Product
Support
Everything Else
Remote Access Options

Our current preferred methods of remote access are Skype (click the link in the upper left corner of this page to initiate a call), TeamViewer, and the built-in Screen Sharing functions of macOS. We also still support Timbuktu for older systems. We do not support GoToMeeting or LogMeIn.

The rest of the information on this page is largely obsolete; until the page is updated, please contact technical support to discuss remote access options.

Introduction

Being able to remotely access a Macintosh running Helix is useful in a number of situations. Among them:

  • Monitoring a Server that is in another location.
  • Remote collection updating. (Making structural changes on a remote computer.)
  • Advanced Helix Technical Support.

There are a number of software tools available to allow remote access:

This article discusses the basic requirements for setting up remote access. For information on setting up a Helix Server for remote access by Helix Clients, see this technote.

iChat Screen Sharing

If you have macOS 10.5 or later on your computers, you have a powerful remote access option built right into the system: iChat screen sharing.

Because it is part of macOS, configuration is as simple as getting an iChat account (if you ever bought anything from Apple’s web store, iTunes store, App store, etc., you already have one) and typing that into the iChat setup screen. If you don’t have an iChat account, there’s a button in iChat to get one for free. Learn more about iChat by clicking here.

iChat screen sharing is the preferred method of QSA ToolWorks for conducting remote technical support. To arrange your first screen sharing session, contact us by phone. After that, all you need to do is open iChat and connect.

For your own support tasks, it is worthwhile noting that iChat screen sharing can also connect to Macs running macOS 10.4, even though iChat does not have that capability in Tiger. To enable this in macOS 10.4, open System Preferences -> Sharing -> Services and turn Apple Remote Desktop on. While you are in the Sharing panel, click the Edit button and set the Local Hostname to something short. (When done, the “Computers on your local network can access your computer at: …” line confirms that you have set it correctly.) Then, on a machine running macOS 10.5 or 10.6, navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/ and drag the Screen Sharing icon to your Dock. (Or make an alias wherever you prefer.) When you launch the Screen Sharing application, a Connect to Server dialog opens; type in the name you gave to your Tiger machine (with or without the .local ending) and click Connect. Enter a username/password that has permission to use that machine and you are in.

You can also connect through the Finder by choosing Connect to Server from the Go menu. In the Server Address field type vnc:// followed by the name you gave your Tiger machine. You can also create clickable shortcuts via your web browser (tested in Safari) by typing vnc:// (followed by the name you gave your Tiger machine) into the address field and then clicking on the proxy icon (to the left of the address) and dragging it to the desktop. (Or the bookmarks bar or anywhere else you want.)

If the machine has a public IP Address, you can also use this to connect via the internet, assuming you do not have firewalls in place blocking this type of traffic.

Timbuktu

Timbuktu is commercial software that requires each user have it installed on their computer. It is priced at about $100/user, with discounts available for larger purchases. You can purchase it directly from Netopia.

Once Timbuktu is installed on the target computer, configuring it for remote access requires that you:

  • Open System Preferences -> Sharing
  • Click on the Firewall tab and if you have your firewall turned on, click the New tab, choose Timbuktu from the Port Name menu, and click OK.
  • If your computer gets its IP Address via DHCP, your network administrator will need to configure your router to allow network traffic on port 407 (the port Timbuktu uses) and to forward that traffic to your computer. Netopia has a number of technical articles to assist with the Timbuktu configuration. Consult with your router documentation for instructions on forwarding the required ports to your computer.

Once the remote computer is configured, all that is needed is to give the person using Timbuktu the public IP Address they need to reach your router.

You can also configure Timbuktu to register itself for external access via a free Netopia service. Look in the Timbuktu Preferences for this option. (Note: the option asks for an email address, but you can give it a fake address and it will work fine.)

If you have Timbuktu we can provide advanced Helix technical support by connecting directly to your desktop. You must contact us first via phone or email to arrange a TB2 session.

Apple Remote Desktop

Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) is comprised of two parts: a Client, which is built into macOS, and a Controller, which is commercial software that must be purchased separately. You can purchase it directly from Apple.

Configuring the target computer requires that you:

  • Open System Preferences -> Sharing
  • Turn on Apple Remote Desktop
  • Click the Access Privileges Button
  • Check the appropriate boxes for the users and privileges you want to grant. (If you are activating this for QSA Technical Support, be sure to turn on the Guests may request permission to control screen option. (Advanced user note: ARD also works with Open Source VNC software.)
  • Back in the main panel, click on the Firewall tab and if you have your firewall turned on, make sure the Apple Remote Desktop entry is checked.
  • If your computer gets its IP Address via DHCP, your network administrator will need to configure your router to allow network traffic on the ports ARD requires and to forward that traffic to your computer. Apple has a number of technical articles to assist with the ARD side of the configuration: 106847, 106439, & 108047. Consult with your router documentation for instructions on forwarding the required ports to your computer.

Once the remote computer is configured, all that is needed is to give the person using ARD the public IP Address they need to reach your router.