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I'll be leaving for uni soon and would like to know the different methods of connecting remotely to my home pc.

I know about VPN but are there any other ways? Also how secure is each of this method as I wouldn't want snoopers on my home-pc especially when I'm away.

Also can i set up a remote connection to start and shut down my computer

My operating system is windows, but if linux is more secure i would be willing to switch.

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when i was at Uni i used Kermit. i recommend a reeeeeally long RS232 cable. – quack quixote Jan 20 '10 at 20:23
up vote 6 down vote accepted

A VPN is essential, since only this option will provide you with a secure connection at no cost. With that, your next task is consider what kind of connection you wish.

  • Remote Desktop: If you need the benefits of controlling your computer from afar. You can launch applications and control them. Especially useful if these applications do not have a command-line interface.
  • File Sharing: If you only need to pass files between your desktop and whatever computer you are using to connect to it, Remote Desktop is unnecessary and overkill. All you will need is to enable File Sharing and share one or more of your Desktop folders.
  • Software Control: If you need a software-based unified solution for remote desktop and computer access, you can turn on to programs like Symantec PCAnywhere.
  • Web Services: You can also use one of several available web services for remote access. TeamViewer, GoToMyPC, or LogMeIn
  • Telnet/SSH: Finally, the "raw" connection is also available. Through software like PuTTY you can establish a telnet session between your distant desktop and your current computer.

Akira, provides in the comments of this post a nice link to an extensive list of applications and solutions handling Remote Control: Remote Control Applications

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incorporate to your answer, it would be pointless to start a new answer just with that link – akira Oct 25 '09 at 16:56
Nice link akira. Thanks – A Dwarf Oct 25 '09 at 17:03
+1, Temaviewer is simply the best solution. – Molly7244 Oct 25 '09 at 17:09
+1 akira for being honest and helpful :) – rzlines Oct 25 '09 at 19:50
@Molly: yes, Teamviewer is great. I recently discovered it. It's the fastest over-the-internet remove system I've used. A bit pricey ($700 or so) but you can use the free version for non commercial use. Very nice. – Clay Nichols Jan 20 '10 at 19:48

You could try It's free,web/java based and saves you having to configure ports on your firewall for RDP or VNC as it tunnels through via HTTP.

It also supports WOL (Wake up on Lan), if you can get your computer and router working to use this first. So you can sleep/hibernate your PC and it will wake it up when you connect. The non-free versions allow you to use it for file transfer and a few other features that are geared towards businesses.

It works on Mac and Windows.

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I used to do this when at Uni.

I used Ubuntu running openssh server with a long passphrase, before moving to key based auth and disallowed password entry.

I used WinSCP to copy files on and off from Windows, and the built in SCP/SSH clients in Linux.

I used to guarantee the IP address of my computer, which I set up using my router. I then forwarded the relevant ports to that PC.

I set SSH to run on a different port to 21 to minimise the number of random attacks that I was getting a day - most trying the username root with random passwords on port 21. I'd stop the root user being allowed to log in via ssh, this will help stop that happening.

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Kavoom! is also pretty good (it's very fast, almost like "being there" over our LAN). And very easy to use and setup. The previous version I had crashed occasionally, requiring a hard reboot, which was annoying. And I didn't get any response on a support email. So, YMMV. Cost is $30- $40 or so. Free trial.

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UltraVNC is what your looking for. A Dwarf and Akira have linked to it, above, (here is their link - scroll down a bit to read a very nice intro about it) but I want to specifically call out UktraVNC as your best solution.

A little reading and some setup tweaking will have you using a secure, stable, and with an active support forum, supported remote desktop application.

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