Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to connect to a remote computer with a click (VNC Step By Step)


A few years ago I sent some files to a client by email, and I spent 3 hours over the phone trying to explain to him how to copy those files to C:\Program Files. Eventually I gave up. It would be faster for me to drive all the way to his office, do it myself, and return all the way. That's exactly what I did, but I also installed a secured VNC server so next time I won't have to drive.
After that I began to install a VNC server everywhere - my grandma who always asks for help, the media center in the living room, a virtual machine, my remote server, ...
I use it very often so it must be comfortable to use.

There are a few things to do: installation, opening ports, configuring dns, creating vnc file

1. Download VNC
You can get the free edition from here:
Please note that this version has no encryption (it has a password though), so if security is really important you should get the full version.

2. Install
Install the VNC Viewer on your computer, and the VNC Server on the remote computer.
In the end of the Server installation, set a password:

3. Open port 5900 on the Server side
Most people have routers that block incoming connections. You need to open port 5900 on the Server side (TCP if you were wondering).
First, let's be smart and check whether it's already opened:
If the port is blocked, you may need to access your router and open it. This site has detailed explanation for doing this for every router in the world:
Note: If you are not allowed or can't open ports on the Server side then you can use the "Listening mode" viewer, but then the rest of this post doesn't help you.

4. Test it
On the Server side find the IP address:
On the Client side open VNC Viewer, enter the Server's IP address, and click OK:

You will be asked for a password. You should enter the password from Step 2 above.
If everything went OK you should now see the Server's desktop inside a window on the Client side. If you get an error message, try googling it.

5. Create DNS
Why? Because usually the Server's IP address can change. If it's static you can skip to Step 8.
Go to: and create a new account.
Add a new host; don't mind the IP for now:

6. Update DNS
Download and install DynDNS Updater on the Server side.
During the installation I advise on DISABLING "Internet Guide":
You will be asked for your account's username and password. Then select the host you added earlier and click OK:

Note: Some routers have this feature built in. I know some of the D-Links have it for example. Use can use it instead of the DynDNS Updater, but you should do it only if you know what you are doing. Example of this feature on my D-Link router:

7. Test it
On the Client side open VNC Viewer, enter the host address, and click OK:
Again, if you are asked for the password, enter it (the one from Step 2). You should get a window with the Server's desktop. Don't close it, we need it for the next step.

8. Save Connection
If you didn't connect to the Server do it now. Right-click the top of the window and click on "options":
In the new window click the "Load / Save" tab and then "Save As...":
Choose a location (e.g. your Desktop) and a name (e.g. "My Remote Server") and save it. You will probably get the following screen:
It's your choice whether to click Yes or No.
If you click No you will have to type in the password each time you want to connect.
If you click Yes, then everything is automatic (no need to type password). Well, the message is pretty accurate: "it's more convenient, but...".
Explanation: If you click yes you will have automatic access to the remote computer. So if someone gains access to your computer, then he will have access to the remote computer as well.
My advice is to click Yes for your Media Center, local server or grandma, but to click No for business computer or something important.

9. That's it!
Go to the location of the file you saved earlier and open it:

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