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Setup Remote Access in Windows Home Server

One of the many awesome features of Windows Home Server, is the ability to access your server and other computers on your network remotely. Today we show you the steps to enable Remote Access to your home server from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Remote Access in Windows Home Server has a lot of great features like uploading and downloading files from shared folders, accessing files from machines on your network, and controling machines remotely (on supported OS versions). Here we take a look at the basics of setting it up, choosing a domain name, and verifying you can connect remotely.

Setup Remote Access in Windows Home Server

Open the Windows Home Server Console and click on Settings.

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Next select Remote Access, it is off by default, just click the button to turn it on.

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Wait while your router is configured for remote access, when it’s complete click Next. Notice that it will enable UPnP, if you don’t wish to have that enabled, you can manually forward the correct ports. If you have any problems with the router being automatically configured, we’ll be taking a look at a more detailed troubleshooting guide in the future.

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The router is successfully configured, and we can continue to the next process of configuring our domain name.

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The Domain Name Setup Wizard will start. Notice you will need a Windows Live ID to set it up –which is typically your hotmail address. If you don’t already have one, you can get one here.

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Type in your Live ID email address and password and click Next…

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Agree to the Home Server Privacy Statement and the Live Custom Domains Addendum. If you’re concerned about privacy and want to learn more about the domain addendum, make sure to read about it before agreeing. There is nothing abnormal to point out about either statement, but if this is your first time setting it up, it’s good to review the information.

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Now choose a name for the domain. You should select something that is easy to remember and identifies your home server. The name can contain up to 63 characters, numbers, letters, and hyphens…and must begin and end with a letter or number. When you have the name figured out click the Confirm button.

Note: You can only register one domain name per Live ID.

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If the name isn’t already taken, you’ll get a confirmation message indicating it’s god to go.

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The wizard is complete and you can now access the home server from the URL provided.

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A few other things to point out after you’ve set it up…under Domain Name click on the Details button…

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Which pulls up the domain detail information and you can refresh the data to verify everything is working correctly.

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Or you can click the Configure button and then change or release your current domain name.

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Under Web site settings, you can change you site page headline to whatever you want it to be.

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Accessing Home Server Remotely

After you’ve gotten everything setup for your home server domain, you can begin to access it when you’re away from home. Simply type in the domain address you created in the previous steps. The start page is rather boring…and to start accessing your data, click the Log On button in the upper right hand corner.

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Then enter in your home server credentials to gain access to your files, folders, and network computers.

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You won’t be able to log in with your administrator user account however, to protect security of your network.

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Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to access different parts of your home server shares and network computers.

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Conclusion

Now that you have Remote Access setup, you should be able to access and manage your files easily. Being able to access data from your home server remotely is great when you need to get certain files while on the road. The web UI is pretty self explanatory, works best in IE as ActiveX is required, and is smooth and easy to work with. In future articles we’ll be covering a lot more regarding remote access, including more of the available features, troubleshooting connection issues, and enabling access for other users.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/5/10

Comments (3)

  1. S. Bernard Getzlaf

    I just found your site, and hope it is new, or I feel like I’ve missed out on the best help ever. Thank you for everything you write and show here. You people are the experts!

  2. Sumfcuker

    How do you use your own custom domain? example.com instead of homeserver.com

  3. KRmayo

    If you want your own custom domain Sumxxxxxr, You must have a static IP address for your home machine….this part is tricky and you will have to go thru your Internet Provider, and they usually charge a good chunk per year for this. You must then get your own domain from somewhere like domain.com which will cost you around $10 a year. While configuring your domain name it will ask for your IP address. Finish configuring your domain name and within a few minutes you should be good to go. Needless to say, using the free option from Microsoft is much simpler and cheaper.

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