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Windows 7: How to control PC over home network?

03 Jan 2015   #1

Win 7 Pro 64 bit
How to control PC over home network?

Not sure if this is possible but here goes:

For various reasons I need to have the (desktop) PC in one room and most of the time I will be sitting in my home office at the other end of the house in front of a monitor, mouse, keyboard and other peripherals. That's the theory.

Now my question is how can I implement that in practice. I have been struggling to find wireless DVI adaptors that offer the appropriate resolution that I need, equally I can't find wireless USB transmitters but I can find USB over cat 5/6 cable, However that would involve digging up the house to lay cables and the products I've seen don't support hubs (I have a bub with lots of gear attached in the room where I am working).

I could get a really long DVI cable and a really long USB cable but again no guarentee they will work, means drilling up the house to lay them and by the time I've costed that and done it I might as well have gone out and bought a new PC for the home study.

Am I missing something here, or can what I want to do really not be done, at least within a budget that is cheaper than getting a new PC?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2015   #2

Windows 8 x64

Have you looked at TEAMVIEWER.!! Free software for Non-Commercial use.!! I use it all the time.!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2015   #3

Win7 Enterprise, Win7 x86 (Ult 7600), Win7 x64 Ult 7600, TechNet RTM on AMD x64 (2.8Ghz)

Here is an old thread I made about TeamViewer

My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Jan 2015   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

The key point OP made is that he doesn't currently have TWO computers. This prevents using anything like TeamViewer, RealVNC, etc. since they are client/server setups that obviously require two or more computers.

There was mention only of monitor, mouse, keyboard, other peripherals in this "home office room at the other end of the house" (i.e. far distant from where the ONE computer itself is). Quite frankly, I don't understand how or why there would be monitor, mouse, keyboard and other peripherals (presumably speaker, printer, etc.) if there was not also a real computer in this home office.

Alternatively, why is there the one-and-only computer someplace else in the house if it has no associated peripherals of its own, like its own keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc.? Is that really possible? Why is this "orphan" computer elsewhere in the house if it really needed to be in the home office room in the first place?

And yet, OP later says "I might as well have gone out and bought a new PC for the home study" when calculating costs of running additional cables, etc.. So this would confirm that there isn't any actual computer in the home office. But then why would ANY computer equipment be wanted or needed there, it it wasn't also outfitted with appropriate computer also in the home office, or at least cabling of some kind to the primary computer in the other room or a home router at the very least? To what was this home office equipment expected to connect?

I'm certainly confused as to what the original layout of the home was, and honestly what the goal of the current layout is.

As has been pointed out, there are numerous setups that permit direct access from one computer to another, first and easiest when they are all present on a local network... either simply through an easy-to-build home LAN (which involves a router and also either wired ethernet cable connectivity between rooms, or alternatively wireless WiFi connectivity to the router) or even through the Internet if required.

If all that is required is simple "file and printer sharing", this can be accomplished directly through Windows networking capabilities and a basic home LAN (with either wired or wireless connectivity to networked devices). You simply "share" the drives/printers and/or specific folders you wish to make available to other machines, and then you "map" those network-shared resources on your specific machine. This gives you access to any network-based shared drives, folder, and printers, on any of the computers in the network... using Windows Explorer or any other software products that normally look for data on some drive letter.

There are also highly recommended "remote desktop" software products like TeamViewer and RealVNC which are client/server based, and which allow presenting the true desktop of a remote "host/server" machine in a window on the monitor of the "client" machine. Through this window, your local keyboard and mouse are used to actually control the remotely connected machine whose desktop is appearing in the window. These setups can be implemented either (a) locally through a LAN (with client and server software installed on each machine which is to be included in the whole "remote desktop" configuration), or (b) remotely through the Internet which allows you to connect between two machines anywhere in the world. Depending on the software used, there may also be router configuration and firewall configuration required, but the end result is to provide true full and complete "remote desktop" capability where one machine's actual Windows desktop and full access to that entire local machine appear through a desktop window on the monitor of another machine.

All of these setups clearly involves AT LEAST TWO computers, each with the proper configuration and setup and with access to LAN and/or Internet. Furthermore, if remote desktop connectivity and capability is required, then the appropriate "remote desktop" software products would need to be installed and configured on each of the machines involved in the system.

The above discussion doesn't address simply wanting to have a "remote second monitor/keyboard/mouse" in a distant location from the one-and-only computer (which already has its own primary local monitor/keyboard/mouse). It is instead talking about connecting two computers, which might either be "peers" in terms of capabilities or where one might simply be a "remote client" used to desktop-connect to the "remote host" computer, using "remote desktop" software like TeamViewer or RealVNC. This is kind of like having a remote monitor/keyboard/mouse for that primary computer, but embodied in what turns out to be a rather minimalist second computer (perhaps an inexpensive laptop acquired strictly for the purpose of this "remote desktop" connectivity to the primary computer).

