What type of software do I need to accomplish this?
March 28, 2013 6:20 AM   Subscribe

I have a server running at home. I would like to connect to that server via web browser, and upon login, I would like Quicken (or some other single, predetermined application) to appear and be usable. I don’t want to be able to access any other parts of the computer via the browser. What software do I need to accomplish this?

I know I could use remote desktop, but I'm paranoid about leaving that port open to the internet, and remote desktop would give me access to everything; I don’t want that. (I know some port would need to be open, but prefer to use some software that then limits access beyond the desired application.)

Years ago at a former company I accessed a piece of software in this fashion. It basically turned a desktop application into something accessible via the web. Is this scenario even possible/easy to implement?
posted by Arbitrage1 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It wouldn't be any more secure than rdp, and I can't imagine anything they can do with rdp that would be worse than getting access to your quicken files.
posted by empath at 6:29 AM on March 28, 2013

Some combination of a solution like this: FreeRDP

and server-side RemoteApp bundling (assuming Server2008 with RD server roles) would probably get you close.

A limited user/environmental attribute would help with security.
posted by whittaker at 6:32 AM on March 28, 2013

The thing you remember from long ago is probably Citrix, which provides a remote desktop on a server that is configured to provide a limited set of applications for you to run. This would require actual IT engineering to accomplish, as opposed to something that you slap together at home without technical knowledge.

Citrix also makes GoToMyPC for the home/small office market. You may be able to do something with this (the connection is mediated through Citrix, I think, so you shouldn't be leaving a port open on your router), but will cost you some amount of money.

Alternatively, you can set up a VPN at home, and run remote desktop over that. A proper VPN should be more secure than an open RDP port.
posted by chengjih at 6:37 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know that I can set up remote desktop protocols connections, but it's much easier for someone else to do it for me. I personally use TeamViewer (free, with a nag screen on logout), and have also used LogMeIn Free in the past.

TeamViewer lets me connect to my PC from any other PC, and even has apps for iOS and Android that you can use for free.
posted by dobi at 6:58 AM on March 28, 2013

If it's Win 2008 Server you might be able to use remote app.
posted by white_devil at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2013

In Windows 7 you can set up Parental Controls for a given user account. This allows you to limit which applications the user can access.

So, in theory you could set up an account where only Quicken could be used. The program seems to list just about every executable in Windows, however, so it may take some time to figure out which programs are needed to run Quicken smoothly.
posted by woodman at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2013

A reasonable compromise between not exposing your whole PC remotely, and using something straightforward like RDP might be to run Quicken in a VirtualBox (or VMware) and only expose that remotely. Other possibilities might include tunnelling through a (machine acting as a) firewall - could could use OpenVPN, SSH, or simply running RDP on a more obscure port.
posted by dirm at 10:24 AM on March 28, 2013

Why don't "you" want access to everything? Is is this really for another person?

The easy way to do this would be with TeamViewer. Assuming the computer is locked when you connect, you still have to log in through Windows. You could then set up a Windows user with whatever minimal permissions you want.

TeamViewer doesn't require knocking a hole in your firewall, either.

If you're really paranoid, as an alternative you could run a virtual machine in VirtualBox or similar, and run TeamViewer in that. (on preview, dirm beat me to it)
posted by neckro23 at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2013

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