Remote Desktop (surprised?)

      Yes, I am. I would have expected it to be called iRDP.

  • I have a free, open source remote desktop system for Windows XP and above. It is written in C++ using MFC and the MDI interface. It supports multiple sessions and the client supports multiple server connections. It is stable but light on the features. It is my hobby project. It would be great if some other coders could help me flesh out the features. If any windows programmer is interested, you can find the source code and executables on codeproject. Here is the link http://www.codeproject.com/KB/IP/ [codeproject.com]

  • by crow (16139)

    Isn't printing something people did back in the 80s? Why would anyone want to do that now? Even in a corporate environment, I only need to actually print something about once a month.

    • Tell that to my boss.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      And the same is true for me(I threw out my last printer almost a decade ago).

      However at work some people must have hard copies. I finally figured out why recently. While you can multitask with any OS now but the monitors generally can only display ONE app at a time. even with widescreen monitors the majority of which have resolutions which really only allow decent reading of one document at a time. Which means if your reading from one or more sources, and compiling them on a third document you are consta

      • by basscomm (122302)

        And the same is true for me(I threw out my last printer almost a decade ago).

        However at work some people must have hard copies. I finally figured out why recently. While you can multitask with any OS now but the monitors generally can only display ONE app at a time. even with widescreen monitors the majority of which have resolutions which really only allow decent reading of one document at a time. Which means if your reading from one or more sources, and compiling them on a third document you are constantly task switching back and forth which slows you down, You can stretch multiple documents out on your desk and glance at them to gather information as you type. Something that is only really possible with 2-3 monitors on computers.

        At home I have 3 monitors and a TV which my computers can output on. however most people at work only get one monitor, two if they are lucky. Try working with just one piece of paper in front of you and stack all other work objects behind it. doesn't work so well does it?

        The solution is either high resolution monitors(tough to find and expensive or multiple 1280x 1024 displays.

        We frequently use printers at work for printing work requests for computers that customers bring in. When they pick them up, we have them sign the timesheets/bills and then go from there. We tried having them sign our monitors, but those were really hard to file.

  • This article seems to be missing some of the most common, well-known remote access tools for Windows:

    • Storm
    • Conficker
    • GUMBLAR
    • Renos
    • etc.

    These are just a few of the very common tools used to remotely access Windows systems every day!

  • His evaluation of all of these products is incredibly insightful. "Firewall friendly"? He means: "Can it get around firewalls without changing their settings properly?" Never mind the security issue of opening your desktop / server / whatever to a third party using something like LogMeIn.Thanks, Keith!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dynedain (141758)

      That's why I setup my mother with iChat. She can initialize a remote desktop sharing without needing to modify any settings or her or my router, and neither of us needs to worry about dynamic IP addresses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by beakerMeep (716990)
      Who cares about security if you can remote print? Doesn't everyone consider printing to a location they aren't at a top priority?

      I know when I need a document on paper, and I need it now, I print to somewhere else.
  • = LogMeIn + Dropbox. What else? Weave on Firefox. That's it.
  • The review states that VNC isn't firewall friendly but, apparently, the reviewer isn't aware of the single click versions of VNC. These versions run without any changes to the host firewall since the connection is initiated by the host. The single click version of UltraVNC is available at:
    http://www.uvnc.com/addons/singleclick.html [uvnc.com]

  • SSH+RDP (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:33PM (#32021100) Homepage

    I use a combination of copSSH [itefix.no], an excellent OpenSSH package for Windows, port forwarding and good old RDP (Because I don't really like the idea of publishing my RDP connection out on t'internet when I can use Public Key auth with SSH). Plus using SSH gives me SCP for file transfers, which is usually a bit faster than doing it via redirected drives in Windows.

    The Windows 7/2008 R2 version of Remote Desktop (v7) has full support for multiple monitors (finally), Aero and for streaming audio and video via WMP so watching stuff is less of a slideshow (though still not really great with your average home broadband upload speeds) as well as local resource mapping (printers, drives, smartcards, etc).

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      I've never used copSSH (although I've used a handful of other SSH programs for Windows), but these days I literally just use OpenSSH. NT system calls were designed to include a superset of POSIX (as well as Win32 functionality), and you can enable a POSIX subsystem that gives you a Unix-like filesystem (complete with case sensitivity and /proc, /dev, etc.) and support for POSIX system calls. Microsoft provides a free download that installs into this subsystem to give a basic but functional Unix-like environ

  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:34PM (#32021118) Homepage Journal

    For those Mac users connecting to another Mac there is always the "Screen Sharing" app located at /System/Library/CoreServices/. It's already there. It's free.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dynedain (141758)

      For those Mac users connecting to another Mac there is always the "Screen Sharing" app located at /System/Library/CoreServices/. It's already there. It's free.

      Not only that, but it's VNC based, so any VNC client can connect to a Mac that has screensharing enabled, and you can use it to connect to any VNC server.

