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Windows 7: Troubleshooting Remote Access

31 Dec 2009   #1

Troubleshooting Remote Access

In a follow up to last weeks blog on Understanding and set up of Remote Access to Windows Home Server, Sean Daniel, Program Manager for Windows Home Server, has provided further information on potential issues that you may experience when setting up your Remote Access, and how to solve the problem.

Once you finish setting up your remote access through Windows Home Serverís Wizard, a final screen will be shown.  In a perfect world, when you click on Details youíll see all green checks once you have finished this wizard.  However, because there are three components (the home server, the ISP and the router), sometimes there is a snag in the setup. Here is an example of a working domain name with sample data:

The first check-box will actually check to make sure you have an outbound connection. This will ensure it can connect to the specific service at The second one ensures that Windows Live has your most recent IP address. The 3rd item makes a call to the router via UPnP to ensure the ports are open, and finally, the 4th item, was the specific check added in Power Pack 2. This sends your IP address to a Microsoft server in the cloud which attempts to load your public webpage on port 80 (it does not attempt to log in or anything). You will get an ďXĒ here if the service on the internet cannot get to the website.

If all the pieces are working, youíre remote access website should be live on the Internet, if all the pieces arenít working youíll probably get a red ďXĒ on this page, letís talk about where to start looking.

Troubleshooting Remote Access

There are a number of things you can do to validate and pin-point why your remote access isnít working. Letís talk about a few of the more common ones:

(1) Your ISP does not give you a public IP address to your home

In order for Home Server to be on the Internet, it needs a publicly routable IP address from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can tell this by logging into your router and going to the STATUS page. The WAN (or Wide Area Network) IP address should not start with 192.x.x.x, or 10.x.x.x. If it does, then the home server will not be accessible from the Internet, and you should call your ISP to obtain a publicly routable IP address

(2) You have multiple routers in your home

Sometimes with the low cost of routers verses access points, itís possible that you have two routers in your home. A router is designed to protect the external network from the internal network. If there are two of these in the home, the home network is broken into two different subnets, and if the home server is on the internal network, its calls to UPnP will only take effect on the router closest to it, while the change would need to be made on both routers, or optimally, there should only be one router on the network, and the additional pieces of hardware added to the network would be wireless access points, or network switches.

(3) UPnP is disabled, or does not conform to UPnP standards

UPnP behaves slightly differently between different router models, and in some cases, might be disabled all together. If this is the case, the Home Server will be unable to make the appropriate changes on the router and you will need to manually make these changes. To do this, you will need to give your server a DHCP reservation in the router (such that it always gets the same IP address), and then manually setting up the port mappings for 80, 443, and 4125. Do not put the home server in the DMZ, as only these 3 ports are needed. If the Home Server is in the DMZ for the router, it can cause connectivity issues inside the network. The Microsoft MVP community has put together a webpage on how to manually configure may of the most common routers.

(4) Your Domain Name is not setup

In rare cases, your domain name may fail to be set up, you can confirm this by going to a command prompt and typing in nslookup. Once inside nslookup, type in your domain name (e.g., it should return with an IP address (e.g. Compare this IP address to that of your routerís status page for WAN IP, they should be the same. If the nslookup doesnít return an IP address and instead returns ďnon-existent domainĒ, then you should run the repair on the home server console and try again.

Thatís the basics, there is definitely more to learn about networking in general and we can go deeper under the covers. You can always get help on the Windows Home Server Forums. Additionally, I run my own blog that touches on home and small business related technologies at


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