Remote Access XBMC and Win7 Desktop
#1
Question 
What do you guys use to control the Win7 Desktop and XBMC interface from your main desktop computers?

I like to do general Win7 and XBMC maintenance from my desktop instead of going into the other room and connecting a keyboard. This is not for playing media from the XBMC server ... for that I just connect to the Shares.

While Windows Remote Desktop and UltraVNC both work fine while XBMC is NOT loaded ... neither can control XBMC running Full-Screen (I think because it's a Full-Screen-DirectX app.)

If I turn on the "Use a FullScreen Window rather than True FullScreen", both work. HOWEVER, this causes screen tearing while watching videos on the main plasma ... so I can't just leave that option on.

Another thing that kind of works is to:
Connect with UltraVNC
Start XMBC
- Screen goes black
Press the "\ Key" and switch to Windowed mode.
- XBMC appears in a smaller window.
Do what I need to do in XBMC interface (maybe load a new Add-on).
Press the "\ Key" and switch to Full-Screen mode.
- Screen goes black.
Disconnect the UltraVNC connection.

But if I also wanted to do something on the Win7 desktop (maybe Windows Updates or whatever) it would be like this ...

- XBMC appears in a smaller window.
Do what I need to do in XBMC interface (maybe load a new Add-on).
Exit XBMC to Windows Desktop

The problem is that XBMC remembers the Windowed/Full-Screen settings. So, the next time it's started (might be from Living Room) it's in Windowed mode and looks un-professional and freaks-out the wife.

So, then (after working in Win7) I need to remember to always:
Start XMBC again
- XBMC appears in a smaller window (last setting).
Press the "\ Key" and switch to Windowed mode.
- Screen goes black
Disconnect the UltraVNC connection.

The remote has a "Menu" button that loads XBMC quickly from the Win7 desktop, so it's not a problem leaving the machine without XBMC running (wife just presses one button and XBMC appears).

Anyway, there must be an easier way. Before I "re-invent the wheel" I thought I should ask what you are going because surely I'm not the first one that needs this functionality.
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#2
You could map the "\" key to a remote button or you can use the <fullscreen> tag in your advancedsettings.xml.

I use tightvnc for exactly the same things you're using UltraVNC and I used to use the <fullscreen> tag for that reason. These days, I don't usually close XBMC so I just switch back to FS when I am done with whatever else I may be doing.
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#3
Smile 
Thanks, that works fine.

Here are my notes on the subject. Maybe it will help someone one day if they are searching for help.

About Remote Access using UltraVNC or Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection
---------------------------------------------------------------
Neither will run a Direct-X app like XBMC in true Full-Screen mode.
For speed, turn off Aero by selecting a Standard Windows Theme.
Since XBMC is now set to always load in FullScreen mode (use below file), best to only use RDC for Windows and desktop work only.
UltraVNC works for both Windows desktop and XBMC.

If controlling XBMC with UltraVNC ... When connecting, screen will go black (because it's running full-screen)
Press the '\' button or 'alt' + 'return' on your keyboard (now it starts running in a window)
Before disconnecting, either return to fullscreen, close XBMC and restart, or leave XBMC closed (if remote has one-click XBMC startup and you don't mind the windows desktop showing to end-users after maintenance sessions).

The "advancedsettings.xml" file, which does not exist by default, may be created by a user in their "/userdata/" folder. The content are:

<advancedsettings>
<fullscreen>true</fullscreen>
</advancedsettings>
-----------------------------------------------------------------
I also mapped the \ key to * on remote, but I don't expect to ever need it with above mod. and procedures.

While setting "Use a FullScreen Window rather than True FullScreen" to ON,
would allow RDC and UltraVNC to work after XBMC launches,
this causes screen tearing on DVDs and videos (so this is not an option ... leave it OFF)
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#4
Quote:The "advancedsettings.xml" file, which does not exist by default, may be created by a user in their "/userdata/" folder. The content are:

<advancedsettings>
<setting>value</setting>
<fullscreen>true</fullscreen>
<setting>value</setting>
</advancedsettings>

Just to clarify a little and avoid confusion for new/future users, all you need for this application is:

Code:
<advancedsettings>
    <fullscreen>true</fullscreen>
</advancedsettings>

The advancedsettings.xml wiki page explains all of the many options available, including this one, as well as proper syntax and structure.

