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Remotely control PC from Android

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by abhiroopb, May 31, 2010.

  1. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    I have torn my hair out trying to make this work and I hope someone on this forum can help me.

    Firstly, my setup: I have a Linux N wireless router, and a desktop with a wifi card running Windows 7 (Home Premium x64). I have a HTC Magic running the 4.2 version of CyanogenMod (Android version 1.6).

    What I basically, want to do is in the title. I want to have an app that allows me to view my PC screen on my phone. Gmote and similar apps come close, but they are useless as I cannot view my screen.

    I have looked at a number of “VNC” apps, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t work.

    I have gotten VLC Remote and TunesRemote to work, which means that I am able to connect my phone to the computer, but beside that nothing works. I managed to get TunesRemote to work by opening certain ports in Windows 7. However, I tried to do a similar thing with a number of VNC applications and none of them worked.

    I have been trying to port forward for the last three years and no matter what I do, it just doesn’t work. I am unsure if it is my Windows 7 firewall or the router, but either way nothing seems to be working.

    I would appreciate help from someone knowledgeable in this field.


  2. paradox183

    paradox183 Well-Known Member

    I don't have my Android phone yet (getting my EVO on Friday) so I can't speak to that, but regarding VNC here's a few things to check on the computer side of things:

    - What VNC software are you trying to run on your computer? The latest beta of TightVNC 2.0 (TightVNC: VNC-Compatible Free Remote Control Software) has worked pretty well for me and will automatically change your Windows firewall settings to accommodate it.

    - Can you VNC into your computer from another computer running a VNC viewer, or does this not work either?

    - Also, make sure that when you install VNC you are installing it as a system service. (This is an option presented during VNC setup and is not always selected by default, such as in the TightVNC 1.x installer.) Otherwise, you will have to manually launch the VNC server application every time.

    - Make sure you are forwarding the correct ports in your router firewall. The default port for VNC is usually TCP 5900.

    - Does your computer have a static IP behind the firewall? When using port forwarding it's usually best to configure a static IP.

    Sorry if these seem like stupid questions.
  3. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Stupid questions are usually the most important!

    Firstly, I am currently not running anything. As I said I have been trying to get this to work and have been unsuccessful. But, everything seems to point towards TightVNC so I will give that another look.

    Noted about installing as a service.

    The port forwarding is the main headache. To start with I only want this to work on my home network. So, I have a broadband connection that hooks up to my modem and the modem hooks up to my Linksys wireless N router. Then I have my various devices at home connecting wirelessly to the router.

    I am quite sure that my external IP address is not static, however, for the initial purpose this should not be all that important. I merely want to control my desktop through my phone at home. Later I can worry about outside connections.

    Would I be correct in assuming that I DO NOT need to mess around with port forwarding if I am connecting from within my wireless network (i.e. not connecting from outside)?

    Also, I have gone through port forwarding articles on portforward.com and I am unable to get it to work. If this is a requirement to get it to work then I will need some help doing this.

    Good luck with the EVO. I
  4. messenger13

    messenger13 Android Expert

    To accomplish what you want to do, I use the Remote Desktop feature of MS WinXP and Win7. But before you go trying any Android apps, you need to get this working within your LAN. CLICK HERE

    Once you have Remote Desktop working within your LAN, then you can install Remote RDP Lite, or a paid RDP app. I am assuming that you have more than one PC or laptop on your LAN. If you don't, then you will have to use your phone, of course.
  5. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for commenting, but Windows 7 Home Premium does not come with the RDP host. I have tried many times, but everywhere I look suggests that it does not work.

    There are registry hacks which I may try, but unless they work RDP is not an option for me.
  6. paradox183

    paradox183 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, not having RDP in Home Premium kinda sucks, but that alone is not a reason to spend the money to upgrade to Pro.

    Some people prefer UltraVNC but for me it has never worked as well as TightVNC. After you install the VNC server, you will also want to go install what is called a "hooks" driver on the VNC server PC which will improve video performance on the remote guest. This one works really well: DemoForge Mirage Driver (DFMirage video hook driver)

    That is correct.

