tinyapps.org / docs / Free and easy remote access (through firewalls and NAT routers) with VNC reverse connections

Setting up remote access to help friends/family members/customers can be difficult, especially when firewalls and NAT routers are involved. The following tutorial explains how to use VNC's reverse connection to make it easier.

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Step 1: Setup your side

You are running Windows You are running Mac OS X
1. If you have a router, make sure to forward port 5500 to your computer. If you're not sure how to do this, check here.
2. Download tightvnc-1.2.9_x86_viewer.zip 2. Download Mark Lentczner's version of Chicken of the VNC
3. Unzip vncviewer.exe to your Desktop 3. Unzip Chicken of the VNC to your Desktop
4. Open a command prompt and cd to your Desktop path 4. Double click Chicken of the VNC
5. Type: vncviewer -listen and press Enter. screenshot 5. Click Connection > Open Listener... > Start. screenshot
6. You are now ready to accept connections from your customer.

Step 2: Setup customer side

Customer is running Windows Customer is running Mac OS X
1. Download tightvnc-1.2.9_x86.zip 1. Download Mark Lentczner's version of OSXvnc
2. Extract WinVNC.exe and VNCHooks.dll from tightvnc-1.2.9_x86.zip 2. Unzip OSXvnc to your Desktop
3. Send WinVNC.exe and VNCHooks.dll to customer
(optionally, combine the two into a single executable with PEBundle and/or compress with UPX)
3. Send OSXvnc to customer
4. Have customer double click WinVNC.exe, type anything into the "Password:" box, and press OK. screenshot 4. Have customer double click OSXvnc
5. Have customer right click on WinVNC icon in system tray, choose "Add New Client", and type in your IP address. screenshot 1 | 2 5. Have customer click "Connect to Client", enter your IP address in the "Host" box, and click "Start Server". screenshot
6. You will now be able to control customer's computer from your own. When finished, right click VNC tray icon on customer's Desktop and choose "Close". Customer may delete the VNC file(s) you sent. screenshot 6. You will now be able to control customer's computer from your own. When finished, click "Stop Server" on customer's machine. Customer may delete OSXvnc if desired. screenshot

Special thanks to:

Alternatives & Updates:

  1. Gitso is my current favorite - open source, cross-platform (Linux, Mac, and Windows), and just one click! Blog post
  2. The easiest alternative for Windows users: Zolved Free Remote Control. Requires no port forwarding on either side. Highly recommended.
  3. UltraVNC SC (Single Click) is an excellent alternative for Windows users.
  4. Yannis Tsopokis has put together VCE_Remote, an open source wrapper to make things even easier for the customer.
  5. EchoVNC works through firewalls and routers via a packet relay server.

last update: 2005.01.19