Quote:While setting "Use a FullScreen Window rather than True FullScreen" to ON,
would allow RDC and UltraVNC to work after XBMC launches,
this causes screen tearing on DVDs and videos (so this is not an option ... leave it OFF)

This is not true for every system out there. This depends entirely upon your system performance. If the fullscreen window option does lead to tearing on your system, then this advice applies.

Personally, I am not a big fan of RDP for most of my needs, and VNC will work fine for any application regardless of your XBMC settings. This is really entirely a matter of preference. XBMC behavior will be the same with either choice.

Also, if you are sitting within line of site of your TV/monitor running XBMC in fullscreen, it doesn't matter that you only get a black screen on your remote monitor. Everything else will work fine (I do this all the time from the couch).
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#5
What about a mobile platform remote software solution?
Something like XBMC Commander for iOS.

What kind of remote are you using atm for controlling your htpc?
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#6
Furion Wrote:What about a mobile platform remote software solution?
Something like XBMC Commander for iOS.

What kind of remote are you using atm for controlling your htpc?

For this use, I need something that works in native Windows as well as XBMC.

I use a Harmony 670 (emulating a MCE RC-6 & more). We also have a new iPad2 but I don't use it for remote control or home automation.

I do have an interest in what you are talking about though. I always thought it would be cool to lay some tablets around (or mount to wall like keypad) and use them for remote control and home automation. Because of the price and form factor, I was thinking something like a Lenovo A-1 (Android 7" capacitive touch for $199) would be perfect.

... but I think that discussion would be better suited in a different thread ... since it's really about a different kind of "remote control".
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#7
I know it's offtopic in here, but since it's your own thread and you're interested, I'm gonna answer anyways Wink

Originally I just thought of an app called "XBMC Commander" which's for Apple iOS devices. You can control XBMC 100% with it. There's nothing it couldn't do.

When you say that you're interested in home automation, you may want to have a look at "homeintouch"... I don't know whether I'm allowed to advertise sth. and/or post links in here, but if you search for it in youtube you're gonna find some demonstrations of it.
However, the software is seriously expensive (just like the hardware you'd need).

Maybe there's someone here reading this, that knows similar home automation companies and wants to share them.

I'm sorry if that's just too offtopic or if I weren't allowed to advertise.
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#8
I'm only using UltraVNC on my XBMC box these days ...

RDC cons:
Only runs at 1024x768
Logs out current user (can't share normal XBMC logged-in desktop user)
Certificate warnings
XBMC crashes on startup if set to real Full-Screen
HTPC: Intel e6600 dual-core, ATI 5670 (HDMI), Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, Synology 12tb RAID-5 NAS
Software: Windows-10 Pro, Kodi v16.1
Home Theater: Onkyo 607 AVR, Epson 8350 Projector, Apple-TV4, BD-60 BluRay, Cisco DVR, Harmony 670
Speakers: Polk Audio Series II and Polk Subwoofer.
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#9
I'm using TeamViewer for my remote control needs.

Have used UltraVNC / Remote Desktop (XP), RealVNC, and many others in the past. TeamViewer suffers from the same limitation as other RDP-type applications in that it can't update the remote screen fast enough to keep up with the host when XBMC is running, and that's made worse if your sharing your library over MySQL on a remote system to both. You also get a black screen if XBMC is started in true fullscreen rather than a window.

However, TeamViewer works for me better because it gives me the ability to remotely access both my machine, and the machines of friends who have it installed, all from one application. The only minor downside is the nag screen you get on the free version after each alternate disconnect from a session. On the upside it doesn't log out the current user and normal operation can be resumed once your done. I do most of my configuration of the HTPC this way.
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#10
(2012-03-28, 09:31)gibxxi Wrote: I'm using TeamViewer for my remote control needs.

I have found you can't beat TeamViewer for remote support (getting through other's routers) but unless you pay the big-bucks, you never know when they are going to turn it off on you. So, I only use it when I have to (off premise support).

But on my local "safe side" of my router, I'm always looking for the best one. On my gigabit network it should be really fast. RAdmin is "pay only" so it's out. IMHO, RDC has too many limitations for actual use with XBMC. UltraVNC is pretty nice so far. It has some trouble with the cursor sometimes (maybe one-day I'll get around to installing the Mirror Driver ... and see what that does for me). However, right now, it lets me share the real logged-in XBMC desktop user, run the 1080p desktop, and I can even run XBMC (in a window) and test it's options and basic operation.
HTPC: Intel e6600 dual-core, ATI 5670 (HDMI), Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, Synology 12tb RAID-5 NAS
Software: Windows-10 Pro, Kodi v16.1
Home Theater: Onkyo 607 AVR, Epson 8350 Projector, Apple-TV4, BD-60 BluRay, Cisco DVR, Harmony 670
Speakers: Polk Audio Series II and Polk Subwoofer.
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#11
(2012-03-28, 09:06)Tesla Wrote: I'm only using UltraVNC on my XBMC box these days ...

