(Solved) - Troubleshooting at a distance . . .(64 posts)
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BobJam: I made no mention of other remote control products because you were very specific about *native* windows tools. If Crossloop works well for you and your sister, then by all means use it. Since your sister has Remote Desktop, this is an even better way to remote control a system than Remote Assistance. Remote Desktop is designed for someone to log in to their own computer remotely and thus no invitations are required. Also, the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is very efficient because it is native to windows, so it may help with the speed issues brought on by using dial-up. Here are the instructions from MS on how to setup and use Remote Desktop:
Am back, but still haven't started the effort . . . am waiting for my Sister to call me. At some risk of violating the TOS, you have my "permission" to hijack my thread with light banter while you're waiting for results <grin>.
As I understand it, XP HE, which I have, DOESN'T contain Remote Desktop, only Remote Assistance (and Remote Desktop is not in my All Programs menu). So, at first I would say that I certainly can't connect to her machine using Remote Desktop because I don't have it.
But on reading through that link you kindly provided, it appears that maybe (obviously I don't understand it completely and will have to read that web page again) she can set up her machine using Remote Desktop and then I can access it with Accessories>Communications>Remote Desktop Connection (which IS on my menu).
One thing I read on that link makes me believe this will work: "The remote computer must be running Windows 95 or later. This computer must also have the Remote Desktop Connection client software installed. The remote computer is known as the client." So I would be the "client" and she would be the "host"?
But another thing I read makes me believe that I'm going to have to get her IP address: "Note: If you're not connecting to the host computer through a VPN, you'll need to use the actual IP address of the host computer instead of the computer name."
I know Steve Gibson's "Shields Up" program will give the IP address, but I think there's an easier way for her to do it. Isn't there a command she can use ("ping" or trace route or something like that) that she can use that will display it??
So, if this Accessories>Communications>Remote Desktop Connection works for me and she can set up her XP Pro for a Remote Desktop session, will this work??
BobJam: yes, you have it right! You can indeed access Remote Desktop on your sister's computer even though your computer cannot *be* accessed in the same way. She configures Remote Desktop and you run Remote Desktop Connection to connect to her system. She can provide her external (WAN) IP address by going to this website:
There are still some hurdles to get over, as usual. Your sister has a router, so you have to get through that. The best way is to setup a VPN connection -- very hard to explain. Second best would be to have her setup port forwarding on port 3389 which is used by RDP. That should be enough, but I can't guarantee it. The last resort would be a DMZ setting on the router opening all ports, just be sure to shut it down after you are done.
Finally, your sister will need to set a password on her login account, if she doesn't already have one. I do believe that Remote Desktop requires this and it certainly is a good idea. Keep checking in Help and Support for more info and feel free to ask for more details on anything.
But wait, there's more. When using Remote Desktop, your sister (the host) needs to log off or lock the desktop. Probably best to just log off. Also, the Remote Desktop Connection (client) software has different performance profiles on the Experience tab under Options, including some for dial-up connections. Also, I found an interactive tutorial in the Microsoft Interactive Training application in All Programs -> Accessories. If you have it, look for "Accessing your Desktop from a Remote Computer".
Here's an interesting tidbit from Crossloop's FAQ: "CrossLoop installs and uses TightVNC". So, Crossloop is a friendly front-end for very technical TightVNC! Crossloop does sound like a good solution because it does encryption and NAT traversal.
First, thanks for all the responses and help.
I still haven't decided what to use . . . Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, VNC, CrossLoop, or what. But . . . where I was at one time leaning toward Remote Assistance, and then toward Remote Desktop, now I'm leaning toward CrossLoop.
My main reason for leaning toward CrossLoop is this: The goal of this whole exercise was to troubleshoot a problem on my Sister's computer. Consequently, I don't want to get bogged down and sidetracked troubleshooting the very software that I'm using to get to her machine to troubleshoot in the first place. This might become necessary if I use Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance, because in both cases I would have to tell her how to configure her router (and I barely know myself), or as you suggest, try to tell her how to set up a VPN connection (and that's another thing I'm not very confident doing myself). And too, her router, as I understand it, would give a "disguised" IP address anyway, so I'm not so sure I wouldn't have to get the IP address without the router, whatsmyip.org notwithstanding. Or does that give the "true" IP address . . . is that what you meant by "her external (WAN) IP address"??
So, if I decided to go with Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance I might be inclined to tell her just to unhook the router. But then her problem to troubleshoot may be the router itself (I don't know yet . . . I haven't heard from her).
If she were anything other than computer illiterate, a computer idiot (oops . . . if she knew I called her an idiot, she'd slap me silly) I might try one of those two. But in the case of the router or VPN setup, it would be close to the blind leading the blind, and if it didn't work the first time, I'd likely get sidetracked and end up troubleshooting the setup itself. That would make both her and me frustrated and angry.
Plus there is the issue of TightVNC being "very technical", as you said, so that's out.
So, my tentative conclusion is basically in line with what you said at the end of your post: "Crossloop does sound like a good solution because it does encryption and NAT traversal". And it appears to be the most user friendly, which for my Sister is a big plus. I may end up following Mr. Geeks discussion on it.
I've taken a look at LogMeIn. The only thing I don't know yet is if I can use it with my dial up . . . I think I can, but it will be horrifically slow and I'll have to do things like change color to B&W to speed it up a bit. I've posted the question on the LMI forum.
It's currently a tie between LMI and Crossloop. The "winner" will be the one I decide is the most user/novice friendly and the one that requires the least (or none) manipulation of firewalls.
For RA and RD I might be inclined to just tell her to unhook her router, and I really don't want to do that.
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