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Simple, Free Web Remote PC Control?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the remote-viewing-the-cia-way dept.

GUI 454

MeatballCB writes "Hey folks. Being the 'technical' guy of the family, I often get calls from friends and family members when they're having PC issues. Most of these folks are not technical, so trying to troubleshoot problems over the phone can often be a challenge. Anyone know of a simple-to-use and (preferably) free service that would allow for remote viewing/control of their PCs? I know there's WebEx and GoToMyPC, but I hate to pay for something I'd use once every two months. I also know about VNC, but trying to walk someone through opening up ports on their router that thinks their Internet is broken when their homepage gets changed is not realistic. Anyone know of anything that would be easy to set up and use?"

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454 comments

logmein.com (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196516)

It's a free service for home use. QED.

If you're so good with IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196738)

then it shouldn't be very hard to fix their problems. Why are you fussing? If you can't then tell them to go away. Take a stand! Buzz off grandma!

Re:If you're so good with IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196958)

then it shouldn't be very hard to fix their problems. Why are you fussing? If you can't then tell them to go away. Take a stand! Buzz off grandma!

Yes, but then she will break down and cry, and threaten to cut me out of her will.

Re:logmein.com (3, Informative)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197010)

It's a free service for home use. QED.

It works well, too, but can be a bit slow. Also like most VNCs there is no audio support but for remote troubleshooting it should be fine. Give it a go. Find it here [logmein.com]

Re:logmein.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197036)

I would just like to second LogMeIn along with everyone else. I have the free version installed on 4 computers, without a single problem. I've used it over 2 years now. I haven't found the need to upgrade to the Pro version, as Free does most everything you need in terms of remote support.

LogMeIn (5, Informative)

hroo772 (900089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196520)

I'm a big fan of LogMeIn Free. It's pretty easy to setup, and it gives you access to the pc through any browser. You don't have to worry about port issues or anything. I think it's what you should really look into using.

Re:LogMeIn (3, Funny)

andy666 (666062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196776)

Often, if I am eating chinese food for dinner, lomein, for example, I'll use logmein to login to my work computer. The manual in german was very controversial, as it was called "logmeinkamp". Then there was the porn that it came with as a "trojan", titled "Me Log is In ".

Re:LogMeIn (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196878)

Yeah, we can close this thread at this point - logmein takes it easily. I've been using it for several years. The free version does practically everything you need for remote. Heck I even use it from PC to PC in the house since MS decided to hobble vista home premium by not including remote terminal. An, no, I can't hack in the version from pro - these are "production" machines that my wife and daughter rely on for entertainment. The ugliest, angriest CEO in the world has nothing on my wife if The Mentalist doesn't record properly.

I'm trying to figure out Hamachi for VPN so I can access my home server when I'm on the road. I haven't had time to figure it out - it's not quite as straight forward as logmein, which takes effectively zero learning curve.

Netmeeting? (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197032)

I have never used any of that newfangled remote desktop stuff that MS shoved in everyone's faces. Netmeeting was no longer linked anywhere in a stock XP install, but the executable was still there:

C:\Program Files\NetMeeting\conf.exe

That's what I've been using for a decade or more and all my machines are still 2k or XP. Is that no longer present in Vista or 7? You do have to set up port forwarding for 3 different ports in your LAN router though, so that's a little extra effort. What I REALLY miss is the behavior of Netmeeting in the early versions of 2k. You could set up port forwarding for one single machine, then log into that machine and start another session within the original to connect to a different machine inside the LAN. It was like daisychaining SSH sessions, but with pretty pictures. Apparently someone decided it was a bad idea because one of the service packs broke it and you could no longer start Netmeeting from within a Netmeeting session.

Re:LogMeIn (1)

barbergeek (1131269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197078)

Ditto that. I've used it for years. Easy enough for your grandmother to install (with you walking her through it) so that you can fix her computer without that quick trip to California. Firewall transparent. Works like a champ.

LogMeIn (1)

Khris (1010709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196544)

I've been using LogMeIn for both Mac and Windows machines and have had zero problems. Works through corporate firewalls and very little to setup and maintain. There is a free option, as well as paid options which give you more functionality.

