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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm looking for a better solution than the two I have tried already.

    In order to support my elderly parent who barely understands how to turn a computer on, I need an application that will monitor and report changes in her WAN-facing IP address so that, when it changes, I can still Remote Desktop into her system.

    I'm currently using a program called IPWatcher from GearBox Computers. It has an option to report IP address changes either by text message or e-mail. I was never able to get the e-mail reporting feature working; probably an issue with secure login. It does, however, report by text message whenever the IP address changes. Even though this works quite well, there is some question as to the reputability of the company behind the product. Obviously, I've had to tell this software my cell phone number, and since it's been in use, I've been receiving spam text messages. Coincidence? I don't know, but I would like to eliminate them as a possible source.

    So I recently found another program called WWIP from EMC3Ware. It also reports by e-mail, which I have never got to work again, probably a secure login issue, and also has another option to FTP a file containing the IP address. I've been able to get this to work once, then it broke. In other words, reliability with this program seems to be a problem.

    Does anyone know of a program that can monitor the WAN-facing IP address of a computer, and alert whenever a change is detected? I need this to be a silence reporting agent requiring absolutely no interaction on the part of the user of the computer being monitored. Obviously I'm hoping to find one that works reliably, and if I have to offer up my cell phone number to it, that the people on the other end are not going to be selling it to every spammer they can find. OpenSource definitely a plus.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    I would suggest that you register a free domain with DynDNS. Following their instructions either load their client on her workstation or on her router if it supports it. (I know many Linksys routers have the client built in.) This will let you remote in by going to her.domain.com:3389 and the client will always keep that URL pointing to her IP address even if it changes.

    I would really suggest that instead of using RDP with the port open to the internet, you use a more secure solution such as Logmein. This client would run on her workstation and you would log in by going to your logmein account on their website, then logging into her machine from there. The free version should be all you need for basic support purposes. I have an account with about 45 machines loaded on it that I support. This solution works independent of what the IP address is and without forwarding a port to the WWW as the client makes the connection to their website directly.

  3. #3
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    Another great remote access solution, provided that the computer you want to remote access is running Vista or Windows 7, is Windows Live Mesh 2011. It will connect to the remote computer regardless of IP and the access is not made through a browser, so I do actually prefer it over Logmein. It's free and works great, the only caveat being that it's not supported on XP.
    Rui
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  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Rui,

    I have never seen that before. Does it use RDP on the remote client? (does the client have to be running business or better versions of Windows?)

    I don't really mind using a browser with logmein in most cases. There are a few places where I use RDP over VPN, however, I really do not like the security risk of opening that port to the world. One thing I really like is that if I need to manually install updates on a whole group of machines, I can open each one in a separate browser tab and start the install on each one. I can then just monitor each tab and make sure they install correctly. Beats running around to a bunch of different offices to do the job......

  5. #5
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    Hi,

    You need to be running Windows Live Mesh on both computers and you access the computer remotely through Live Mesh. You don't need to open anything on your router to make this work. I usually access my desktop at home, from my laptop, wherever I may be (usually at work) and my desktop is behind my home router, which is not forwarding any ports at all.
    The only requirement for this to work is for both computers to be running and you have them associated with your Windows Live ID. Of course, you must have allowed remote connections on Live Mesh to the computer you want to connect.

    Logmein works fine and, of course, all you need is a browser, so that works under most circumstances. However, Live Mesh allows you remote access in a way that is very similar to Remote Desktop, interface wise, without exposing any ports. I prefer it, in all circumstances where I can use it.

    You can run Live Mesh in all versions of Vista and Windows 7, AFAIK.
    Rui
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  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    @Rui - the remote computer is a Windows XP Professional box, and is too old to consider upgrading to Windows 7. I think the Live Mesh 2011 service is built upon the Remote Assistance feature of Windows Live Messenger, isn't it? I was never able to get Remote Assistance working between these two computers despite far too much time digging through TechNet and anything else I could find to try to resolve the issue. The only thing that became clear in that fiasco is that failure to make it work seems to have been a common problem. Perhaps Live Mesh 2011 will get things working a little smoother for everyone.

    @mercyh - Your answer was brilliant! The DynDNS service has an application that does exactly what I need monitors, and automatically adjusts for dynamically assigned IP addresses and has the added benefit in Remote Desktop of being able to enter a friendly URL once, rather than having to reenter the IP address whenever it changes. It worked immediately, and flawlessly with Remote Desktop. As I love a good backup service in case one fails, I went ahead and registered and installed the LogMeIn service as well. It, too, worked immediately and flawlessly, albeit at a reduced color depth in the browser. No big deal. So thank you for the outstanding suggestions!

  7. #7
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    Hi Thomas,

    Seems the other options are better for you, even more so because Windows Live 2011 is not available for XP. Think it's a way for MS to force users to upgrade .

    Anyway, glad you got your IP issue sorted .
    Rui
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I find it easier to do remote support using Logmeinfree at www.logmeinfree.com. Simply create an account, have you parent log in with your userid and password, have him click on add computer and you should be home free. you will no longer have to monitor IP addresses or worry about router interference. I have 11 different family and friends computers in my account that I provide support for. Works with XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

    Jerry

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