We've had excellent results from UltraVNC
on all versions of Windows and Linux, crossplatform (i.e. a Vista box controlling a Linux box, vice-versa, or any version of Windows controlling any other version).
In your case, because Vista is so @$#% ... you'll want to use UltraVNC's "custom" setup, called UltraVNC Single-Click
. You configure it to connect from
inside your Vista firewall to
the remote machine, thereby clearing all of the security hassles. The remote machine has a "listener" running on it, and when your Vista box calls out to it, it will wait until you get there to acknowledge the connection, then you simply click "Allow Access" on the remote box, and you're controlling your Vista box without doing anything else on the Vista box. Conveniently, when you end the remote session, the VNC running on your Vista box dies, too, so there's no remaining open hole through your Vista defenses, such as they may be.
You'll need a reliable IP address for the remote machine (the controller), but the Vista box (to be controlled) can be on any type of network, because it calls out to the remote box. Dynamic IP is perfectly fine on the box to be controlled. Also, the to-be-controlled box needs to allow UltraVNC through the firewall, and the remote controller needs the same (just check the box in Windows Firewall).
Works great. Free.