If you’re using Windows 9x, you can configure your computer at home or work to be a server for remote access. Clients running Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) or other types of remote access protocols will be able to connect to the server and, if they have the correct network protocols, access shared resources. The dial-up server can even be used as a gateway into a Microsoft or NetWare network. Microsoft also has included security measures for the two types of resource sharing. This built-in security will allow the server’s administrator to restrict access through passwords and even to check users against security servers that are part of the network. Net Watcher can help you administer multiple servers, and you can leave it installed on just one server. Working with Dial-up Server has become an extremely easy process that makes “dialing in” a breeze.
Installing Dial-up Server
For Windows 95 users, Dial-Up Server is included on the Microsoft Plus for Windows 95 CD and is not a standard feature available on the Windows 95 install. For Windows 98 users, Dial-Up Server is included as a standard feature, but it isn’t installed during the setup process. You will need to use the Add/Remove Programs utility in Control Panel. Click the Windows tab and double-click Communications. Choose Dial-up Server and then clear the present window and the next window by clicking OK.
Although you can use Windows Dial-up Server as an access server to which remote computers can connect, there are some limitations to Dial-Up Server over remote access servers running Windows NT 3.5 and later dial-up connections. One limitation that you’ll have to keep in mind, especially if the server connection is for a business, is that Windows Dial-Up Server can support only one connection. You still can have multiple modems attached to the server, but only one connection can be used at a time. If you need multiple connections at the same time, this type of server won’t suffice. But if you need only one connection, it will work quite well and is less expensive. Small businesses may find it to be a great advantage over the expense of purchasing a Windows NT or NetWare remote access package. Another limitation to keep in mind is that Windows can’t act as an IP router for a TCP/IP network, such as the Internet. Windows 98 offers the ability to share a single Internet connection between computers with its Proxy Server utility.
Once Windows Dial-Up Server is installed, you’ll need to decide which resources you want to share. Second, you’ll need to plan the security type that will provide the best protection for your dial-up server’s shared resources. And third, you’ll need to choose a server type for configuring your dial-up server.
Probably, the main reason you’re configuring the dial-up server on your PC is to share its resources. If you don’t already have the File and Print Sharing capabilities installed, you need to do so. Go to Control Panel and double-click Network. Once the Network Properties dialog box opens, click the Add button. Now, choose Services by double-clicking it. If you plan to share the resources of the server with other Microsoft clients, then choose File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks. If you’re sharing resources with NetWare clients, you need to choose File And Printer Sharing For NetWare Networks.
When you set up your dial-up server, security is an absolute must. Microsoft offers built-in security for the two types of sharing that you have available. The first choice is User-Level Security. This type works with the user information that is stored in a security server, such as a Windows NT server or a NetWare server. When a client dials in to a Windows dial-up server, access to resources is restricted until a user ID and password can be verified against a security server on the network. As the client requests access, the dial-up server will bounce the request off the security server, verifying that the user has the right to access the resources at the proper level (such as full access or read only).
When you enable User-Level Security with the Network utility in Control Panel, remote administration for the Domain Administrator group will be added automatically. If User-Level Security is used within a NetWare system, the Admin account for version 4.0 or the Supervisor account for version 3.x also will be enabled automatically. To add User-Level Security without allowing remote administrators access to the PC, you need to enable User-Level Access Control through the System Policies.
When setting up the dial-up server for User-Level Security, begin by ensuring that User-Level access is already enabled on Windows. To do so, open the Dial-Up Networking folder and select Dial-Up Server from the Connections menu. In the next window, select the Allow Caller Access option and click Add. Now, choose the users who will have access to the dial-up server. The user list will be based on the same server name that you gave when you initialized User-Level Security in Windows. Select the users who are allowed to access the server and click OK. On the properties sheet for Dial-Up Server, click the Server Type button. The Require Encrypted Password option should be selected already by default. This option will require the client dialing in to transmit an encrypted password instead of a text password. Windows clients who dial in will not have a problem with this requirement. Make sure that other types of clients who dial in will be able to send the encrypted password. Clearing this option doesn’t remove the requirement for a password when someone accesses the dial-up server.
