Hardware

Get IT Done: Use your Pocket PC for remote troubleshooting

Learn how to connect your Pocket PC to your network and configure Terminal Services to remotely control a Windows 2000 Server or Windows XP client


The Pocket PC can be an excellent tool for troubleshooting network or client PC problems. For example, you could use the Pocket PC to:
  • Attach to a malfunctioning remote server using a Terminal Server session to correct minor problems. If you determine that the server problem is a major one, at least you'll know that you’re not going all the way back to the computer room for nothing.
  • Launch a Terminal Server session to connect directly to the user’s desktop and see exactly what he or she is seeing (Windows XP Professional only).

I’ll show you how to connect your Pocket PC to your network and configure Terminal Services to remotely control a Windows 2000 Server or Windows XP client.

Prerequisites
If you plan on troubleshooting a network with your Pocket PC, you’ll need one that can accept a standard PCMCIA network card. Keep in mind, however, not all PCMCIA network cards will work with a Pocket PC. The Pocket PC must have built-in drivers for the card, or drivers must be available for the card. For instance, my HP Jornada has NE2000 drivers built in, but I chose to use a wireless 3Com card instead because it came with the necessary drivers for network communications (listed as Windows CE Drivers).

The Pocket PC must also have a keyboard. Although most Pocket PCs don’t come with keyboards, companies like NEC and HP do manufacture Pocket PCs with them included. These Pocket PCs are slightly larger than the models without keyboards but are much smaller than a notebook PC.

Pocket PC network attachment
Your brand of Pocket PC and your network configuration will determine how you will attach the Pocket PC to your network, although the steps involved are very similar to attaching a desktop PC to a network. You must assign the Pocket PC a name, supply an IP address if necessary, and specify the name of the domain that you want to log in to. If you aren’t relying on a built-in network card driver, you may also have to use your desktop PC to copy the necessary network card drivers to your Pocket PC.

Pocket PC terminal client connections
Once you’ve attached your Pocket PC to the network, you must load a terminal client onto it. You can download a terminal client from CNET. You must download the terminal client onto a desktop PC first and then use a serial, USB, or infrared link to install the client onto the Pocket PC.

After the terminal client is installed on the Pocket PC, using it is simple. After logging in to the network, simply select the icon for the terminal client. You are then asked for the IP address of the server or workstation that you want to connect to. Enter the address, and you’re in business. It’s as if you’re sitting directly at the server or workstation that’s having problems.

Configuring Windows 2000 servers to work with Pocket PC
Before you can remotely control a server from the Pocket PC, you must configure the server to allow you to do so. In a Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2000 Advanced Server environment, this is simply a matter of installing Terminal Services. To do so, open the Control Panel and double-click on the Add/Remove Programs icon. When you see the Add/Remove Programs window, click the Windows Setup button. At this point, the computer may appear to ignore your request. However, if this happens, the Windows Components Wizard has merely opened in the background. Close the Add/Remove Programs window to access the Windows Components Wizard.

When you see the wizard, select the check boxes next to Terminal Services and Terminal Services Licensing. Click Next, and Windows will begin installing the required components. The first question that you are asked is whether you want to install the Terminal Services in remote administration mode or in application server mode. Select Remote Administration Mode and click Next. The next portion of the wizard will ask you about the role and location of the license server. Unless you have a compelling reason to change these options, use the defaults and click Next to continue. At this point, Windows 2000 will ask for the Windows 2000 CD-ROM and will begin copying all of the necessary files. When the wizard completes, click Finish. You’ll now be prompted to reboot your server.

When the server reboots, the Terminal Services should be running. Before you can control the server through your Pocket PC, you’ll have to give yourself permission to do so. To set up the necessary permissions, open the Active Directory Users And Computers console (found on the server’s Administrative Tools menu). Next, select the Users container and then locate the desired user account from the column on the right. Now, right-click on the account and select the Properties command from the resulting context menu. When you do, you’ll see the user’s properties sheet. Select the Terminal Services Profile tab and the Allow Logon To Terminal Server check box. Click OK and wait for the newly established permissions to propagate throughout Active Directory. You should now be able to use the Pocket PC to remotely control the server.

Note
Keep in mind that you’ve installed the Terminal Services in remote administration modes. This means that the server is capable of hosting Terminal Server sessions but isn’t intended for use as a full-fledged Terminal Server. Running more than a single terminal session places an extremely high demand on the server and should therefore be avoided unless you’ve specifically designed the server to function as a Terminal Server.

Configuring Windows XP clients to work with Pocket PC
Just as your Windows 2000 Server must be configured to run the Terminal Services, so too must your Windows XP clients. Enabling the Terminal Services in Windows XP involves enabling Remote Desktop by opening the Control Panel and clicking on the Network And Internet Connections icon. Next, click on the Remote Desktop link to access the Remote tab of the System Properties sheet. Now, select the Allow Users To Connect Remotely To This Computer check box. Click Select Remote Users to access the list of users you will allow to access the Remote Desktop. By default, the domain administrator already has access, but you’ll have to add any additional users to the list. Now, click OK twice to enable Remote Desktop.

Tip
Remember that Remote Desktop is only supported in Windows XP Professional, not the Home version.

After you grant the necessary permissions, you should be able to remotely control the Windows XP machine through your Pocket PC.

Conclusion
The Pocket PC is much more than an electronic organizer. You can now expand its uses to include network server or PC client troubleshooting. Using the proper Terminal Services configuration, your Pocket PC can emulate any remote server or desktop you set up on your network.

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