Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Hamachi is a free, easy-to-use VPN that allows you to connect machines across the internet as if they were right there on your local network.

One of the very frequent questions I get is about connecting two or more machines, or even networks, across the internet. The most common scenario is when traveling ... you're on the road, and you need to get at that one file that you left at home or at work, on a different computer.

Enter "VPN"s, or Virtual Private Networks.

VPNs are exactly what the name implies: a virtual network of one or more machines on top of a public network like the internet. When two machines join the same VPN, it's nearly as if they were next to each other. File and printer sharing, as well as other applications such as remote desktop, work like they would on a local area network - except the machines are separated, and connected only over the internet.

I've talked about Hamachi before, in my podcast. Now, after actively using it for several weeks, I'm recommending it as a simple, quick, lightweight, and free VPN solution.

It really is that easy.

To use Hamachi, you download and run a small client application from the Hamachi website. When this client runs, it implements a virtual network adapter, and you're given an additional IP address that identifies you on any virtual network you join. You then create a virtual a virtual network by name, assigning it a password. Now anyone running the Hamachi client can join your network by connecting to it by name, and supplying the password.

It really is that easy.

I now have the Hamachi client automatically starting on several machines, so that regardless of where in the world I am, if I'm connected to the internet those machines appear on my virtual local network.

As an example, I frequently print things on a printer at my wife's business from home. In the past that's involved transferring the file to a mutually accessible location on the internet, then using remote desktop to connect to the remote computer, downloading the file, firing up the appropriate application and finally hitting print in that application.

With both machines on the VPN, I simply print directly to the remote printer at my wife's business from the computer on my desk at home.

What I'll call my acid test was a recent trip in my RV. The RV park has free WiFi, so naturally I connect up and do a fair amount of work when I can. This time, after booting up my laptop and connecting to the internet, I was automatically connected to my machines at home and the machine at my wife's business. I was able to remote desktop to a machine at home, copy files from a second machine there, and once again print directly to the business machine. All transparently.

The VPN connection is encrypted for security. Aside from contacting the Hamachi server initially, to locate the members of your VPN, all actual network activity is directly peer-to-peer. In fact, if the Hamachi mediation server goes down, you remain connected, and can continue to use your VPN without a problem.

Hamachi works across NAT routers, even if there are NAT routers at both ends of the connection. In nearly all cases it doesn't require any reconfiguring of the routers - no port-forwarding required. All machines running the Hamachi client are simply and individually visible, even if they are all behind the same router.

So far I've run into one drawback to Hamachi.

It does rely on that mediation server to establish network connections. That means if the server is down, while existing networks and connections will continue to work, new clients cannot join a VPN, and new VPNs cannot be created. For example if you reboot while the mediation server is down, you'll not be able to reconnect to your VPN until it comes back up. Fortunately this happens infrequently, and planned outages are announced in advance.

There are other remote VPN solutions out there; Real VNC is one popular alternative. Similarly, other remote access solutions, such as GoToMyPC, are also popular.

But for simple, inexpensive, and basic connectivity, Hamachi is working well for me, and I encourage you to give it a try. I've played with Hamachi exclusively on Windows, but versions for OSX and Linux are also available.

Article C2547 - February 6, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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46 Comments
Ross
February 10, 2006 6:28 PM

Will you have to wait long for Hamachi to be upgraded to that it'll deliver the print job to your home?

Debashish
April 2, 2006 11:19 PM

can we not have hamachi running on one machine, and then access to that machine by simply creating a VPN connection to that IP by creating a dialup VPN from any windows 2000/XP system.
If yes what will be the parameters for the UserID, Password and the Domain.

This is really important.

Leo
April 3, 2006 2:20 PM

No, you simply need Hamachi running on both machines.

neckerboy
April 7, 2006 6:53 PM

why cant i connect to www.hamachi.cc...im just using windows firewall that comes with windows xp...tnx

Anto
April 15, 2006 2:08 AM

I too use Hamachi. Its a good software. But I dont understand how you can use it to remote control the client. Also, I don't understand how you can print to a hamachi client.

Suppose I install Hamachi on one computer in a Lan, why can't I access other computers on the same Lan from the internet? I think that is a major drawback with Hamachi.

Leo
April 15, 2006 7:45 AM

Hamachi needs to be installed on all computers participating in your VPN. Once you do that, you can print directly to any printer shared by one of those machines as if they were on your local network. You can't remote control using Hamachi itself, that's not what it does, but with Hamachi running you can then run remote desktop across your VPN and remote control any machine that supports it.

