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Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Remote Assistance and Firewalls

I am setting up a Vista laptop for my outlaws who are going to be running on plusnet behind a Netgear DG834G. As they live several hours drive away I was hoping I might be able to use ‘remote assistance’ to fix minor things for them.
However my experience of remote assistance is from years ago when folks were using XP and dial up modems and you just had to tell the recipients to shut down their software firewall while you connected!
Now we are all sat behind NAT hardware firewalls alongside whatever security software we choose to run.
So my question is... Is it relatively easy to set up the routers so that they will allow remote assistance? And are there any security issues in doing so? Or is remote assistance now a domain / local network tool?
26 REPLIES
Nick_Russell
Grafter
Posts: 553
Registered: 10-05-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

I use Real VNC but there are also UltraVNC and Tight VNC - all free, or at least they all offer a free version.  All will involve port forwarding at the router attached to the PC you are trying to connect to.  OK but a bit of a fiddle and impossible to do remotely so you will have to travel or try and explain how to do it on the telephone.
I have recently discovered Crossloop.
See this thread...
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,58277.msg474721.html#msg474721
As I understand it this is a front end using Tight VNC (invisibly - you don't see this) via a VPN connection. It works exactly and as easily as Crossloop say. No need to register.
https://www.crossloop.com/landing.htm
The remote person just downloads the program, (do by "run" and not saving for ease of remote installation).  They have to click "Run" twice and Crossloop puts an icon on desktop.
You will need to install on both PCs but installation is so simple you can put instructions in an email.
How to do it...
http://www.crossloop.com/ipage.htm?id=download
N/A

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Remote assistance doesn't work very well remotely, for the reasons you describe.
Its possible, but you'll find the suggestions above, such as Real VNC and Tight VNC much easier to sort out.
If they have the same router hardware as yourself, you could consider setting up the relevant rules, taking a backup/export of the config file and emailing it to them.
Its pretty straightforward to perform the 'restore' action at their end - possibly easier to talk them through than router rules. Only you'll know which might be easier.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Their BB isn’t due to go live until the 10th and I am having their router delivered here  Grin
I will definitely look at these suggestions and might even be back if I run into trouble!
Thanks as always to the helpful folks on this forum.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,345
Thanks: 685
Fixes: 10
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

I've tried remote assistance on numerous occassions.
It is link:censored. I've never got it to work successfully once.
It doesn't like firewalls, routers, NAT or networks in general. Oh also, I found that when trying to use it on a network, it can sometimes crash the PC so I had to disable it.
Moderators note by James_H : Removed inappropriate language. : Please do try to keep things "family friendly"
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,574
Thanks: 3
Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

RDP works great i tis of coarse terminal server is disguise. Simply forward the port 3398  in the router.
The reason people have problems is not using the right client as MS keep changing it so if your on XP and try and connect to Vista then you get problems as its a different version. You can download Vista version for XP and it works fine.
The best tool is Dameware from http://www.dameware.com/
you get so many other tools for remote admin and there mini remote is great as you can install it remotely
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Thanks Sam I will take a look at that as well.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,345
Thanks: 685
Fixes: 10
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Quote from: samuria
RDP works great i tis of coarse terminal server is disguise. Simply forward the port 3398  in the router.
The reason people have problems is not using the right client as MS keep changing it so if your on XP and try and connect to Vista then you get problems as its a different version. You can download Vista version for XP and it works fine.
The best tool is Dameware from http://www.dameware.com/
you get so many other tools for remote admin and there mini remote is great as you can install it remotely

Actually for RDP it's port 3389 mate Wink
RDP and Remote Assistance do both use RDP but they work slightly differently (as I'm sure you're aware). RA doesn't like networks in the slightest and I've also noticed it has problems wit domain resolution.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Time to start resuscitating remoteassist.me.uk
I had given up on it when UtralVNC changed revision and the old SC would not work. And dad got a fixed IP address, so I could set it up properly with port forwarding.
Chilly
notheruser
Grafter
Posts: 139
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

