Remote Desktop to Mac
March 17, 2006 10:01 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to remotely access a Mac computer from a Windows machine?

I have a G5 iMac, and a Dell laptop. I would like to view and use my Mac desktop on my Dell laptop. I have tried VNC, but it ran very slow (over 54g airport wireless).

Are VNC servers for the Mac different, and is there a specific one I should use? Is there a different solution to VNC that I should consider for doing this? Basically, I have all of my e-mail, etc. on the Mac, and would like to access this from my Dell laptop. I don't need to copy data back and forth, just access what is on the Mac.
posted by benjh to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are some things you can do with VNC to make it faster, like lowering the screen resolution or colors.

Alternatively, why not use shared folders ftp or shell access to get to your data?
posted by empath at 10:06 AM on March 17, 2006

Quick search brings up a suggestion that Timbuktu might be the program you want.

Could also try Bosco's Screen Share, but I think that requires that you have someone at the keyboard of the remote system to OK the logon attempt (meant at sharing for troubleshooting purposes more than anything else).

I thought I saw a tutorial somewhere a few months ago, but from what I remember it was probably a VNC setup how-to.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:10 AM on March 17, 2006

Don't use Bosco's as it's good only for short help sessions.

As Empath says, the key is to find the right settings in VNC. These are usually set in the client rather than on the server For one, change the screen colors that are passed to 256. That means you can leave the computer display settings alone, but after you adjust this in the client, VNC will be passing much less data. For another, use a simple desktop pattern. For another, try all of the compression algorithms. I have to communicate with a coworker every once in a while via VNC. We found that Hextile was waaaay faster for our purposes than any other of the algorithms (but that's going from Windows XP to Mac OS X, so your mileage may vary; I would try them all one at a time.)

I think you'll find that Timbuktu is not much faster, once you get the VNC settings right.

For my home server, I also use VNC. It's Mac-to-Mac. I use OSXvnc 1.7.1 as the server (rather than the built-in Remote Desktop) and Chicken of the VNC as the client. It's easy to setup and works well.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2006

My friends over at LifeHacker had an awesome tutorial about this located here.

That should answer all your questions, the link is pretty thourough. I didn't get around to using it, as I just sold my last Windows PC this week, finally giving Windows the boot 2 years after I promised that I would.
posted by plaidrabbit at 10:24 AM on March 17, 2006

There aren't any radically better solutions. VNC (etc) just doesn't work well over wireless. Switch your email to IMAP and access it that way.
posted by cillit bang at 12:02 PM on March 17, 2006
posted by DrtyBlvd at 12:36 PM on March 17, 2006

DrtyBlvd must be making some kind of conceptual joke. GoToMyPC does not work with Macs. (Not that you can learn that from their website...)
posted by lodurr at 1:17 PM on June 29, 2006

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