Re:LogMeIn (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196742)

I came here to suggest LogMeIn. I can't get Back To My Mac to work from behind my router, but LogMeIn works like a charm.

Re:LogMeIn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196754)

Ditto!

I've been using LogMeIn for over a year now, having switched from GoToMyPC, which is a fine product but doesn't have a free version. I first set up LogMeIn up at home and soon after, when my friends GoToMyPC contract expired, I set up LogMeIn in his office with great results.

I have used LogMeIn to support my daughter's iMac and Windows XP laptop in her dorm room at college, and also supported a friend of my Mother-in-law who is retired but sells on eBay. LogMeIn provides excellent host-based security - even including one-time pads - and isn't very expensive for commercial use (Hint - look for the package pricing). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Teamviewer (4, Informative)

Myrkul23 (836191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196546)

I've found that teamviewer is the easiest way to connect without having to go through setting up port forwarding

Re:Teamviewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196628)

+1, very easy to use and convenient

Re:Teamviewer (3, Informative)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196650)

I also use Teamviewer. It's free for noncommercial use, does the whole port forwarding stuff for you. You don't have to know the IP-Address of the target PC - just a unique ID number and a (temporary) password. The servers of the company will keep track on which ID belongs to which IP-Adress, which very convenient for people with dynamic IPs. This feature can of course be turned off, if you want to do this stuff yourself. It also has a included chat-program to allow you to exchange messages. Good to keep the phone bill small.

Re:Teamviewer (1)

aerivus (1658465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196744)

I use LogMeIn free and teamviewer. With all remote support tools, you have to get the user on the remote PC to activate/setup the remote connection, and in this area Teamviewer is faster and easier. Like Logmein it plays well with Windows Vista and 7's User Account Control, and like Logmein you can do Windows -> Mac remote control and the reverse. Unlike LogmeIn Free, Teamviewer enables file transfers (with low overhead). Finally neither require any router/port forwarding configuration, building a custom executable, etc. Remember one of the most important criteria for a remote support tool is ease of setup for the person being helped.

Re:Teamviewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196918)

I use TeamViewer as well. I don't think it gets any simpler than TV. RSA encryption, simple user id and randomly generated password.

Re:Teamviewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197066)

+1 here. I've tried all sorts and Teamviewer is absolutely the best.

Skype? (1)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196554)

The latest version of Skype is suppose to be able to share a desktop (they call it "screen sharing" http://www.skype.com/download/skype/windows/ [skype.com])

Re:Skype? (1)

kazbah (600283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196724)

I second this. I do remote support for friends and family in a number of different countries running Windows and Mac. It used to be a pain supporting both platforms but the latest version of Skype has been brilliant.

Free remote control software (2, Informative)

MTTECHYBOY (799778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196562)

I have had good success with TeamViewer (http://teamviewer.com/index.aspx) and no, I don't work for them..It is free for non-commercial use

UltraVNC single-click (5, Informative)

um_atrain (810963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196566)

UltraVNC single click. Its a reverse VNC, designed for this purpose. They double click the executable, and then automatically connects to your listening client.

Its customizable so you can make it look professional if needed. They only have to run the file, it does everything else.

Re:UltraVNC single-click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196682)

UltraVNC single click. Its a reverse VNC, designed for this purpose. They double click the executable, and then automatically connects to your listening client.

Its customizable so you can make it look professional if needed. They only have to run the file, it does everything else.

one more vote

$125.00 per hour (5, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196694)

It fixed my problems instantly when I quoted them my rate. I got tired of being abused by people who refused to learn how the system worked. This was a directed refusal they take pride in. I made my point that I was not longer their slave. Now they get to pay someone who likes the abuse. I would point out the relationship has a whiff of BDSM but they'd not understand that either.

Re:UltraVNC single-click (1)

alanshot (541117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196732)

I tried it for XP and its AMAZING when paired with dyndns.org.

