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Ask Max: Accessing Work Computer from Home

Asked on 05/26/2006:

How can I access my iMac work computer (on a Windows network) from my G4 Mac home computer? I need to be able to send files back and forth between the two.


When moving files from Mac to Mac over the Internet you will need to make a few changes to your network's settings. TCP ports 548 and 427 need to be opened up on your home router and your work router. Then you will need to have a fixed IP on your work computer or setup Port Forwarding on the Work Router. File sharing then needs to be activated on your work computer. At home you will then click on the "Go" menu and select "Connect to Server..." Enter "afp://YOUR.WORK.IP.ADDRESS" in the top text field and click "Connect". User name and password are the same as when you access the computer locally.

The problem with the above setup is that most IT people will not let you change the network settings because it can leave a network vulnerable to malicious hackers and viruses. There are several VPN options as well but that requires some hardware and again, the help from your IT staff. This is where using a .Mac account might simplify your life. When I move files from my home office to my work computer I use a .Mac account. It is like a shared hard drive that is mounted on the desktop of both my computers at the same time. .Mac is not as seamless as a direct link to your computer but it requires a lot less "back end" work to get around your company’s network protections.

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