Remote computing allows you to work on one computer while you're sitting at another. This is great, for example, if you're at work and want to check on something on your computer back at home, such as a webcam. Microsoft Windows Vista Professional edition comes with Remote Desktop connection software built into the operating system.
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Things you need
- Windows Vista Professional computer with webcam
- Home Internet access
- Home Vista Professional computer at work
Set up an account for yourself on the computer that is hosting the webcam if you do not already have one.
Enable Remote Desktop on the home computer with the webcam where you want to connect. Remote Desktop is not enabled by default on Vista. To enable it, right-click on "My Computer" and then "Properties." When the "Properties" window pops up, click on the "Remote Settings" button. Another window will open to a "Remote" tab. Check the box that says "Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer."
Find the IP address of your home computer. This is the string of four numbers that computers use to connect to each other over the Internet and looks like this: 126.96.36.199. You will need this to connect over the Internet remotely.
Open up Control Panel and then Network Connections. Right-click on the connection that is currently active to the Internet. Select "Properties." You will find your IP information here. You can also obtain your IP information by opening up a command window ("Run-->cmd.exe") and typing in the command "ipconfig." Your IP address will be at the very top of the readout. If this is a single computer connected to the Internet, skip to Step 5. Otherwise, if you have multiple computers at home all connected through a router, go to Step 6.
Find your external address. This is the address your Internet provider has provided to the router. The router then takes this address and splits it among the computers that it is serving. Log in to the router and access the system information there to find the external IP address. The next step is to allow port fowarding to the computer that is hosting the webcam. In most router software, there is a "Port Forwarding" tab where you can enter this information. The Remote Desktop port is 3389. You will need to forward traffic from this port to the IP address of your computer with the webcam.
On your computer at work, click on the "Start" button. Then select "All Programs --> Accessories --> Remote Desktop Connection."
Type the IP address of your home computer into the dialogue box that pops up. Allow the connection to negotiate.
When prompted, enter your username and password.
Start your home webcam on the remote computer as you normally would.
Tips and warnings
- Be very careful when editing any information on your router. Many models have the ability to let you save a backup of the configuration file in case you get information wrong.
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