Remote desktop - 2 macs in LAN

Discussion in 'macOS' started by arnoz, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. arnoz macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2007

    I would like to remotely control 2 macs (from the same LAN - home) from the outside (mostly from my office - PC).

    • What do I need to do in system prefs on the Mac to allow remote control?
    • If I understand correctly I need two different ports for remote controlling otherwise my Airport won't "understand" which Mac I want to access. How to do that.
    • Which app would you suggest to use on a PC for remote controlling a Mac
    • How do I access a Mac from outside of my home? I set up a DynDNS account and put the information in my Airport and Mac Sharing prefs. Then what?
    • Does DynDNS work correctly with Airport? I don't understand, my modem is in bridge mode, the Airport connects through it, it has the option of dynamic host (or something similar, forgot the term) configured with my DynDNS account. A few weeks ago if I typed the address I would access the Airport. Now it won't even though I didn't change a thing.

  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Logmein is supposed to work well in this situation. I installed it on my mac and found it created an icon on my status bar. I didn't like that it did this and I decided to uninstall it. Whoa what a pain. It was a real struggle to uninstall and I seem to remember a kernel panic or 2 when I had it installed. I don't plan to try it again myself, but others have said it works well for them and they can control their mac from a pc or even from a smartphone. I didn't like Logmein but YMMV.

    Another option is "back to my mac" using Mobile Me. I can use my Mac from any Apple store. Big whoop. It really should work from any PC because there are millions of pc's versus only thousands of Macs in my area. I'd much rather be able to do it from a web browser but Apple hasn't decided to offer this just yet.

    I don't suggest leaving ports for vnc open to the 'net. On OS X, you can set vnc to use a password, in addition to screen sharing which requires a normal apple login. I have viewed my Mac from my iPod Touch using VNC. I just never bothered to do it from the internet. I was never interested in a situation where somebody on the net only has to guess my VNC password to take over my machine. Nope. I don't plan on letting that happen.
  3. arnoz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2007
    I thought of LogMeIn and other apps like this but I don't like to install these kind of apps and it seems I was right :)

    I like BTMM but doesn't work from my office PC.

    That's why I am looking for a way to control from my office PC my Macs home.
    Waht about the port? Do I have to change something if I have 2 Macs?
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    You can set it up to control one mac and then control the second mac by screen sharing from the first mac. Sorry, I don't know the ports as I have never had an interest in opening up vnc to the 'net other than through btmm.

    I did find a tutorial that lists what ports to use...
    Tightvnc offers a short summary of what ports to set up...
  5. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    You set up port forwarding on your router, and then you can adjust the port numbers. So Mac 1 is port 5900, Mac 2 is port 5901. I forget all the places you have to make these changes, but I think it's router, your preferences (sharing), and your VNC program.
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Straight VNC and port forwarding is very unsecure as most personal VNC clients connect without any level of encryption.

    It's a little complicated, but possible.

    1. Pick a primary mac. This computer needs to be on all the time. Go to and download the updater for MacOS X. Install this on the primary computer. This will automatically update the IP address with your Dyndns host name.

    2. Enable SSH (Secure shell) on the primary mac. Follow the directions here. This will create a secure tunnel between 2 computers.

    3. Forward port 22 (the default ssh port) from your router to the primary mac. If you want to be more "secure" you can use a different port, but it's not necessary nor is is necessarily more secure.

    4. Set up VNC screen sharing on both macs. You can use Chicken of the VNC or the built in Remote Screen Sharing client (make sure you enable VNC access if you use Remote Screen Sharing). Put your primary mac as 5900 and any other computers as 5901, 5902, etc. Some help

    5. Download PortaPuTTY and the TightVNC standalone viewer client. Copy them over to a usb flash drive. They're PORTABLE which means you can use it from any windows computer!!!

    6. From an external computer (outside of your home network, or even inside, really), fire up PuTTY.

    7. Type your DynDNS host name where it says "Host Name". Port should be 22 or if you've changed it, put that in. Protocol should be SSH.

    8. Still in PuTTY, scroll down to "connections>SSH>Tunnels". Source port should be 5900, destination should be either localhost:5900 or Leave the radio options as "Local" and "Auto" and Click the Add button. Repeat for port 5901, but put in the local IP address instead of "localhost" (

    9. Still in Putty, go back up to the sessions, give the saved sessions a uinque name (Home) and click save. This will save your settings so you don't have to enter these settings every time.

    10. If you're a religious kind of guy, say a quick prayer. Press Open.

    11. You'll most likely get a popup of some sort asking you to verify the fingerprint. Click the option to add it to the hosts file. You should only get this once. If you get it again (without changing anything) get out of there and cancel any connection.

    12. Log in with your (short) user name and password. Congrat's! You've got shell access to your computer!

    13. Open up the TightVNC viewer and put in localhost:5900 (or the IP:port of another computer) and press connect. Input your VNC password if you've got one.

    14. ???

    15. Profit.

    You can also log in from another mac outside of your network by enabling "remote login" on the computer, going to terminal and typing "SSH username@remotehost -L 5900 localhost:5900"

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