You’re sitting in your office at work, staring at your computer monitor, when you suddenly remember a document you left on your home computer. You could run home, put it on a flash drive, and run it back up to work, but you don’t have time. This is why remote access has become so popular.
Remote access allows you to connect to your home computer from work, or between any other machines enabled for this type of connection. You can access computers remotely using many different types of software programs, and some operating systems even have this functionality built in.
In order to access your home computer from work, in most cases, you must first:
1. Make sure both computers are on. If you are accessing files through a synched cloud computing program this might not be an issue. However, if you are trying to access the desktop of your home computer from work, the host computer (at home) must be turned on.
2. Ensure the computers are compatible If you are using remote access via a Windows operating system, for example, the two versions of Windows must be compatible. You can use a computer with Windows Vista to connect to a computer with Windows XP, but the reverse isn’t true if you’re using the built-in functionality.
3. Install necessary software. You might have to purchase remote access software to access your home computer from work. Alternatively, your employer might provide this software to you for free. Regardless, both computers must be equipped with the software the make a connection.
4. Enable remote access. You usually have to be an administrator on the computer in order to enable remote access, and you might have a specific port number you need to enter or other data. Check the user’s manual of your software to determine how to enable this feature.
5. Have permission. If your company has a policy against accessing your home computer remotely, you could find yourself in hot water by disobeying that rule. Make sure you are allowed to connect to an off-site computer before you attempt it; your employer might be worried about data security.
If all of these criteria are met, you’ll be able to access your home computer from work. Just remember to disable the connection whenever you are done, and to use a secure password.
Accessing Files on Your Home Computer
If you do not wish to take control of the full desktop on your home computer, you can also use cloud computing to access individual files. Programs like MobileMe and SugarSync, as well as Google Docs, allow you to store data remotely and access it from any computer with an Internet connection.
This route is generally more secure and more acceptable for the workplace. You can simply sign into your account online, download the files to your work computer, and add them back when you are done editing them.