OP... can you please clarify your setup, and also your expectations? What were you thinking you would achieve when you put the peripheral computer equipment in your home office but didn't also put a computer there?

What do you really want to accomplish, and then we can make suggestions for implementation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #5

Win 7 Pro 64 bit

Thanks for your detailed response. Here's why I only have ONE PC at the moment.

I have a very sophisticated gaming PC and gaming rig with three monitors and mouse. The PC cost me a small fortune and as it was so well specced I decided I would also use it as my home office PC as my business also needs a high spec machine. Originally my gaming rig and study was the same room so at one end I had a gaming simulator with multiple monitors plus PC and inputs, mouse etc. I had a desk at the other end of the room with an additional monitor. From the desk runs a 10m long USB cable and a 10m DVI cable, back to the PC the other side of the room. That way, when I'm gaming I log on to my gaming profile and sit at the gaming station, when I'm doing business I use my business logon and sit at my desk the other side of the room. As my business requires lots of numbercrunching the gaming PC with a six core i7 is just what I need.

Having moved house I can't physically have the gaming rig in the same room as the room I use for my home office. In fact it's the other end of the house up two flights of stairs.

So I am wondering if there is any way I can continue the present arrangement of having a monitor and USB hub (I have a hub on my desk to supply my "business" mouse, keyboard, scanner and other peripherals), but from another room about 30m away, preferably not involving trailing wires around the house, to save having to buy a second highly speced PC when I want to just use the original PC but from another room?

Thanks a lot!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Interesting story.

The problem would seem to be that while there exist short-distance wired solutions to your problem (i.e. when both your "office desk area" and "gaming play area" were within acceptable distance from the PC to allow a genuine "native" wired solution with long USB and DVI cables and hubs), there is no long-distance (i.e. 30M or more) wired solution that you know of that resolves everything without logistical and cosmetic problems.

And any potential wireless solution you've found comes along with limitations on DVI supported resolution that are unacceptable. And you don't want to have long wires running around inside your house (for example to run USB over ethernet), but you also don't want to invest in running wall-housed or ceiling-housed or outside-run cables of any kind.

Now I understand you don't want to spend a fortune on a second high-spec machine for your home office when you really could get along just fine with your existing single machine if only you could get to it from the home office peripherals.

Interesting objectives. You're certainly going to need some new hardware, no matter what. But there are some very useful "raw materials" you might consider choosing from.

First, you should probably resolve getting ethernet capability (either wired or wireless or both) to your home office, as the first order of business. This would open up lots of additional options now and down the road, as ethernet connectivity (to your router/modem, and then out to the Internet) in that room allows pretty much open-ended generic connectivity between all of the ethernet-enabled devices in your home. This includes not only computers, but also phones, TV's, game/disc players, etc. Can't ever hurt to have ethernet capability in a room.

If you haven't pre-wired ethernet cables to a room, and you don't want to do it now, you can still bring wired ethernet capability to that room using the right "gizmo".

(1) If you have an old 75ohm cable coax screw-on wall connector in that room (as many older places were frequently "wired for coax cable", which is the modern version of running a 300ohm roof TV antenna cable) where the other end of the coax is in the vicinity of the router, you can get a pair of "ethernet over coax" gizmos (which also serve as 2x100 10/100 switches, to instantly support up to two wired ethernet-enabled devices) to bring 10/100 wired ethernet connectivity to that room across the run of coax. This is good for up to 1000 feet.

(2) Since virtually all rooms have 120V A/C power sockets on the walls, you can also get a pair of "ethernet over powerline" gizmos (from lots of different vendors) that make use of the copper wiring in your walls that brings electricity to each room. Inevitably there will be a nearby power socket near the router and a nearby power socket in your home office room which can be used for the job. These devices are a bit more susceptible to external factors like maybe whether the copper wiring runs through circuit breakers or is a "straight run" between the pair of wall sockets being used. Also, these devices are limited to 10/100 speeds and typically only have a single ethernet port so they can connect to only a single wired ethernet device. You'll have to add an ethernet switch to the home office end if you want to support more than one wired ethernet connection for multiple devices you'd like to get onto the network.

(3) If you want to provide wireless connectivity to the remote location where the primary router's wireless signal just doesn't make it acceptably, you can add "wireless range extenders" scattered around the house. These are simply "WiFi signal boosters" for the WiFi network of the primary wireless router.

(4) Or, you can add secondary "wireless access points (WAP)" (which need to have a wired ethernet connection to the primary router, either through a true ethernet cable or through one of the two above "gizmo arrangements" I described above) to provide secondary and independent wireless networks throughout your house. These almost always also include built-in 4x100Mb switch technology, and since one of those ports is already in use (wired-connected to the router) the other three ports are available for other wired device connections in the vicinity of the WAP. All wired or wireless devices connected through the WAP (and then passed on to the primary router through the wired connection) are managed by the primary router, and appear to be "wired" rather than "wireless" (even if they are wirelessly connected to the WAP) in the router's list of "attached devices".

