I need a remote access app recommendation

By Lightingbird ยท 6 replies
Jul 11, 2009
  1. I'm trying a small business venture and I need to be able to access some pc's remotely. This will be tier3 level stuff so it would be a pure nightmare to try and walk these end users through steps for full support. So I'm looking for something that is simple and easy to use. Maybe something I can send to them by email and they can download, go to a certain website so I can get access, or anything that is not a hassle.

    I'm considering the following:

    Logmein - I like this setup and don't mind paying but they can be very expensive. I'd prefer free or low cost but they seem to be the most expensive so far.

    RDM+ - I have some of their software on my blackberrys for personal use to access my own computers remotely. They work great. Although I'm not familiar with their PC remote support.

    VLC - I use this at my job but not sure if I can use it on my own. I'd love to be able to just perhaps purchase a program and use it on my own with no monthly charge but that might not be realistic.

    Netmeeting or Livemeeting - We use this as a last resort at my job to access remote employees company machines. Not sure if their is a way to use these programs for the same purpose.

    Any ideas or recommendations?
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    For remote tech support, you want it to be as easy as possible for the client user. That means using any program that requires port forwarding is out the window (must have NAT traversal), IMO. That excludes many remote support programs. Because of the *kind* of work I do, I also need safe mode support.

    Best payware option:
    I haven't used the *full* version, but I'm going to speak highly of it based on what I've read. Teamviewer (VNC based) is probably the nicest way to do this. It includes NAT traversal, runs in safe mode, has many features, a polished interface, multi-platform support and can be setup for 1-click support. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive for the payware version (which is what you need for nat traversal)...

    Best free option:
    UltraVNC is probably the best *free* Windows-based solution (VNC itself is multi-platform though). Teamviewer is actually based on UltraVNC. It includes NAT traversal for Windows PCs, safe mode support (if you follow some steps), does just about anything you'd need it to do and can be setup for 1-click support.

    What's involved:
    You run the software in server listen mode on your computer and forward the VNC port on your network. The client double-clicks on the pre-configured client software they downloaded from your website, email etc.. (no installation necessary). It establishes a connection to your computer (you have to accept) and that's it -- you have control of their computer.

    If you need access to safe mode on the client computer, you can use the aboe to establish a connection. Once you're in, install the full version of UltraVNC as a service on the client's computer while logged in. From there, take care of the port forwarding stuff on their router, jot down their IP address and add a quick key to the registry to load the winvnc service in safe mode. Reboot and you now have persistent access to their computer, including safe mode and restarts.

    To get UltraVNC up and running, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, but you do need to forward ports 5500/5900 on your router (an inescapable drawback with any remote software), configure the client (web configurator simplifies it) and go through some rigmarole for safe mode support. It will be very easy for your clients though, which is the important part.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I haven't yet tried Rick or Matthew's suggestions.. but i do use (and like) LogMeIn free.

    Pro: Easy to install and maintain. Haven't had any problems using it. In fact, is often easier to use/manage then pcAnywhere (which is fee based)

    Con: While you do get lots of remote functionality for free, of course, you don't get everything in their free version. But i think the only nice feature missing is file transfer using the remote access tool. So instead i simply setup a freeware FTP server on the machines as well, if needed. ALFTP
  5. NunjaBusiness

    NunjaBusiness TS Rookie Posts: 36

    Crossloop anyone?

    Can't believe no one mentioned crossloop
    Absolutely dead easy to use - goes through/around routers and FWs, allows file transfer and more. Oh yeah - free.

    That said, if it is a client that I will need to access REGULARLY, I am 100% agreed with "lookinaround" that logmein free gives you all you need, less file transfer (always a way around that).

    I use (for work) a custom-built UltraVNC single-click program that I build specially for each of my techs. RemoteZilla - is fast, powerful and also dead easy to configure. It is not cheap but it is very nice.
  6. Lightingbird

    Lightingbird TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    Crossloop looks perfect. Thanks so much for that. I had no idea that existed. Very nice app. I made a profile to use and I guess a person just inputs my name and then it arranges the connection?

    I'd still like to use VNC but I was wondering is there anyway I can preconfigure a setup vnc for the customer? Say for example, I preset it up. Then email it to them and then can remote into their machine with a simple install on their end? I'd just like to have a backup. Netmeeting has always been my backup for years but is not all that great when dealing with peoples routers.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    The answer? :)

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