No matter where you are, so long as you have internet access, you can work as if you were sitting at your home PC. This isn't a new idea, but it did get a major boost with the release of XP Pro in 2001
This article appears in the March 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.
Earlier versions had the ability to connect remotely, but only by going through a Windows NT or Windows 2000 server running Terminal Services. However, this wasn't cheap and quickly became the exclusive preserve of corporate networks.
Windows XP upset the apple cart. Pro featured a 'lite' Terminal Services client and its RDC (remote desktop connection) was capable of supporting only one remote user at a time. It used the same protocol as the full version: RDP (remote desktop protocol). RDP is a fairly efficient protocol, working well over low-bandwidth scenarios and even on Pocket PCs.
Remote Desktop shouldn't be confused with Remote Assistance. Although based on RDP, Remote Assistance is more suitable for assisting with problems and requires the direct interaction of a human on the remote PC in order to take control.
You can redirect resources from the remote PC to the local client, depending upon the capabilities of the client software used. For instance, File System Redirection allows users to see their local files on a remote desktop, while Printer Redirection allows them to use their local printer as they would with a locally- or network-shared printer.
There are a few hurdles to clear when considering using Remote Desktop, such as finding your PC when inside and outside your local area network, or getting connected to your desktop remotely through a firewall. In the March issue of PC Advisor we'll show you how to install and configure Remote Desktop Connection on your PC.