"RA doesn't like networks in the slightest " - really? Have you ever managed to get it to work without a network?  Grin
Remote Assistance, Remote Desktop, Terminal Services - all work fine across WAN's and LAN's, and cope very well with port translation etc. provided you know what you're doing. If the far-end user doesn't need to see what you're doing (or you'd prefer that they don't) Remote Desktop Connection is a great way of taking control of a remote machine. I do this regularly across all sorts of links, from low bandwidth ADSL links up to Gigabit LAN's, and it works fine. Selecting the correct options under "Local Resources" allows you to print from the remote machine to your local printer, or access your local drives from the remote machine to copy over drivers and utilities etc.
In work we quite often use NetGear routers at ADSL sites, and use port mapping so that one IP address can be used to allow connections to multiple machines. Simply map port 3389 external to 3389 on internal PC1, external port 3390 to 3389 on internal PC2, external 3391 to 3389 on internal PC3 etc. Then in the Remote Desktop connection screen, put the external IP address of the router, followed by the appropriate port number. (E.g. 192.168.1.100:3391 to manage PC3) (And yes I do know that 192.168.1.100 is not a legitimate external address - it's just for illustration purposes! Smiley )
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,880
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

PJ, I think there's 2 versions of hamachi - from this linky
Quote
Use LogMeIn Hamachi for free – provide your small business a remote access solution that is secure, easy, and enhances business performance.
Hamachi is currently available for Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista. Console versions of Hamachi are also available for Linux and OS X.
Hamachi installers support incremental upgrades. If you have a version of Hamachi already installed on your computer, just run the installer and it will update the program files and retain your Hamachi setup.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,345
Thanks: 685
Fixes: 10
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Quote from: notheruser
"RA doesn't like networks in the slightest " - really? Have you ever managed to get it to work without a network?  Grin
Remote Assistance, Remote Desktop, Terminal Services - all work fine across WAN's and LAN's, and cope very well with port translation etc. provided you know what you're doing. If the far-end user doesn't need to see what you're doing (or you'd prefer that they don't) Remote Desktop Connection is a great way of taking control of a remote machine. I do this regularly across all sorts of links, from low bandwidth ADSL links up to Gigabit LAN's, and it works fine. Selecting the correct options under "Local Resources" allows you to print from the remote machine to your local printer, or access your local drives from the remote machine to copy over drivers and utilities etc.
In work we quite often use NetGear routers at ADSL sites, and use port mapping so that one IP address can be used to allow connections to multiple machines. Simply map port 3389 external to 3389 on internal PC1, external port 3390 to 3389 on internal PC2, external 3391 to 3389 on internal PC3 etc. Then in the Remote Desktop connection screen, put the external IP address of the router, followed by the appropriate port number. (E.g. 192.168.1.100:3391 to manage PC3) (And yes I do know that 192.168.1.100 is not a legitimate external address - it's just for illustration purposes! Smiley )

Bit of a difference between Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance though mate. They are not exactly the same though they do indeed share the same protocol. I am well aware of how to setup port forwarding aswell.
As I've said above, I've tried using it numerous times and it has always gone pear shaped - Not just on my PCs but on other peoples too.
Thankyou for the criticism. Next time though, I'd suggest you come around to my place and witness it not working before trying to make me look daft.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Thanks for all the advice. In the end I went for the line of least resistance and set up a free logmein.com account. I downloaded the client on to the target machine and it worked like a charm. Just for extra security I will disable the client after use and get the outlaws to enable it when they need support.
Peace be with you my children.
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,473
Thanks: 1,477
Fixes: 17
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Seems to me to be a lot of fuss about nothing! !.... If it is only "minor things" you may have to fix, then surely if they are on broadband, and you are on broadband, if you are both using the same system, and have the same program running at the same time, the easiest way would be to get on the phone, and talk them thru the problem,  that way they would learn how to "fix minor problems" by your teaching them !....
Wink  Anything major, and it might be just worth your while having a "social visit" at the weekend! ! !... Embarrassed Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Remote Assistance and Firewalls

Shutter, if it is fuss about nothing then why bother to interrupt the thread?
Your comments add nothing of value to the discussion and clearly you do not understand the difficulty of supporting silver surfers with their first computer from 200 miles away. Thanks again to all those who offered constructive comment.