    For the sake of convenience you will still want to assign a static internal IP (again, on the internal LAN - 192.168.x.x) for your VNC server PC. If that PC is using DHCP then its IP address could change at the router's whim. While that's not important for internal use (you could just use the computer's hostname) it would come into play later if you wanted to VNC in from the outside. There are two ways you can do this:

    - You can manually configure the PC's network connection for a static IP. You will want to assign its IP address outside of the router's DHCP range (for instance, using the default Linksys settings, is probably safe), subnet mask of, and the gateway and DNS servers to the router's IP, which is most likely

    - OR, you could leave the PC on DHCP and set up a static DHCP reservation on the router using the PC network card's MAC address. Not sure if the stock Linksys firmware supports this, but many third-party firmwares do.

    Sorry if it seems like I'm patronizing you if you already know how to do these things.

    I'm betting that the problem was most likely VNC not being registered as a Windows service. You didn't know you had to start the VNC server manually, and the installer never told you otherwise, so there was nothing listening for connections on the VNC port. It's possible that it could be the firewall settings as well. Either way, the TightVNC 2.0 installer should do you right since it will take care of both of those automatically.

    All you should need for port forwarding is the destination IP address (your PC), the port number, and whether to allow TCP, UDP, or both types of traffic over that port. If you post your router's model # I can take a look at its documentation for you.

    I will address this separately:

    You are correct that your WAN connection is most likely a dynamic IP, and that could create some difficulty should you ever decide to connect from the outside.

    One way to get around that is to set up an account with DynDNS. You can set up a domain name, such as yournamehere.dyndns.org for example, and that domain name will always point to your current external IP. I believe most/all Linksys devices have built-in support for DynDNS; all you have to do is plug in your DynDNS login info and domain name into the router's Dynamic DNS config page and it will update your current IP address with the DynDNS service every few minutes. If your router doesn't support it then they also have software you can download to your computer that does the same thing. Then, on your VNC client (whether it be a computer or your phone) just punch in your domain name and it should connect right up... assuming that the port forwarding is working.

    Let me know if you have any other questions or need help with something.
  7. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Firstly, thanks for your thorough comments.

    So, this is what I did last night to "try" and get this to work. I firstly installed the beta version of TightVNC, leaving all the relevant things (like start as a service and configure winodws firewall) checked. I also set a password.

    Then I put in my IP address and password into android-vnc-viewer and that's it. Then I waited for ages while "Establishing handshake" was displayed on my phone's screen. Finally, it just said aborted. I tried this a few times and it did not work.

    My IP address in the LAN is static, i.e. it does not change. In fact I believe I used DHCP reservation to set this up a while back. Obviously, my external IP changes but that is not an issue at this point.

    I will deal with the isse of connecting from outside once I have the internal VNC set up properly.

    So, basically, even though I have used TightVNC, started it as a service (it did that automatically) and had it configure the Windows Firewall (I checked to make sure) my phone still did not connect.

    There are a few things I did not have time to try (such as disable the firewall and try the same thing from another laptop) but what do you think the problem could be?

    Thanks again
  8. paradox183

    paradox183 Well-Known Member

    Strange. I have never had any problems with VNC beyond the service and firewall issues.

    The kicker is whether or not another computer on the LAN can connect to the VNC server using TightVNC Viewer. That will at least hopefully isolate the problem in one direction.

    If you haven't gotten it working by Friday, this will be one of the first things I test when I get my EVO since I want to do this too.
  9. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    I guess I am just unlucky in this respect, but something somewhere ALWAYS seems to fail for me.

  10. eepaul

    eepaul Lurker

    Bluewave is what you want exactly.
    check out Mobile Air Mouse

    Search bluewave on the android market for app.
  11. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Sorry, but this is exactly what I did not need. Thanks for the suggestion, but I need the ability to see the PC from my phone (i.e. the windows, etc.)

  12. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    All I can say is YEAH! got it working! It was basically windows firewall. All I had to do was open TCP and UDP ports (5900) and it worked fine. Unfortunately, I have had to open it for everything. I don't know if this is an issue or not.

    Basically, I have set port 5900 open to ALL. Although the TightVNC viewer and service were already in the firewall settings it wasn't until I made a new rule for port 5900 that the VNC viewer on my phone actually worked. Is this a bad thing to have the port allow everything? If I limit port 5900 to TightVNC, it does not seem to work :(

    So, perhaps over the weekend I will try out port forwarding and to get it worked when I am away from my LAN.