Under Share-Level, when a client dials in, that client will have to provide a password when first connecting to the dial-up server. From then on, the client dialing in will have to provide the password for each resource. The password for each resource will determine the client’s level of access. In Share-Level Security under the same resource, you can set up a password for Full Access and a password for Read Only Access. It’s regarded as a less secure way of sharing resources than User-Level Security, and Share-Level Security is not usable on NetWare networks.
When setting up the resources of the dial-up server for Share-Level Security, you need to have the File and Printer Sharing service installed and Share-Level Security initialized. In the Dial-Up Networking folder, select Dial-Up Server from the Connections menu. Now, click the Change Password button to create a password for the server. This action will initialize resource sharing and allow Windows to complete the connection when the proper password is provided.
The final step involves choosing the server type. Begin by opening the properties sheet for the dial-up server and clicking the Server Type button. You’ll see a drop-down list of server types. The first selection is Default. This option will begin a connection with Point-to-Point Protocol and, if it fails, will switch to RAS for Windows for Workgroups and Windows NT 3.1. You also can select PPP or RAS individually. Click the OK button, and your server will be prepared to receive incoming calls. If there was already an established connection to the server and you changed the server type, this change will not affect the current connection, only connections made from this point on.
Keeping an eye on what’s going on with your dial-up server is a snap. If you’re using the File and Printer Sharing service, you’ll need to know who is using what. Microsoft’s Net Watcher enables you to add and remove shared resources, close files left open by users, and disconnect users on your dial-up server. Net Watcher also enables you to organize your view of the connections to your server by user, by open files, and by the resource itself. If you’re running several Windows dial-up servers, Net Watcher will enable you to look at other servers that are running File and Printer Sharing. Depending on whether you have chosen to use Share-Level Security or User-Level Security, there are a few rules that you have to follow. If you run Net Watcher on a server that uses Share-Level Security, you’ll be able to link only to other servers that use Share-Level Security. If that server is running User-Level Security, you’ll be able to connect to any of the other servers that run File and Print Sharing. The two computers would not have to be under the same domain or pass-through server.
If you’re using the File and Print Sharing for NetWare Networks on the server with Net Watcher, you’ll be able to link only to other servers running File and Print Sharing for NetWare Networks. In this case, the two computers don’t have to be under the same pass-through server. On a NetWare network, you won’t be able to close documents with the Net Watcher utility, but you’ll still have the option of disconnecting a user.
To start Net Watcher, click the Start button and select Run. In the resulting dialog box, type netwatch and press [Enter]. Net Watcher will start with the information for the server that you are using. When you need to link to another server while you’re in Net Watcher, choose Select Server from the Administer menu and type the name of the server that you want to administer. You’ll be asked for a password. If the server is running Share-Level Security, it will need the password that was specified for Remote Administration in the Passwords option in Control Panel. If you’re running User-Level Security, you won’t need a password. As long as the computer to which you’re trying to attach lists you as a user who can administer the computer remotely, you’ll be allowed access with the password information that you provided when you logged on.
The ability for people to connect remotely to their home and work PCs is almost a necessity, especially in the business world. Windows 9x offers this capability with its Dial-Up Server. Loading this application can provide access to the computer and allow you to share its resources, while also providing security. The server application also can be used as a gateway to a Microsoft Windows NT or NetWare network, allowing a dialed-in client to use a vast array of resources. If you decide to use multiple dial-up servers, you can simplify your control by administering them through Net Watcher. If you or your users work from home or need to access an occasional file from work, Dial-Up Server provides a low-cost solution to a wide variety of needs.
Paul Suiter received his first taste of the deadline rush as a photographer for the Montgomery Advertiser, where he earned four photography awards. After receiving degrees in economics and business management from Auburn University, Paul entered the college book business. After managing two bookstores for three years, Paul became a business analyst for EDS. Four years later, Paul continues with EDS, taking its equipment apart, while working with G3 switches and advanced imaging programs. But, he’s finally getting back to one of his favorite pastimes—writing. (Of course, he also enjoys spending time with his wife and son.)The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.