Do you wish to access your personal documents, music or videos, photos stored on your personnel computer or on your mobile phone while you are travelling or when you are in office? The simplest solution is to copy all your data from the source to a portable hard drive and then carry it around. However, this is a cumbersome approach as you would require syncing manually the home computer with your portable disk.
Homegroups and network file sharing make it easy to access your PCs file from another PC on the same local network, but accessing your personal computer files over the Internet takes a bit more setup.
There are several ways to access your files from the road or remotely control or manage your computer from afar. The method you pick should reflect how you plan to access the files and what you need to use when you are away from your desk.
FTP Servers and Other Server Software
You could install an FTP (file transfer protocol) server on your computer and grant access to it from the Internet. This is not really ideal from a security perspective, as you’d have to expose the FTP server to the Internet. (You could also set up both a VPN and an FTP server, accessing the FTP server through the VPN.)
Normal FTP is unencrypted, which means people could eavesdrop on your password and your files in transit. You should go out of your way to enable secure FTP and set a very secure password if you do this. When exposing server software to the Internet, you have to worry about configuring it securely and keeping it updated. You probably don’t want to use server software like this on your home PC when there are easier solutions available.
Microsoft earlier offered a remote file fetching solution that allows the users to access PC files over the internet. They have discontinued this product for Skydrive, now known as oneDrive. Similar to Dropbox and Google Drive, oneDrive is cloud storage solution that offers you a special folder on your PC.
Files, as well as folders you place in the folder, are uploaded to your cloud storage account online and synced to all your PC. You can access via your browser or through mobile app. Microsoft discontinued Windows Live Mesh because they started believing cloud storage service is an ideal option for any average user to access their files. You also need not have your PC online, install the server software or use a dedicated device. However, you cannot access any file on your PC, but you need to sync the files you care for and access them.
External Hard Drive
Adding an external hard drive to your existing router, if your router is capable of file sharing is another way to access your files. Because external hard drives can come in such large sizes, it is really easy to instantly provide terabytes of storage for remote access.
Using an external hard drive connected to your router is slower than a dedicated NAS, but this option may be less expensive if you already have an external drive or compatible router. However, even if you don’t already have an external HDD, they are usually pretty cheap for the amount of storage you get.
Access Files Directly Through the Browser
Online backup services would copy files to their servers, before you can access them from anywhere else. We find screen sharing services are often slow, and they do not work on numerous mobile devices.
Like Google Desktop, Copernic is a popular software for desktop search, wherein you can use to find documents, emails and other files on your Windows computer. They tend to have paid component called myCopernic on the go. This allows you to remote search for varied content stored on home or office computer.