HOW TO USE: Control Your Desktop from Your 95LX with pcANYWHERE

Use your HP 95LX, a modem, pcANYWHERE and SuperKey to access and run your desktop PC wherever you are.

By J.D. Fleming, Jr.

pcANYWHERE 4.5 is remote access software that makes it possible for you to run a PC-compatible "host" computer from an HP 95LX or another "remote" computer. For example, while traveling you could connect a modem to your 95LX and access your office desktop computer. You would be able to remotely control the office PC to run programs on the desktop, or transfer files back and forth between the desktop and the 95LX.

The host computer (your desktop PC) runs the main pcANYWHERE program. The package comes with AWREMOTE, a communications script designed for the remote computer. Unfortunately, AWREMOTE does not work on the 95LX. I used the 95LX's COMM program with VT100 terminal emulation.

Setting Up the Host Computer

Only one change is necessary in the host configuration (using pcANYWHERE 4.5). Go to the host menu, select View/Modify List of Callers, and select the caller designation to be used. Then go into the Caller Information screen and use the same default settings except for the Terminal Type setting. Change that one to Ask Caller, which lets you select the terminal emulation you desire. If you intend to use only the VT100 emulation offered by the HP 95LX COMM program, set the Terminal Type to VT100/200 instead of Ask Caller.

The Ask Caller setting and other terminal settings such as VT100/200 are entirely different from the AWREMOTE default setting. Since the non-standard serial port of the 95LX won't allow it to run AWREMOTE, it can't be used with the 4.03 LAN version of pcANYWHERE, the last one I tested, because that version doesn't allow selection of a non-AW remote. However, the freestanding version of PcANYWHERE can be used on a terminal in a LAN to access the network through that terminal. That is the way I use pcANYWHERE.

Getting it to Work on the 95LX

pcANYWHERE must be running the host (PC) computer back in your office before you can make the remote connection. When the remote calls in, the host asks the caller to press (ENTER). When this is done, a list of terminal types appears and the user selects the one to be used. The only emulation I have tried is VT100 /200, since the 95LX and portables I use provide VT100 emulation with the built-in communications software.

Making the Connection

The VT emulations have a significant disadvantage in that they do not transmit the F-keys, which are required for many of the programs the caller will want to use on the host. For example, if you're running WordPerfect remotely on the host, you can't use any of WordPerfect's Function Key commands.

In order to get around this, I load the SuperKey macro program with pcANYWHERE on the host. I assign F-keys to control characters, so that sending the control character from the remote causes execution of the assigned F-key on the host. I assume any macro program will do as well, and it may well be that other terminal emulations will avoid this difficulty, but I have not tried any besides the VT emulations.

The 95LX COMM configuration used to connect the 95LX with the pcANYWHERE host is 8 Char, 1 Stop, Parity None, Emulate VT100. You also need the phone number of the pcANYWHERE host in the dial number field. When the configuration has been set in COMM, press (MENU) Connect, and the 95LX calls the host. When the connection has been made, wait patiently because the connection takes several seconds to get going. With Ask Caller, the host will request the user to press (ENTER) as the first step. If the Terminal Type is set to a specific type, the first step is for the host to ask for the password, which is set in the Caller Information screen on the host during its setup.


My most frequent use of pcANYWHERE is to connect with my office Email system, which runs WordPerfect Office. I use the following key assignments with SuperKey on the host to provide the functions required for E-mail. (The ^ symbol indicates pressing and holding down (CTRL).)

List Files ^L (F5) Help ^B (F3)

Backspace Bksp Options ^C (ShftF8)

Delete ^D Esc ^E (ESC)

Retrieve ^F (ShftF10) Quit ^Q (F7)

Save ^K (F10) Transmit ^T (F9)

Undelete ^U (F1) Go back ^G (ShftF3)

Name search ^P (F2) Page up ^N (PGUP)

Page down ^O (PGDN) CursLeft ^A (CRSLFT)

CursRight ^S (CRSRT) Cursor up ^W (CRSUP)

CursDown ^Z (CRSDWN)

The batch file, which goes into E-mail after the pcANYWHERE connection is completed, loads this SuperKey file automatically. Many TSR programs will interfere with pcANYWHERE if they are loaded before the pcANYWHERE host-to-remote connection is made. If they are loaded after the connection is made, they are much more likely to run successfully. SuperKey is an example.

Communications programs normally transmit the cursor control keys properly. However, the 95LX has a non-standard 16-line-by-40-column screen and uses the cursor keys to move to off-screen portions of the display. The VT100 emulation in COMM does not transmit a keycode when the cursor keys are pressed. I tried disabling the cursor tracking on the 95LX and still had no luck using the 95LX cursor keys to control the host.

To get around this, I use SuperKey to define control-key combinations to activate cursor movement on the host. The key combinations I've chosen are reminiscent of WordStar's cursor control keys; ^W ((Ctrl)-W) on the 95LX causes a cursor up on the host, ^A a cursor left, ^S a cursor right, and ^Z a cursor down.

Transferring Files

I transfer files using XMODEM on the 95LX, and the AWSEND program that comes with pcANYWHERE on the host. I connect the host and remote, and activate XMODEM from the 95LX: Press (COMM) (MENU) Transfer XMODEM Receive file.ext (or whatever the filename is.) Then, from the 95LX I remotely go to the C:\ prompt of the host (desktop) computer and type the following: awsend file.ext from host to remote. When I press (ENTER), the host computer begins sending FILE.EXT to the remote Palmtop. I could reverse the process by telling XMODEM to Send the file instead of receiving it and by typing awsend file.exe from remote to host on the host. Since XMODEM works well, I have not tried Kermit or ZMODEM. (For more on using XMODEM on the 95LX, see page 31-14 of the HP 95LX User's Guide.)

Another minor point: The 95LX screen does not clear before overwriting during communications. This leaves characters from the previous screen still present unless the new line is long enough to overwrite those characters. I have found this only to be a nuisance.

[Editors Note: The 95LX does not display CGA, EGA, or VGA graphics. If the screen display of the program running on the host requires these modes, you won't be able to see it on the 95LX's screen. In addition, programs configured to display in color may not display properly on the 95LX's monochrome screen. Finally, you may also encounter some word wrapping problems, due to the 95LX's 40 column screen.]

I Don't Have to Lug a Laptop Around Anymore!

The need for a key translator and the limitations imposed by the 95LX's 40x16 display may lead many to reject this approach. However, my goal was to avoid having to lug along a laptop and charger on every trip. I have found the 95LX, a small modem and a serial cable to be a vast improvement. This has allowed me to connect up with and control my office desktop computer on trips across the U.S. I have also used this arrangement with reasonable success when traveling abroad.