[CentOS] [OT] Remote control of a WinXP machine from a Linux host

Scott Silva ssilva at sgvwater.com
Mon Jan 12 02:36:26 UTC 2009

on 1-9-2009 12:41 PM Marko Vojinovic spake the following:
> Sorry for an off topic post, but a lot of you folks are sysadmins here or 
> there, and just might have a suggestion... ;-)
> I have a WinXP machine that is to be unattended for a period of 3 years (yes, 
> I know, it sounds ridiculous, but still...). What I need is remote access to 
> it to perform regular system maintenance, virus cleanups, occasional software 
> installations, reboots, config changes, etc.
> Of course, rdesktop would do it, or vnc server or something else. The problem 
> is that this machine is behind a NAT, and I cannot access it remotely from 
> outside (and I need access from whereever on the planet I may happen to be).
> Basically, I need to setup some type of ssh tunnelling from XP (machine A) to 
> my static-IP-24/7-high-bandwidth-CentOS server (machine B) and then further 
> to my laptop (machine C, Fedora 10) located elsewhere (possibly behind 
> another NAT, I can't know in advance). I have root access for all three 
> machines (A, B and C). Of course, all three are on different LANs.
> However, I have never done anything like this before, so I wonder what is the 
> best method of creating such a setup?
> One of my ideas was to make some script on A which would connect to B once 
> every 15 minutes or so, look for a flagfile, and if present, initiate 
> connection with C directly or through B if necessary. That means, if I want 
> access from C to A, I ssh from C to B and create a flagfile, wait 15 minutes 
> or so, and a rdesktop (or vnc or other) appears on my laptop. In theory.
> Or is there some other XP-tool that might do what I want out of the box? 
> However, it need be absolutely automatic, there will be nobody around to do 
> anything locally on A once I leave it.
> Another idea I had was to have machine A running as a virtual machine on a 
> CentOS host (vmware or such would suffice). Then I could easily configure the 
> above A-to-B-to-C scenario, shutdown the virtual A, pull its hard disk file 
> to C, start it locally, perform maintenance, push it back to host A and run 
> it again as a vm. But this is highly complicated, takes too much time and 
> bandwidth, so I hope something simpler is available.
> Yet another idea is to ask A's ISP to provide a static IP for that machine, or 
> to forward some available port to A, which could be used by rdesktop in some 
> customized fashion. But the ISP may refuse such requests, and I need a robust 
> solution.
> Yet even another idea is to put another CentOS machine (D) between A and A's 
> ISP (create a local LAN). Then initiate ssh -X connection from C to D 
> (somehow, via flagfile scenario or such), and then rdesktop from D to A over 
> a local LAN.
> The main problem is NAT, if machine A had a world-accessible IP, I would just 
> rdesktop from C to A, but alas, it doesn't... :-(
> Any suggestions about the best way of doing this?
> Thanks, :-)
> Marko
There is an application based on VNC called teamviewer that can be set to
start automatically and points to a central server so that you can always find
the system. It crosses NAT easily and can be set with a fixed password.

Maybe it will help you.

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