At home I have a fileserver which is running Windows XP Pro. There are various SMB shares set up on it which can be accessed fine from within the network.

Recently there has been the need to access the files on the fileserver from outside the network. The data stored on the fileserver is sensitive, so this must be done securely; it feels like opening SMB over the internet would cause problems here.

SFTP is not an appropriate solution as the files to which access is required may be worked on concurrently from within and outside the network so the potential for problems there is clear.

Remote desktop or similar is also not appropriate as the remote computer has an application which utilises the data I wish to share. This application cannot be installed on the fileserver.

Ideally, I need a way to map the fileshare as a network drive from outside the network.

Can anyone suggest any directions in which I could look? I do have a copy of 2008 Server which I could upgrade the fileserver to if it would help, but I'd rather not do so given that it has been running stably for years and it would require considerable work to get everything re-configured.

  • What kind of a connection do you have at home? How large are the files? What kind of firewall/router do you have? – gravyface May 8 '11 at 12:20

You need some sort of VPN.

Windows 2008 server has the built in Routing and Remote Access service which has a VPN component and would allow remote users to dial in, or if you've got lots of remote users on the same network a site to site VPN might be easier to manage. This could be achieved (again) with RRAS or you could use a dedicated hardware VPN concentrator like a Cisco ASA or Juniper SSG device.

  • After a bit of research it turns out that XP Pro also has the routing and remote access service (+ the VPN server) in it. Have got this set up and (hopefully) working; thanks for the suggestion! – Dan May 9 '11 at 15:27

You can use SSHFS over an SSH tunnel for this; all you need to open on the firewall is a port for SSH.

You'll need a SSHFS client on the remote client and a SSH deamon on the server.

This approach is covered at SSHFS Server for Windows? - I don't use Windows often enough to summarise/recommend these products.


Realvnc is very secure. Low overhead and flexible. I have used them for years.

  • VNC is to share a screen, not fileshares or folders. – Tonin Sep 5 '16 at 10:30

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