Backup to CrossLoop for international remote access to my computer
March 17, 2013 5:40 PM   Subscribe

I have a personal desktop that I want to access from my laptop while I am traveling abroad for the next 4 months (international, not the fastest connections). CrossLoop seems to work but what else should I use that is more robust?

I am thinking I need a more lightweight way to remote in, perhaps via command prompt or something, that is more robust in the event CrossLoop is too slow or breaks.

I am a lazy, kind of techy person. I don't mind learning more gritty detail about how to remote in using EMACS (sarcasm, don't even know if that is possible) or something, but I know nothing about network admin, VPN or any of that stuff. So I need something I setup and use rather easily.

The things I would like to be able to do:
-Search for files and transfer them back and forth between my laptop and desktop
-start and stop tasks and monitor the task manager
-be able to go to websites as if I was in the USA*
-Generally feel the comfort of knowing I can access my desktop (I've already setup a dropbox with all my critical files, but still)

*I know that is ip masking, and I am looking into tools that will allow me to do that but any advice on that count would be appreciated also.
posted by DaftMythic to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Point 3: you need a proxy server installed. Lifehacker had a fairly detailed if a bit old discussion. You can run it secure (https) for free by generating a self signed SSL Certificate.

There are a number of options for remote desktop, setting up an ssh server would allow command line access but that's often not worth it on a windows box. I'll be interested in other responses.
posted by sammyo at 6:33 PM on March 17, 2013

What operating systems do the two computers have?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:17 AM on March 18, 2013

Both Windows 7

... I was thinking of loading up ubuntu as a project at one point but no time now (for the home based computer) and besides all the data and programs I want to access are in windows
posted by DaftMythic at 12:28 AM on March 18, 2013

Re: Sammyo - Thank you, after reading that I did some google fu and am now thinking of doing this proxy or setting up a VPN with something like Hamachi.

It sounds like VPN is going to cover all of my needs and be faster, allow for US browsing from abroad (am I correct???) but is there any reason I should take the effort to also setup a proxy per the lifehacker article?
posted by DaftMythic at 12:52 AM on March 18, 2013

Which versions of Windows 7? I'm asking because Remote Desktop Protocol is pretty lightweight in terms of network connections, but it isn't available on all versions of Windows.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 10:08 AM on March 18, 2013

Both Windows 7 Home Premium
posted by DaftMythic at 11:28 AM on March 18, 2013

You can use any version of Windows to connect to another computer using RDP, but the computer you're connecting to must be running certain versions of Windows. With 7 it's Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise, so you're out of luck. It's a pity, because RDP is much more efficient over poor connections than VNC (the backbone of CrossTalk and most other remote desktop tools).
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:31 PM on March 18, 2013

is it worth it to upgrade?
posted by DaftMythic at 10:07 PM on March 18, 2013

Hard to say - depends how slow the connection will be, how important remote desktop access is, how much of a financial hit the upgrade will be etc.

You could look into Windows Home Server 2011 - it's pretty cheap these days (not sure about the US, but I think about $50 minus rebates). It would give you the ability to access files (even stream video) via a webpage and with a bit of port forwarding you could RDP into it and from there do all the task management & proxy browsing you wanted. Obviously this would involve dual-booting it with Win7 so as not to lose your install of 7 for when you return. Just something to look into.

I should say this is not my area of expertise - you might want to ask in some more specialised forums to be sure you're going down the right path.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:55 AM on March 19, 2013

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