Windows XP Professional provides a long list of avenues for dialing into one PC from another. 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 that 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.
The two most common scenarios for using these remote access features are (a) dialing your home PC using a laptop and (b) dialing into 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—and learning these terms now will help keep your brain from tying itself in knots:
The host computer is the home-base computer—the one that’s sitting there, waiting for you to connect to it. It could be your office computer (you’ll dial into it from home), or your home computer (you’ll dial into it from your laptop on the road).
The remote computer is the one that will do the dialing: your laptop on the road, for example, or your home machine when you tap into the office network. ...