If you opt to set up your host computer to use Remote Desktop instead of a standard direct-dial or VPN connection, dialing into it from your remote offers some spectacular advantages. When you use Remote Desktop, you’re not just tapping into your home computer’s network—you’re actually bringing its screen onto your screen. You can run its programs, print on its printers, “type” on its keyboard, move its cursor, manage its files, and so on, all by remote control.
Remote Desktop isn’t useful only when you’re trying to dial into the office or reach your home computer from the road; it even works over an office network. You can actually take control of another computer in the office—to troubleshoot a novice’s PC without having to run up or down a flight of stairs, perhaps, or just to run a program that isn’t on your own machine.
If you do decide to use Remote Desktop over the Internet, the requirements are the same as they are for a VPN connection. That is, the host computer must be connected to the Internet when you try to access it, and it must have a fixed, registered IP address.
Windows XP Pro contains the software that lets you create both ends of the Remote Desktop connection: the host (server) piece and remote (client) piece.
As noted earlier, the remote PC can be running any version of Windows all the way back to 95. To install the Remote Desktop Connection client on one of these other operating systems, insert the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM into the drive. ...