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Below are the resources i have: 1) Desktop(No Wireless card) 2) Internet Connection with wireless router 3) Laptop with wireless card

My Question: If i choose to connect desktop to Internet via wired connection and laptop via wireless connection, Can i control my desktop from laptop..

Purpose: I want to use my desktop for downloading movies and i want to control this from laptop..

Operating System: Ubuntu

NOTE: I have only one Internet connection..

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operating system? – RJFalconer Jan 8 '11 at 13:47
Forgot to include the information..I am using Ubuntu – ram Jan 8 '11 at 13:59

This is something that Linux is especially good's against Microsoft's business model to include remote login with their stuff, so people end up using crap like "gotomypc" or whatever they call it now.

Ranting aside, the traditional solution would be ssh. With it, you can run individual applications seamlessly on different machines. However, it sounds like you want the entire desktop environment. The solution for this is under System > Preferences > Remote Desktop (on the desktop computer). You'll want to check "Allow other users to view your desktop" and "Allow other users to control your desktop". The yellow box will then tell you whether you can get to the computer from the entire internet or just your local network. You'll also want to uncheck "You must confirm each access to this machine" and check "Require the user to enter this password:" (along with putting in a password) and "Configure network automatically to accept connections". That should about do it for the desktop.

With the laptop, connect to the address mentioned in the yellow box. It should be your local address (usually starts with "192.168" or "10.0") if you're on the lan or your external address (you can see it here: if you're connecting across the internet and you've set up port forwarding on your router (I can help with this if you need it). You'll want to go to "Applications > Internet > Remote Desktop Viewer", click connect, switch the dropdown box at the top to "VNC", and put the address from the yellow box in the address entry field. Then tell it to connect and enter the password you put in when you were setting up the desktop. That should be it...

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Huh. Interesting. Then why is it I use Remote Desktop on most of my Windows systems? – Daniel Beck Jan 8 '11 at 14:23
@Daniel Beck: Indeed. Remote Desktop is terrific: I use it on all my Windows systems, and have never had to install it on any of them. I don't know what marcusw is talking about here. I've used VNC and other similar software and they all seem flaky to me. – boot13 Jan 8 '11 at 14:53
VNC works fine for me...even across the open net (just be sure to tunnel it through SSH). As for RDP, it's a Microsoft protocol and these tend to have security problems. Speaking purely from historical data and experience. It of course has linux clients and servers available, but VNC is far more popular, not to mention being an open and extensible standard. – marcusw Jan 8 '11 at 15:16
Security issues aside, where you don't present concrete evidence, I'd guess many users use it over a VPN connection. Regarding popularity, do you have credible sources for your statement? RDP is very common in large Windows-based installations in many companies. They're probably just not as vocal as open source advocates. And being an open standard is only worth so much -- for mid- to long-term document storage, the value is rather obvious, but for a rather easily replaced remote access solution? – Daniel Beck Jan 8 '11 at 17:47

Both your laptop and your desktop will be on the same local area connection (LAN).

Assuming you're using windows, you can control the PC from the laptop without the need for additional software by using Remote Desktop.

On the PC (machine you want to control)

  • Winkey+Pause (or right click "My Computer" and select properties)
  • Advanced System Settings
  • Remote tab
  • "Allow connections from computers using any version of remote desktop"

On the laptop (controlling machine)

  • Start, "mstsc"
  • Enter the name of the PC in the box and press connect
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I have windows also installed but i would like to use Ubuntu..Could tell me how to do with Ubuntu(both on desktop and laptop) – ram Jan 8 '11 at 14:00

Windows (XP, Vista, and 7) Professional and up allows Remote Desktop access for members of the Administrators and Remote Users groups.

Since you're purpose is to manage downloading movies on the desktop, you might be able to use uTorrent (Windows) or Deluge (linux) if you're using bittorrent and set up the Web UI.

EDIT: Whoops didn't check for an edit to the Operating System info before submitting. Deluge is, as I said, a bittorrent client for Linux (including Ubuntu) that you can use a Web UI with, if you're using bittorrent to download. This is also more secure than allowing your whole desktop to be opened up.

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