Sean
June 7, 2006 8:36 PM

I set up Hamachi on two computers and successfully networked them together. However, I can't seem to do a lot of things you'd expect to do on networked computers. For example my printer doesn't show up when I search network for printers. Also I thought iTunes would work after I set up song sharing on a network. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong? By the way, you mentioned GoToMyPC as an alternative VPN tool. Have you tried LogMeIn. It's basically the same thing as GoToMyPC, but free.

Leo
June 7, 2006 8:55 PM

Make sure "Block vulnerable windows services" isn't checked in preferences. I regularly print remotely over my Hamachi VPN.

Jeff
June 22, 2006 10:05 AM

I, too set up Hamachi as a service on a XP Pro SP2 box. The box is on a domain. Suddenly, my print spooler service quits and I can no longer print from this box. Ideas??

Jeff

Phil
July 11, 2006 2:45 PM

Leo,

RealVNC is great software, but it's got nothing to do with VPN, except that it can use one and lots of people only use their VPNs for VNC.

Also, OpenVPN is some pretty nice VPN software, if you have the wits and means to set it up.

Phil

bacnd
August 30, 2006 7:15 AM

Me and My friend setup Hamachi complete on 2 PC. when I ping, it always request timed out, we can't browse file share. Please help me, because I do many times so not work well

joanis
September 6, 2006 1:13 AM

i cant ping other user ip address..!
tell me why...?
isn't my router problem...?

johnson764
October 26, 2006 1:14 AM

i use hamachi but my friend cant connect to my server.we install the hamachi to but still cant cinnect to my server some of my friends use only lan card easy to connect s router problem from hamachi

ozgurx
November 13, 2006 3:10 AM

i install hamachi, too. but i can't connect to other (who have hamachi,) or he can't,
how do ? use hamachi? For example cs 1.6 on lan.
He says that he dont see anybody on lan area.
pls help me.!

Frak
November 16, 2006 2:55 PM

I had a problem with very poor file/print sharing performance plus an intermittent broadband connection when having more than 11 hamachi clients running on the same lan/wlan.
Goto preferences>>status>>detailed configuration. Change the default values for 'connecting through nat'. Make each client use different ports.
The change was amazing. Performance is exaclty how you'd expect it to be.
I also think this solved my intermittent broadband connection issue as all the clients would have been trying to iopen the same ports on the router maybee.

Frak
November 16, 2006 2:56 PM

....that should be 'more than 1 (one) hamachi clients'

jem
November 23, 2006 3:02 AM

Hey, i am having a problem.

My friend and i both have hamachi, but we can't connect to each other. Is this due to the fact that we both have routers.

Anyway i really need to know

jo''
December 15, 2006 11:24 PM

i install hamachi, too. but i can't connect to other (who have hamachi,) or he can't,
how do ? use hamachi? For example cs 1.6 on lan.
He says that he dont see anybody on lan area.
pls help me.!

hamachi lies
January 12, 2007 3:16 AM

"It really is that easy." NO it is not. As you can see from the other cries for help. This POS software only works if you are very lucky. Don't believe the hype that it works for 95% of people.

Leo Notenboom
January 12, 2007 11:30 AM

Obviously, I disagree strongly with your statement. Not only has Hamachi been a great addition to my toolset, it works, and works well, for many, many others. You'll always hear from the 5% or so that have problems ... the other 95% have no need to post, as it's just working for them.

Hamachi has a very active support forum, and I encourage everyone who has difficulty with it to visit and post your scenarios there. Hit the "Support" link at http://hamachi.cc

ballstein
February 22, 2007 3:54 AM

At first I couldn't remote desktop to my PC over the Hamachi adapter over the internet (it's behind a newish Billion router). After opening the RDP 3389 port on the router and pointing it to the LAN IP of my PC, it worked. While Hamachi is great, the fact that it doesn't work with my router without opening ports means I can't have more than one PC behind the router that is open for RDP, unless I hack the registries on the others to change the RDP ports they use.

ballstein
February 22, 2007 4:15 AM

Update: Have just discovered that by setting custom TCP/UDP NAT traversal ports in Hamachi preferences, and opening those ports on the router for the LAN PC, I can remote desktop to the PC over the internet even though I've removed the RDP 3389 mapping from router. This means to have multiple PCs behind the router all accessible from the internet with RDP, all they need is their own unique TCP/UDP port in the Hamachi preferences and the respective port mapping on the router.

Leo Notenboom
February 22, 2007 11:02 AM

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I'm not sure what to tell you. If the Hamachi network is established
correctly, meaning that the machines can see each other in the hamachi
status window, and they all have green connection indicators, and they
can ping each other (right click on the machine in hamachi and select
ping), then I don't know why any additional configuration would be
needed. I've done this repeatedly, traversing routers at both ends
without ever touching the router configuration.

It might be worth your visiting the hamachi support forums.

