It is often useful to remotely access a computer. I'm going to show you one easy way, using the website "Logmein.com".
"Logmein.com" allows you to connect to servers that you own.
You need to know the username and password for login on the remote servers, and you need to install the Logmein software before you can log in.
Logmein has advantages and disadvantages compared to Remote Desktop, the Microsoft version of remote access.
"Remote Desktop" only works with comptuers you can directly address; connecting to servers that are behind a firewall is a problem. Logmein has no problem with servers behind a firewall.
"Logmein" connects to a current login session on the server. When someone is connected to a server with logme, you can see the mouse move around and you can see everything they are doing. This is different than Remote Desktop, which starts a new session. You do not have the ghost mouse effect when someone is logged in. Also, if the remote access software is properly installed, more than one person can log in to a server at the same time. That doesn't work with logmein.
Finally, a big advantage: logmein.com works on every computer. Remote Desktop is only provided with some versions of windows, and doesn't work on Mac. i haven't tried it, but I think logmein may also work on Linux, though many people like to use a program called NX instead.
One last thing: logmein is free. That's my favorite price. There are also "pro" accounts with more features, but I've used the free version for years, and it's great.
Enough theory, let's give it a try.
As an example, I'm going to connect to my accounting computer and see if I can run Quickbooks. I'm going to connect from my Mac, but it's about the same from Windows.
We assume that we already have Logmein.com accounts and the software is installed on the server.
First, go to the website http://www.logmein.com and log in.
There are also links if you need to create a new account.
Once we are logged in the website shows us a list of the servers you have set up.
We can see three servers, but two of them are greyed out, which means they are offline. The other two computers are turned off right now, that is why we can't connect to them. I'm going to double click on the first one, which will allow us to connect to "ACER-1".
Let's connect to the server:
The windows screen comes up now
What we see here is the same thing we would see if we were sitting in front of the computer, but it's in a browser window. I can log into this server from any computer, anywhere in the world, as long as it is connected to the internet.
Just for good measure let's start up quickbooks.
What this means is that I can log into this computer, remotely, via "logmein.com", and do some accounting or write some bills, from any computer in the world, as ong as it is oline. This is very convenient.
Logmein's softare has to be installed on any computer you want to be able to remotely access.
Installation is really easy.
When you are signed into logmein, go to thepage where it shows the list of computers. There is a button that says "add computer". Click this and you get a page with instructions on how to add your computer to the list. I'm going to add my Mac. I click on "download now" and see this:
I'm going to run the installer. It's about the same as installing any other program.
Once the program is installed, the new computer should show up on your list of computers. Let's see this.
On the page shown above, there's a link to "My Computers". When I click on it, the new computers (Jim's Macbook) is now on the list.
Excellent. Our new computer is ready to be remotely controlled.
Note that the computer I have set up is a Mac but the process for Windows is pretty much the same. The fact that you can use either kind of computer is really convenient.
You will need two computers. If you are doing this in class you will need to work with another student (so that you both will have computers).
First, signup for a free Logmein account. So, go sign up.
Next, set up logmein on both of computers. Use one computer to log into the other, and try to run some programs over the connection.