    Thanks again.
  13. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Another strange problem is that my desktop turns black (as in the background disappears) when I use the VNC.

    Also what exactly does the video accelerator "hook" do? I installed it, but don't see any difference.

  14. paradox183

    paradox183 Well-Known Member

    That's actually a feature - by default it removes your wallpaper so that it takes less time for your desktop to redraw. I definitely recommend this once you start connecting over the Internet which is slower than LAN.

    If you choose, however, you can disable this and make your desktop appear like normal. Go into your VNC server settings (click the VNC icon in the notification tray) and uncheck the "Hide desktop wallpaper" option on the Server tab.

    Exactly - with the hooks driver installed everything should pretty much look as normal. Without it, though, VNC is prone to strange screen redrawing behaviors on the remote client. It may leave behind artifacts of previously closed windows, or scrolling a window up/down may not work properly. The hooks driver smooths everything out and makes it behave more like it should.

    Glad you're making progress. Hope the port forwarding experiment produces some positive results.
  15. DrScrubs

    DrScrubs Well-Known Member

    Wonder why no one has recommended Phone My PC or Log Me In beta. You don't need RDP with those two apps.

    Unless you only want to connect to your PC using RDP.

    How to have your PC running Home Premium be the host for RDP.

    I can't actually vouch for this because I am still running Vista, but I have managed to enable my PC to be a RDP host with a different patch.
  16. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    PhoneMyPC: paid app which I cannot buy in Singapore (no paid apps market).

    LogMeIn: In Singapore, where the beta does not work.
  17. drew879

    drew879 Newbie

    I would just like to vouch for Remote VNC. I have the "Pro" version which I guess wouldn't be available to you since it's a paid app, but there's currently one in the market called "Remote VNC w/Ad" that's free. I'm not sure what the limitations are (if any) but it has always worked really well for me and does everything I would expect it to. I can't say anything bad about PhoneMyPC or LogMeIn since I've never used them... but since they're not available to you, maybe you should give Remote VNC a shot.
  18. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks, will give it a look. Is there any compelling reason to go for that one?
  19. drew879

    drew879 Newbie

    Since it's free it's definitely worth a try. But I just really like the way it works. It was relatively easy setting up the connection, and once connected I like that I can use the touch screen to click/double click and use the track ball for either precise cursor movement or page scrolling, depending on the settings I choose. It's pretty snappy when I use it on WiFi. For all I know there are better VNC apps out there, but I did try a few before this one and so far it has been the best. Couple glitches with my MacBook but the developer has released several updates that fixed them.
  20. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    I'll give it a look when I get home.

    Android VNC is a fairly decent app, but it is slow. I have a good WiFi connection, so I was unsure as to why it was so slow. It may have been my 1920x1080 and my 1440x800 monitors though!
  21. DrScrubs

    DrScrubs Well-Known Member

    Didn't realize that. Never was mentioned in your 1st post. Sorry to hear and good luck then!
  22. abhiroopb

    abhiroopb Member
    Thread Starter

    No worries, thanks for the suggestions.

    I plan on setting up port forwarding this evening so I can connect to my PC even when I am out of range of my WiFi.

    Assuming port forwarding works and I am able to set up DynDNS, how do I ensure my connection is secure? I have read about VPN and SSH, but I am not overly familiar with either.

  23. DrScrubs

    DrScrubs Well-Known Member

    Dyndns is secure in my opinion. You need a password in order to set your router to access Dyndns. Then to access your computer you need a password whether through RDP or VNC.

    I also believe data sent over RDP is inherently encrypted. But I am not completely sure about that.

    Sent Using Tapatalk
  24. Aaronneyer

    Aaronneyer Member

    Try LogMeIn. Just download the App and download the program to your computer and you're good to go.
  25. Hangdog42

    Hangdog42 Well-Known Member

    For the love of <INSERT FAVORITE DEITY HERE> do NOT expose VNC to the internet. It has absolutely, positively no security. EVERYTHING is transmitted in the clear.

    VNC over SSH is a good way to handle this, but I don't think Windows comes with an SSH server. You also might look into a VPN solutions.

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