Nov 19, 2007

Access Your Computer From Anywhere

One of the most valuable things I ever discovered (Thanks to my buddy Ryan) when I was just starting out was that I could access my home computer by simply opening port 3389 on my home router (Check out this post on port forwarding), enabling remote desktop on my Windows XP machine, and creating a Dynamic DNS account.

Then I started going to a school that just hadn't gotten with the times. Don't get me wrong, I love going to Coleman College. I have learned quite a bit their, but a vast majority of their computer lab computers are still only running Windows 2000 (Only a month or so ago did they add a row of Windows XP boxes...So sad). Anyway, the problem with Windows 2000 is that is doesn't have a remote desktop client installed natively. Sure, you can download a client from, but you still have to have admin rights to install it. That of course, I do not have since it is a school computer.

I still had some options though, and I'll tell you what I did for the longest time. I installed the free version of Real VNC server at home, and opened up port 5900 on my router. I then carried around a copy of Tight VNC on my thumb drive, because it didn't need to be installed, and I could access my computer that way. The only problem with that is VNC is not secure.

Now before I go any further, it is important to point out that I often have people showing me easier ways of doing things. The only difference in this case is that I sort of figured this one out on my own. You see, Real VNC (And Ultra VNC if you can get it to work right) both have the option to access the VNC server over http using Java! If you open port 5800 on your router, you now don't need to carry around a VNC client with you as long as there is a browser handy with Java installed!

What's more is you can run STUNNEL on your VNC server to encrypt your browser based VNC session using SSL! All for free!

Now when I go to school, and I am forced to use one of the Windows 2K machines, I just open a browser, and surf to my home computer!

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