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Remote maintenance refers to any method of controlling a computer from a remote location. Software that allows remote administration is becoming increasingly common and is often used when it is difficult or impractical to be physically near a system in order to use it. A remote location may refer to a computer in the next room or one on the other side of the world. It may also refer to both legal and illegal (i.e. hacking) remote administration.
Any computer with an Internet connection, TCP/IP or on a Local Area Network can be remotely administered.For non-malicious administration, the user must install or enable server software on the host system in order to be viewed. Then the user/client can access the host system from another computer using the installed software.Usually, both systems should be connected to the internet, and the IP address of the host/server system must be known. Remote administration is therefore less practical if the host uses a dial-up modem, which is not constantly online and often has a Dynamic IP.
When the client connects to the host computer, a window showing the Desktop of the host usually appears. The client may then control the host as if he/she were sitting right in front of it.Certain versions of Windows XP have a built-in remote administration package called Remote Desktop Connection. A free cross-platform alternative is VNC, which offers similar functionality.