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I'm aware of how to use VNC to share screens or grant remote control of your machine over the internet by using VNC or one of the web-based "go to my pc" type services.

If two computers are connected to a router (i.e. standard home network), is there an easier way of viewing and controlling one computer from the other?

I'd like to avoid going outside the LAN, onto the internet, then back in if possible.

Both machines are Windows XP, but I'm not looking for Remote Desktop by the way.

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5 Answers

You can use TightVNC if you want to see both screens at the same time and don't mind a little input lag.

First, download and install the software. You will want to install both the server and client parts. Choose a password for security during the install. After installing, the server will open in the background and be added to the Startup list on both computers.

To open a remote connection, Open TightVNC Viewer and type in the PC name of the other computer. If you are not sure of the name, open up cmd prompt on the remote computer and type hostname. After you have entered the hostname, enter the password you entered in the install screen on the other computer and you will be sharing screens.

If you want to edit the server properties, right click on the V icon in your system status tray. Note that you can't connect through the server, you need to open the client program separately.

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Can you please expand your answer? Include instructions, download links, etc –  Canadian Luke Oct 25 '12 at 17:07
    
@Luke Thanks, I'll try to be more complete and informative in all my posts from now on. –  David Oct 26 '12 at 14:21
    
Much better, easier to up vote :-) –  Canadian Luke Oct 26 '12 at 15:02
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Another suggestion: Teamviewer. I have it on all machines in the house (XP, Fedora) and they all can control each other. They can even be run from an Android or iOS device. They all have fixed IPs assigned by the router and that avoids going outside the LAN.

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If the machine to be controlled is running a pro version of windows, you can use remote desktop (built in to windows). It is very easy to get up and running.

Otherwise, you can definitely use VNC locally without the Internet. Try tightvnc or realvnc - both available for free. Download, configure with local IP address of pc to be controlled, and done.

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VNC is a local networking protocol and requires SSL or similar security to run it over the Internet. In addition, it doesn't play nicely with routers without a bit of help - it is this help that the cloud service providers give. They keep track of your internal and external network addresses and get the internal sharing service to call out to the central host so that you don't have to configure your router.

So to do VNC on your local network, you don't need to do anything. As long as the machines are on the same subnet, you are fine. You just need to know the address of the machine you want to connect to.

VNC is not the most efficient of screen sharing protocols though and if you are only using Windows or just want to share a Windows host to any OS client, I would recommend using the Microsoft proprietary RDP protocol instead. Windows has this built in, clients are available for all platforms. The one main difference apart from improved performance, is that Windows will disconnect the local screen when a remote user connects over RDP.

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If both computers are connected to the router via cable, then one must be accessible from another and vice versa (you can check it with ping, if firewall on your computer does not block icmp requests).

If they are connected via wifi, then check how to disable wireless client isolation in your router, if it is supported and is on. If it is disabled then both computers must be available from each other via their ip addresses (assigned manually or by router's dhcp server).

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