How can I access a school computer from home?
January 6, 2006 1:54 PM   Subscribe

How can I access a school computer from home?

I have a computer at work. I work for the school and therefore the computer is connected to the school's network. The school network is just what I assume is a regular school network.

I want to be able to access the work computer from my house. I don't think I can just run OpenSSH and SSH in unless I could somehow forward a port on the school's network, which isn't going to be a possibility.

What I would think I'd need is for my home computer to run a server waiting for the school computer to connect to it. The school computer to, at intervals, connect to my home computer, and assuming the server is running at home, give me access. This is all just a guess, though.

Mainly all I'd need to do is transfer files, but if I could get VNC access or something like that, that would be great.

Any ideas?
posted by Anoxs to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Does your school has a VPN that you use to connect to?
posted by kuperman at 1:56 PM on January 6, 2006

Lifehacker just linked to an interesting program along these lines.
posted by Gortuk at 2:00 PM on January 6, 2006

Gortuk, that's interesting. I think I'll be checking that one out. (And also checking out grammar in my own posts next time.)
posted by kuperman at 2:03 PM on January 6, 2006

I use GoToMyPC and am grudgingly forced to admit that it is awesome. It costs a few bucks a month, but the school should be able to handle it and the system is almost entirely transparent and easy to use. You click a button on your home machine and you are suddenly looking at your office PC screen, able to access all resources on it and even copy files back and forth.

It just works.
posted by The Bellman at 2:06 PM on January 6, 2006

Gortuk, I was about to post that too!
posted by k8t at 2:12 PM on January 6, 2006

Depends on what you mean by access, but VNC/TightVNC can be set up to do something like this. You'll want the VNC server on your school computer. Then set up the client in listen mode on your home desktop and use vncconnect to have the server create a connection to your listening desktop.

This assume that 1. You have no trouble making arbirtrary outgoing connections from the school. 2. You can set your home firewall to forward the port.

There are other tunneling options that you could probably use that would work if you can use the school computer to inititate the tunnel to a server running on your home PC. ZeBeDee might work. Then you could tunnel other apps over it, like remote desktop (if you are running windows).
posted by Good Brain at 2:23 PM on January 6, 2006

We use GoToMyPc at work. It gets the job done. It gets the job done far better than Citrix which required all sorts of installed software and was slow, and wasn't an actual connection to my desktop, just the server. GoToMyPc lets you connect right to your very computer. Rocks!
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:41 PM on January 6, 2006

Doesn't your school have a sysadmin for this sort of questions? At my former school we could acces files via ftp or through shared network spaces in our accounts.
posted by atom128 at 2:43 PM on January 6, 2006

You'd only need to forward a port if the school computer was NATted or if incoming connections were filtered. At my university, computers aren't NATted (i.e. they have real internet IPs), but incoming connections aren't filtered. If your school isn't so locked down, you may be able to just connect to your work computer's IP.
posted by zsazsa at 2:54 PM on January 6, 2006

Having been a sysadmin for a large university, I would highly recommend seeking out your sysadmin and getting their blessing, otherwise you may very well suffer the wrath of said sysadmin.
posted by zerokey at 3:00 PM on January 6, 2006

My office uses LogMeIn for this very purpose. I've never used any other program of this kind, so I don't have much of a frame of reference, but it works very well. we use it with approval of the network admin, though. I don't know how an average user could have made something like this work otherwise, because there were some access-related settings that had to be set up before we could use it.
posted by boomchicka at 3:06 PM on January 6, 2006

If you can route on your home network you can use reverse tunneling. Set up dynamic dns (I used to us and for this for free, but it has been a while) on your home network, initiate a conection from work, and when you get home, you can ssh back into the school connection over this tunnel. Then you can initiate file transfers from the school computer, or set up the tunnel with X-forwarding and run the programs at work with the display set to your home computer.
posted by mzurer at 4:57 PM on January 6, 2006

If all you need to do is accesss files, then FolderShare is probaably your best and easiest bet. It works verh well, even firewalled, to keep up to 10,000 files less than 100MB each automatically mirrored between/among multiple machines. It also allows secure HTTP access to any of those files from any web browser. If you can open specific ports, there's no 100MB size restriction. And it's free!
posted by slookdog at 7:30 PM on January 6, 2006

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