      Oh, and you don't have to dig into the library to find it either.... from the Finder, do connect to server, and give it a vnc url, vnc://machine.example.com

    • Quite right, although I'm not sure why its location in the file system is relevant. When you browse a computer on the network that has Screen Sharing enabled, there's a button on the Finder window that launches the screen sharing system.

      BTW, as far as I can tell, it's VNC made robust for Aqua (that is, unless VNC has progressed substantially on the Mac compared to the last time I used it -- which has been a while). One would think you could connect via any VNC client, but I haven't actually bothered to chec

  • I have used and tested multiple remote software, some commercial licensed stuff as well. I find that first, it depends on what you are using it for. If you are a remote worker and want to use programs at work from home, or vice versa, the minor trouble of editing ACL's to allow RDP (don't forget to change the port to avoid scans) is worth it. On the other hand, if you are constantly dealing with multiple people behind firewalls, something like show my pc or logmein free is more than likely what you want. I
  • I'd love to do remote desktop viewing for distributed, Linux-based, artistic productions. For HP machines their proprietary Remote Graphics Software [hp.com] is very nice, and fills the bill perfectly, but it does require you to use HP boxes (at least for the server, if not necessarily the viewer). Are there any other open-source or widely-available proprietary desktop sharing systems for Linux?

    • I'd love to do remote desktop viewing for distributed, Linux-based, artistic productions. For HP machines their proprietary Remote Graphics Software [hp.com] is very nice, and fills the bill perfectly, but it does require you to use HP boxes (at least for the server, if not necessarily the viewer). Are there any other open-source or widely-available proprietary desktop sharing systems for Linux?

      Yes. There's freenx server for the Linux box and the cross-platform no-machine client for the viewer. It works over SSH by default. IMHO it works much better than any of the VNCs.

  • ...since very few people over here own Macs.

  • For any other system to provide something as elegant and convenient as Plan 9's cpu(1) command [cat-v.org].

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      NAME
      cpu - connection to CPU server

      SYNOPSIS
      cpu [ -h server ] [ -u user ] [ -a auth-method ] [ -P
      patternfile ] [ -e encryption-hash-algs ] [ -k keypattern ]
      [ -c cmd args ... ]

  • Their RDP "download" link goes here [microsoft.com] to a 3 year old version of the RDP client for XP. Given the massive improvements between v5.1 and the current version in Windows 7 (v7) it makes me wonder about the validity of their testing if they really used that version and the validity of their writers if they didn't.

  • I'm sure there's varying degrees to this, as everything else and everyone's needs are different, but as time marches on I've been finding my need to print things has become less and less urgent. Am I alone?

    • In Windows, you can't print to a USB printer through an RDP session by default. For that, you need to follow Microsoft's KB 302361 article to enable it via registry. It's really simple. Below is the link.

      http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302361 [microsoft.com]

  • On a related note, is there anything to enable low-level remote access? Something like Dell DRAC, so that you can actually change BIOS settings and the like? Sometimes I need to reboot Windows remotely, which isn't the default OS, and I can't access the boot manager configuration from Windows. I imagine something like that would be difficult to implement in software, and obviously a software solution would be impossible to use if the machine is off, so I don't really care if it's third-party hardware as

    • A lot of servers have this built-in. On Sun servers, there is a separate service processor (an ARM running embedded Linux) that can power the server on/off, provides network access to video/keyboard, and can create a virtual USB DVD drive.

      There are also external boxes that will do the same thing. We use several of these [raritan.com] where I work.

  • by coaxial (28297)

    My parents live 2000 miles away. If there's something wrong I just say "Buddies | Ask to Share Remote Screen" and walla, everything works. Best part? My parents already run iChat.

    While not perfect for every case, it's perfect when you're the family IT guy.

  • Microsoft recently "released" Mesh [live.com]. It is IE only though (and the reason I will probably stick with LogMeIn).
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Live Mesh can be accessed via IE (using an ActiveX applet), but if you have the software installed (it's free, and available for Mac) then you can connect to other computers in your Mesh without going through IE at all (I mentioned it's available for Mac? Bear in mind that IE isn't, anymore). I use Mesh all the time - it's a little slower and less configurable than true Remote Desktop, but also more convenient. It's really intended for personal machines though; it works fine for business-y things like trans

  • by gatkinso (15975)

    Does just about everything I need. I did stand up an OpenVPN-AS for the rest of the herd - they seem to like it.

  • Rather than forward all sorts of ports to different hosts behind a firewall you just need an ssh server that can connect to those hosts and all connections to that (properly secured) ssh server.

    On the client you do something like putty -D 1080 username@host. This creates a SOCKS 5 proxy on the client that can connect to anything the ssh server you've connected to can see. On Linux and (maybe) OS X, you use run your remote client through proxychains or tsocks eg.

    proxychains rdesktop internal_ip
    proxychains

  • What happened, did you bring Hemos back or something? He was always the worst for this kind of nonsense.

"The Mets were great in 'sixty eight, The Cards were fine in 'sixty nine, But the Cubs will be heavenly in nineteen and seventy." -- Ernie Banks

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