I know there’s far easier ways to do this, but I’ve always wanted to know how
to connect to my home PC using just my IP (which I can ping and it’s alive) and
connect to launch Remote Desktop via DOS or whatever means, so that I can have
that rich and gooey experience. This would be a cool function for use later
down the road when I maybe forget to enable Remote Desktop.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #5, I explain how Remote Desktop works and give several software
recommendations. We also explore what it is you are actually pinging when you
try to ping your IP address from a remote computer and why your router would block any access through that IP.
The short answer is, if you don’t have Remote Desktop enabled on the target machine that you’re trying to connect to, I don’t know of a way to enable it remotely. That’s a security feature.
You don’t want somebody to be able to come in and randomly enable Remote Desktop on your machine. Not to mention that actually going to your machine also requires that you set up some kind of port forwarding on your router. For example, you indicated that you can ping using your IP, which is great, but chances are that it’s not your computer that’s responding. It’s your router.
Your internet IP address is actually the IP address of your router. The router then handles making sure that the right PC gets the date, if in fact it’s a valid data communication.
The short answer is I really don’t think that there’s a lot of luck going down the path you want to go.
An easier way to access your computer
As you indicated, there are far, far easier ways to do this and I’m going to suggest two of them. One is a utility called TeamViewer. It is free for personal use, expensive for corporate use. What you end up doing is installing it on the PC you want to connect to and it just runs. It starts automatically when you start Windows and then, using TeamViewer on a remote computer (which can be a PC; it can be a Mac; I’ve used it on my Android phones and tablets), you connect. It handles all of the magic of getting through the router and making sure that the right PC is actually connected to it at the remote end.
Another utility in that same vein is something called LogMeIn.
They’re the folks who purchased Hamachi a while back, but they have similar technology, that again I believe is free for personal use, not quite as expensive for corporate use, that allows you to do essentially the same thing. You install LogMeIn on the computer that you want to connect to and then you can connect to it from any PC you have on the road.
LogMeIn has another scenario where, if you actually have two people involved (in other words, you get a call from a friend who wants your help supporting their computer), you can actually set up a session on the fly without having pre-installed anything.
They do something on their computer to start the software; you do something on your computer to connect to the software, and it allows you to make a dynamic remote desktop connection even if remote desktop isn’t running. But, like I said, somebody needs to be at the computer who is authorized to turn on that remote access software.
So those are the kinds of solutions that I would strongly suggest that you look into instead of any kind of direct IP connection on your own.