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Gaining Remote Access to Your Computer

Date: August, 2010

We have come a long way since desktop computers became a staple of the office and the home. Initially, you had to be stationed in front of your computer screen to view the files and use the programs on your desktop. As most of you are well-aware, the technology in this area has moved forward in leaps and bounds. 

Now you can access your main computer from halfway around the world. Depending on your circumstances, this may be preferable to toting around a laptop or using a flash drive.  

Essentially, you will need to have an Internet connection at both locations, the requisite software and permission. The advanced technology enables you to remotely control another computer, edit settings, read or write documents, and even transfer files and print out materials. Furthermore, software can provide security measures to guard against unauthorized access. 

For starters, there are a myriad of ways to remotely access your computer. The fees for establishing and maintaining access vary, while some services are even free. In some instances, you may be required to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  

That is the short story. Here are some other critical points, as well as the basic terminology, you should know about remote access to computers: 

*The computer that you are attempting to target is called the "host." The computer where you log on to gain access is often referred to as "the client." The client has control over the host. 

*A "persistent host" means the host software is always loaded and ready for a support connection. This is particularly useful when support is needed for an extended period of time. 

*A session connection means that the connection door slams shut after you log off. This type of access may be preferable for short-term or occasional support. Security concerns are generally not as pronounced for session connections as they are for persistent connections. 

*If your circumstances dictate so, you may opt for a persistent connection. In that case, be aware of the increased security implications for your client computer. Also consider setup or connection demands on the client. If you need to connect independently to the host, you will need to establish a persistent connection.  

*Firewalls and corporate policies can also have an impact on your remote access options. In particular, spyware may catch and complain about a persistent connection. Again, appropriate software purchases can help alleviate these problems.

Of course, this article only presents some of the basic nuts and bolts. If you are not a sophisticated computer user, obtain expert advice before proceeding.
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