Windows provides many avenues for accessing one PC from another across the Internet. If you’re a road warrior armed with a laptop, you may be delighted by these features. If you’re a corporate employee who used to think you could escape the office by going home, you may not.
In any case, each of these remote access features requires a good deal of setup and some scavenging through the technical underbrush, and each offers slightly different benefits and drawbacks. But when you’re in Tulsa and a spreadsheet you need is on your PC in Tallahassee, you may be grateful to have at least one of these systems in place.
And besides—if you’re connecting to PCs at your corporate office, your corporate IT people have probably already done all the hard work of getting the computers at work set up for you to connect to them from home or the road.
The two most common scenarios for using these remote access features are: (a) controlling your home PC remotely using a laptop, and (b) connecting to your office network from your PC at home. To help you keep the roles of these various computers straight, the computer industry has done you the favor of introducing specialized terminology:
The host computer is the home-base computer—the unattended one that’s waiting for you to connect.
The remote computer is the one you’ll be using: your laptop on the road, for example, or your home machine (or laptop) when you tap into the office network. ...