So, once you have provided ethernet connectivity from the home office to the router (and by implication, to the modem and thus also to the Internet), you now can consider a relatively inexpensive laptop (as opposed to a high-spec expensive desktop machine) as your "remote workstation" in the home office. You don't need to use it as your real "office computer" unless you want to, but you can now use it for "remote desktop" connection to your primary machine through either TeamViewer or RealVNC or similar tools.

Shopping wisely for a laptop that provides the graphics adapter resolution which would be acceptable for you, you can plug your existing external monitor as well as your external mouse and keyboard to the laptop. Or, you can invest in a docking station to make the interconnects, but surely the laptop itself should be able to be connected to directly.

So now you have your existing home office monitor, keyboard, and mouse, connected to the laptop which is connected through ethernet to your router (and by implication also to your other high-spec PC also on the LAN). Remote peripherals like printers, scanners, etc., can be network connected as well, either locally supported via USB to and hosted by whichever computer is nearest and has available USB ports, or simply just added to the network via their wired/wireless ethernet connectivity ports... now that you have wired/wireless ethernet capability in the home office room (without digging up your floors and walls, but by using an appropriate pair of "gizmos" to deliver that ethernet connectivity).

You can use the "remote desktop" software and your home office monitor/keyboard/mouse and open a full-screen "window" on the office screen, which is actually the true Windows desktop from your high-spec machine. You will be simply using the office as a remote location with suitable human interface peripherals, for working on the high-spec machine. The laptop is simply the hardware tool which allows the TeamViewer/VNC software needed to run, as well as using the gizmo-provided ethernet connectivity to get to the high-spec machine. So the laptop really doesn't need to do much (unless you decide you want to), other than provide the level of USB and graphics adapter capability you need for the devices which will plug into it.

I didn't say this would be free. But it is definitely possible, given purchase of the right new equipment. And it would avoid running new cables of any kind between the home office room and the primary router and high-spec PC.

Your existing PC would still be your one real work machine "server". The laptop is just a "client interface" to the "server" to facilitate a full-screen remote desktop image of the "server".

Is this reasonable?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #7

Windows 7 Pro

Buy a used laptop with some decent specs (around $150 max). Run Remote Desktop over your home network when you need to do work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by doctore View Post
Buy a used laptop with some decent specs (around $150 max). Run Remote Desktop over your home network when you need to do work.
Ironically, I completely forgot to mention this true RDP "official MS Windows remote desktop" alternative (along with TeamViewer and RealVNC, among other 3rd-party products)!

Yes, that would also work perfectly well once the second computer is established. Again, the second computer (e.g. an average laptop) is simply providing the interface to also-connected external human interface peripherals plugged into the laptop like external monitor, keyboard and mouse (so you wouldn't need to be hampered by the small laptop itself). Unlike TeamViewer and VNC which present a window on the client machine, while also allowing a human working at the server machine to simultaneously have "shared" use of the separate local keyboard/mouse and monitor, RDP actually takes full control of the host machine and transfers it to the client machine. No shared 2-party arrangement (which of course is very useful for "remote tech support" applications) with RDP. You're just truly driving the remote host server machine by yourself but from your local client (e.g. laptop plus external devices).

Anyway, all of these options are available once (a) you get ethernet connectivity to the home office room, and (b) you buy a modest laptop (or even a modest desktop machine, since the external monitor, keyboard and mouse are already present in the home office).

So in fact, why even pay for a relatively expensive laptop when you really only need a very modest desktop machine which is less expensive than a laptop). All the other required peripherals are already owned and available for either laptop or desktop connection.

Any of these configurations allow you to truly do work on the big server/host machine, using whatever entry devices are present in the home office room, through the magic of ethernet and wired/wireless connectivity to the router.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #9

Win 7 Pro 64 bit

DSPerber, some really helpful suggestions there.

I downloaded Teamviewer, installed it on my power desktop PC and laptop. Then I remoted in (verb???) to the power PC from the laptop. As the laptop was sitting next to the desktop I popped a VGA from the monitor into the laptop and was able to watch on the desktop monitor and swap to DVI which was the video signal from desktop to monitor. Local area connection is via powerlines.

So far so good, a really clever video was way way too laggy, like a difference of several seconds between sound and video. Unfortunately that's going to be a dealbreaker for me, especially as the video I watch the most of is musical performance and it just isn't on to see piano notes being played several seconds before or after hearing them.

By swapping to DVI and plugging speakers into the desktop again I was able to see that video and audio were properly synchronised.

So it sounds like the Teamviewer option is just not feasible sadly. Nice idea though.

I guess it's therefore either back to spending $$$ on superlong cables which will be routed through the house in the hope they will still give a signal at the other end; or buying a second desktop machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2015   #10

Windows 7 Pro

Any particular reason you refuse to use Remote Desktop over wifi??

Lots of people stream videos over wifi these days, you should have no issues, and considering you already have a laptop - it's a no brainer to use RD...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to control PC over home network?

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