Leo
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ardi
August 21, 2007 11:23 PM

i have a hamachi and i dont know to use it. My game is company of heoros and i will it play online and i dont have online players in my hamachi how can add some!!!!!????please help me!!!

bellyman
November 16, 2007 9:19 AM

Hi!
When i try to connect to Hamachi, it says "The Mediation server has denied your login try".

Pleas help me!

JayGreece
November 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Hey Leo and Guys..I tried using Hamachi with my brother in South Africa and me in Greece. check this out..both PC's need a password in order to connect to each other otherwise you'll get a bunch of errors arising for no reason. this worked for me so try it out. put a password to your account eg: you log in as johnsmith without a password..go to user accounts in control panel and add it.

JayGreece
November 19, 2007 1:06 PM

by the way you can use Remote Desktop Connection using the ip provided from Hamachi

CRB
February 22, 2008 7:08 AM

Very helpful programme if your router is the proper one.

I also want to use remote desktop (not only locally but also from the internet) and like steve and you say no need for port forwarding? What the biep? I have to forward that port otherwise I cannot connect from outside to my machine, also for FTP I have to forward a port to a local machine.

It's also no nonsense no config nothing? Why do I then have to have extensive router experience to work with this programme?

I was hoping that with this programme I didn't have to open any ports on my router anymore, guess again.

90, 95, 5 or 10 % ppl not telling they have a problem is not the same as the .5 percent that is telling you!

Tony Weeks
March 5, 2008 2:22 PM

My son has set up one of these Hamachi things on my computer. I am conserned that the host of this system will be able to pry into my files as the VPN is ďlike having two computers joinedĒ
Please advise on the vunerability between computers once you have allowed the software to be downloaded for running gaming

Leo A. Notenboom
March 7, 2008 10:28 AM

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Depending on how it's been set up it *could* have all the
same vulnerabilities as having a stranger's machine plugged
into your home network. Recommend you "Block vulnerable
Windows services" in Hamachi and make sure your Windows
firewall is on.

Leo

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Rick
April 10, 2008 1:42 PM

Leo,

Iím having a bit of trouble with the way Hamachi does some of their settings. For instance I had to redo my hard drive because the hard drive crashed. I lost control of my Hamachi server and canít remove unwanted or older clients that joined that network. I know what the master passwords are and have tried many times to move my old account to the new server. I would like to regain control of an older server name that I like but thatís become impossible with the way they do business. Itís very irritating that they donít go back or even have control of their own server so they that a user can put in a request to dump that server name and recreate it. If you donít have the original config files youíre pretty much screwed. Back to the issues of putting in the passwords I have tried but the system tells me Error: Failed. Please check that target account is not premium, that it does not own or participate in any networks, and that source account is not using trial premium license.

This is just the most irritating system I have ever had to try and use to get my site back. Iím a network Administrator. Iíve been doing system administration for a long time. If I ran my network and poorly as they seem to I would be out of a job. So I guess what Iím asking is have you ever run Int this type of instance and if so how did you fix it?

Thanks!

Leo A. Notenboom
April 11, 2008 7:55 AM

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Assuming I understand your question, no, I've not run into
what you are describing.

Two things to note: the "nickname" of a machine in Hamachi
doesn't need to be the machine name. Thus if you lose a
machine's Hamachi IP address (typically by rebuilding and
reinstalling Hamachi from scratch) you can simply give it
another nickname, re-join your network(s) and you're done.
This does happen to me from time to time and it's never
slowed me down.

The only time things get interesting is if you lose
"ownership" of a network. I'm about to run into that
situation as I rebuild my primary desktop. As I understand
it in a case like this Hamachi's customer support can
transfer ownership to another of your machines - but I've
not yet gone down this path.

Leo


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Rick
April 11, 2008 9:27 AM

Well thatís the problem I think you are also going to run into, I have tried to re-gain ownership of my network and run into a brick wall on doing so. Itís become increasing difficult to regain access to it. Trust me Iíve tried several times and I have sent an email to Hamachi Support group asking for them to help. So far Iíve gotten nothing out of them except silence.

This is the part thatís really confusing to me when I try to regain access to it gives me this error message. "That it does not own or participate in any networksĒ What exactly does this mean? Can I not be in my own room when Iím trying to transfer it? Iím confused about this part.

And yes I can rejoin the group but the problem is I have no control over it anymore. If I need to remove some older clients I canít. And after a while with other joining the room it can lock you down because you can only have a certain amount of clients in a room at one time. This is where the problem lies. I have no control over my own room so I can remove older clients that are no longer valid.

Thanks Leo, I would really like to see how you get yours resolved if you do. Iíll be in checking in periodically to see if anything changes.