RDC cons:
Only runs at 1024x768
Logs out current user (can't share normal XBMC logged-in desktop user)
Certificate warnings
XBMC crashes on startup if set to real Full-Screen

I use Window RDP with the simultaneous login patch ( on my windows 7 and vista box). That way IF I wanted to login as the same user via RDP (same user that is running xbmc) I Can without interrupting xbmc ( I do believe it attempts to run xbmc ( since I have it set to auto launch)and errors out but that is irrelevant since the xbmc that was initially unning on my tv isn’t affected, so I ignore the error and proceed).
Or, If I want to login period “maintenance” ( do something on the comp, I just login to another account, which I have hidden from the login screen ( via registry hack). So when I boot, my htpc, it auto logins to my htpc and it launches XBMC( via eventghost). then if I need to do anything I use my laptop to login via RDP to either account.
Also, Im 99% sure it is possible to add “install” addons directly to XBMC via folders, I have done it with scripts, and im pretty sure ive done it with addons. i.e. install an addon on my laptop xbmc, then copy the folder over to my other htpc addons folder. I think you have to relaunch xbmc, Now I believe the next time you relaunch or maybe reload skin the addons should be there.
Anyone is welcome to correct me if I am wrong, but this is the way my 5 htpc’s work ( 2 windows vista, 1 windows 7, 2 ios with a mysql databse( on windows 7 box)).
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#12
Quite interested in this as a new user, using teammviewer but its very slow.... and dont like the log out message when you leave.

I cant use rdp because my windows version wont let me since its windows 7 home premium and the hack out their wont work I heard anymore.

Is ultra vnc faster then teamviewer?
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#13
(2013-01-13, 15:41)Ghostdivision Wrote: Quite interested in this as a new user, using teammviewer but its very slow.... and dont like the log out message when you leave.

I cant use rdp because my windows version wont let me since its windows 7 home premium and the hack out their wont work I heard anymore.

Is ultra vnc faster then teamviewer?

Not sure but I don't use TeamViewer when I don't have to. That traffic should stay on local lan only.

I've found UltraVNC works fine for free. If you want to spend money, RAdmin might be cool.
HTPC: Intel e6600 dual-core, ATI 5670 (HDMI), Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, Synology 12tb RAID-5 NAS
Software: Windows-10 Pro, Kodi v16.1
Home Theater: Onkyo 607 AVR, Epson 8350 Projector, Apple-TV4, BD-60 BluRay, Cisco DVR, Harmony 670
Speakers: Polk Audio Series II and Polk Subwoofer.
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#14
(2012-03-28, 09:06)Tesla Wrote: I'm only using UltraVNC on my XBMC box these days ...

RDC cons:
Only runs at 1024x768

Remote Desktop works on any resolution, mine is running at 1920x1200.
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#15
(2013-01-13, 22:28)costi Wrote:
(2012-03-28, 09:06)Tesla Wrote: I'm only using UltraVNC on my XBMC box these days ...

RDC cons:
Only runs at 1024x768

Remote Desktop works on any resolution, mine is running at 1920x1200.

As I said before, too many deal-breakers with RDC for my needs, but I just double-checked again before I answered now.

On normal computers, I'm sure you are right. I'm not sure what controls it. I assumed most would be controlling a 16:9 TV panel. My XBMC box only has a 1080p TVs attached.

Now, Display Properties reports 1280x768 ... not quite 4:3 or 16:9 (or even 16:10).
In yellow box "The display settings can't be changed from a remote session"

How do you upload a screen-shot here?
HTPC: Intel e6600 dual-core, ATI 5670 (HDMI), Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, Synology 12tb RAID-5 NAS
Software: Windows-10 Pro, Kodi v16.1
Home Theater: Onkyo 607 AVR, Epson 8350 Projector, Apple-TV4, BD-60 BluRay, Cisco DVR, Harmony 670
Speakers: Polk Audio Series II and Polk Subwoofer.
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