Have you got a Microsoft Access database on your workstation that you would like to use remotely?
Maybe even let others use?
Typically a Microsoft Access database will be multi-user and could use files of size up to 100 MB or more. You should not open such files directly over a VPN because (a) you will get very slow and disappointing performance, maybe not even opening key screens, (b) even if it does open, you will risk data corruption. However, you can successfully run a Access database on a Windows Server situated within your organisation, and then set up remote access to that server. To do so is the subject of this article.
Note – This is a general guide about how this can be achieved. Hopefully the above can work in your environment. However, for reasons of security, balancing load on the server, and Microsoft licensing, we recommend that you check with your system administration people. The author makes no representations in this regards, about the suitability of these instructions for your particular situation.
Here is a simple summary that can help you achieve this. Each of these steps required some system knowledge in order to carry out. Additional detail appears below in the bottom half of this article. Please post a question, email or phone if you want to know more. It’s free to ask! I’ll tell you when extra work is required.
- Choose a Windows Server within your organisation to be the host
- Set up permissions for the chosen remote user or users to log in remotely to that server
- Make sure that there is a copy of Microsoft Access or the free Microsoft Access Runtime Engine on that server
- Put your Access program in a shared folder location on that server
- Use Remote Desktop to that server when you want to open the Access program
- Use additional security if you are accessing that server over the internet
There are a number of other setups that you might like to consider. These things are too detailed to put on this little page. Please post a question, email or phone if they are relevant to you:
- Configure the default login screen, desktop, drive mappings, automatic start up program, shortcuts, etc
- Configure printers
- Configure security settings
THIS MONTH ONLY
Do you have a Microsoft Access database from which you need additional reports?
Additional detail on how to perform the above
Choose a Windows Server within your organisation to be the host
Unless you are a micro-business or NFP, your organisation would almost certainly already have one or more Windows servers already.
Any Windows servers by default can support two remote logins at a time. Alternatively, you may have a Windows Server configued as a “Terminal Server” or a “Remove Desktop Server”. This can support as many logins as you have licences for. (Make sure you have enough RAM and processor power to support the number of simultaneous logins that you intend to use.)
You can also allocate an unused or new Windows 10 Pro workstation for this task, but be aware that a workstation can only support one remote login at a time.
You can also pay monthly to have a Windows Server in the cloud from Microsoft Azure, AWS, or a number of Infrastructure as a Server (IASS) provider companies.
Set up permissions for the chosen remote user or users to log in remotely to that server
This normally consists of (1) updating the security group membership of the chosen user so that they are a member of the Remote Desktop Users group. (2) Modifying the default Domain Group Policy so that members of the Remote Desktop Users group are allowed to log on remotely. (In the case that you are using a domain controller for the purpose, you will need to modify the Default Domain Controllers Group Policy.)
- If you have allocated a Windows 10 workstation to the purpose, make sure that you have allowed remote logins, by going into the System Properties area, and using Remote Settings to Allow Remote Connections to this computer.
Make sure that there is a copy of Microsoft Access on that server
- The full version of Microsoft Access is part of Microsoft Office Business premium or enterprise.
- If your Windows Server is running Terminal Server (ie running Remote Desktop Services), then to use the full version of Microsoft Access you are going to need Microsoft’s most expensive Volume Licence for Microsoft Office.
- The Microsoft Access Runtime Engine is a free alternative, which is fine as long as you test it and learn how to cope with its limitations
Put your Access program in a shared folder location on that server
Use Remote Desktop to that server when you want to open the Access program
Use additional security if you are accessing that server over the internet – eg Use your existing Virtual Private Network (VPN) or set up a new one
- Once you have connected with your VPN connection or client to your workplace, you will them use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to the server using its Local Area Network (LAN) address.
- A far less secure alternative is to use raw remote desktop access through your firewall broadband internet router or modem, by configuring port forwarding.
Please blog below, email or phone if you want to know whether this will work in your organisation.