You can reach me at this email addy if you figure it out.

Thanks!

TA
May 9, 2008 7:07 AM

I am trying to connect to two different XP Pro computers from an XP Home computer using Hamachi. I can browse one of the Pro's, but not the other. The one I can't browse gives an error message that says something like, "this login type is not allowed".

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Johan NordstrŲm
May 24, 2008 5:51 AM

hamachi sais the that i lost connection with [Email removed]server

Help me what should i do??

Mr. Saturday
June 28, 2008 10:40 AM

I've tried installing Hamachi several times, and each time I try, I get the same error message that it cannot "connect to the Hamachi server". In other words, I can't even boot up the program. I've tried disabling my firewall and everything, but nothing seems to be working. I have a DGL-4500 router, but I don't know if that would be problematic or not. Should I bypass my router by hooking up my broadband connection directly to my computer, or is it something else?

david
January 3, 2009 1:26 PM

im trying to run hamachi so i can link my laptop to my home network. but i want to do it only with one pc running hamachi at home and my laptop. my problem is i got 3 pc at home running ip rang 192.168.2.*** and only one of them running hamachi. and when i connect with my laptop when out of town i can only view that one pc at home running hamachi and not the rest of my network. i want to get this working with only hamachio running on one pc at home. any ideas?

You need Hamachi running on each machine you want to see.
- Leo
04-Jan-2009

Sean
January 25, 2009 1:56 PM

Hi,
Read yur article and now Im trying out Hamachi for the first time as me & some friends were trying to come up with the easiest way to file share...Its set up on 3 machines, firewall access granted etc & tested the pings & chat to make sure it works & its fine. However when tryig to browse other machines, a logon prompt appears with 'the machine name'\guest and the password prompt. (eg. Gail\Guest)and we are unable to connect using NT passwords for machines... I assumed it defaulted to Guest user, but enabling guest account returns a promt saying address is not accessible. We've removed all Nt passwords from machines & still no luck. I dont know which password i'm supposed to input. Any help.

Urgent!!!

Vicki
March 3, 2009 11:00 AM

I am having a bit of trouble with Hamachi and remote desktop. I can remote out from one of my computers but can'r remote in to it. I am sure it is just a setting but not sure how to fix it, please help?

Jim Clark
July 4, 2009 4:38 PM

I'm wondering if I can do the following with Hamachi.

I travel a lot. I have access to free WiFi at my travel location. I want to access internet and e-mail remotely and securely through my home PC and see it on my travel Windows XP Home Edition laptop.

At home I have both a Ubuntu 9.04 PC and a Windows XP (Home Edition) PC running through a router. I know that Hamachi has a Linux version that might run on my Ubuntu machine.

Can I use Hamachi to run (or view) a secure internet on my laptop through one of the two home machines?

Even if I have to run the internet remotely at home by using my laptop as a remote "terminal", I would consider this a success.

Bobby
July 28, 2009 7:02 AM

In my case, actually I can connect to my server but through server IP address not Server name like \\myserver so I can like to exchange server or create map network drive.the Login widows showed and I login as my domain and account name and saved it.I was wondering if could get any reply.
thanks.
Bobby

Anthony
August 12, 2009 4:19 AM

hi there, i have a problem that i find hard to solve and people also find it hard to help me, i run a wireless network in my town and its being used now by over 300 people now the problem i have is most games they cant play cuase they cant see each other when joining a game over lan like COd4,5 they can just add a ip in of the host and join any server hosting the game but then u get games like your normal lan games that cant be joint like that and hamachi could work great for that the problem is hamachi needs to be connected to the internet to work and we are not using the internet, how can i get this people connected so that they can play anygame over the wireless connection ?

Tom Baker
February 9, 2010 6:46 PM

I have hamachi installed and when i try to connect with friend he gets a yellow triagle by my name that say i'm not part of the vpn network.
We can send messages back and forth(chat) but that's it. I'm using the free version just so you know annd also Kaspersky 2010 internet security and It says hamachi is a trusted program.

john
December 7, 2010 12:54 PM

could you put hamachi on a public computer and connect to your own? would you still be vulnerable to spyware/keylogger on public pc

Yes, you could still be vulnerable to malware on that computer, and in fact your own machine could become infected.
Leo
07-Dec-2010

KBARRON
September 14, 2011 7:03 PM

Alright, Im tryn to play DIRT 2 on my PC
via Hamachi. But I get [No Season Found]
every time I try the LAN in the game.

Everything is setup the way it should be, as far as I know, but i dont know why this keeps happening? Please help.

daniel beckman
September 24, 2011 8:17 AM

When trying to access my home computer it always asks me for a Network Password, but my home network password does not work. Help. I cant remotely access my home computer

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