However it is totally useless for Vista and higher due to video driver issues. When I attempted to use it on a vista PC, I would literally only get screen updates every 10-30 seconds. Needless to say it wasnt practical. I felt like I was operating the mars rover (click... wait, wait, wait, click... wait, wait wait. etc)

Its a known issue that at last count they were working on a fix for (which involved downloading and installing a driver on the fly, then uninstalling it as the program closed)

if they can get the new vista/7 driver issues resolved that would be my recommendation.

Re:UltraVNC single-click (1)

bu1137 (979245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196864)

This is fixed in the current version. The problem was aero, which is now automatically disabled.

Re:UltraVNC single-click (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197024)

the automatic disabling of aero is a good thing, is it now disabled in the executable run the remote client?

I've been having my clients disable both aero and uac (uac kills the ultravnc session for many important dialog boxes)

Re:UltraVNC single-click (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196780)

I use it extensively but seem to have problems with Vista. The initial screen shows but updates don't show from that point on. I think UAC doesn't work correctly across the SC client either, which is rather important given what you are doing... any suggestions?

UltraVNC Single Click works behind most SOHO NATs (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196848)

I was going to suggest UltraVNC Single Click also.

To clarify a bit, it's not the same as regular VNC. You don't need to install anything, just click on the .exe.

Also, it works by creating an outbound TCP connection. So, the remote computer support has to have port forwarding setup, but the person sharing doesn't need to do anything with their router (assuming a standard SOHO router with NAT).

UltraVNC does work with Vista, but I can't comment on Single Click paired with Vista.

Re:UltraVNC single-click (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196870)

Another vote for UltraVNC single click.
For the Linux users you can so the same thing with a one line X11vnc command. I like to add it to a menu item on the Linux machines I set up for people.

I suggest... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196570)

...You look at these two:

http://www.teamviewer.com
http://www.logmein.com

They are not complicated at all and they can save you lots of transport hassles.

free remote control (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196572)

For the occasional remote support sessions I need I use TeamViewer (teamviewer.com) - it's free for evaluation/personal use and doesn't need the 'supportee' to install anything, just run the executable.

Definitely use Logmein. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196574)

I can go through my nasty work proxy and get to my PC at home with it, not as fast as RDP but that is understandable.
The feature set is pretty good, does multiple monitors, you can adjust the quality and resolution all in the free version, just requires you sign up for an account. Also seems to be no limit how many machines you can add.

Crossloop or Teamviewer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196578)

I've used Crossloop (http://www.crossloop.com/) and TeamViewer (http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx) with good success. The client only has to run an exe, give you their address code over the phone, and accept your session. Simple enough for my mom.

Teamviewer! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196588)

Teamviewer has an EXCELLENT setup for this kind of this, I use it several times a week for family PC control. Great for one time use (the instant support module) or install it permanently on the PCs you need access to and one-click in whenever you need. Full version totally free for noncommercial use.

http://www.teamviewer.com

VNC is the way ... (5, Informative)

Tux2000 (523259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196592)

... you just need to know that your friends (and family members) DO NOT need to mess with their routers. Just YOUR router needs to open a single port (5500/tcp) and forward it to your workstation. Make your friends run the VNC server as usual, start the VNC client on your workstation in LISTENER mode, tell your friends to select "add new client" from the VNC server icon context menu, and make them enter your IP or dyndns address into the popup dialog.

(Technically, this swaps the roles of client and server on the TCP level, but VNC still behaves as expected.)

Tux2000

Re:VNC is the way ... (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196794)

Exactly what I was going to say. I've been providing support this way for years, it's free and works extremely well even when I'm on the other side of the planet.

Reverse VNC? (1, Redundant)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196612)

I also know about VNC, but trying to walk someone through opening up ports on their router that thinks their Internet is broken when their homepage gets changed is not realistic.

Why don't you just use Reverse VNC so you're the one who has to setup ports? RealVNC provides an easy option for Windows users to "Add a New Client":
Using WinVNC [realvnc.com]

Crossloop (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196616)

Crossloop. Seriously. You don't need to create an account, you can just close the login window and still use the application. It's free, never had any spyware or adware in the past. (I haven't checked it recently)

We used this at work and I use this at home. It's secure because the application doesn't run as a service, you need a unique code every time you connect to a client and they need to authorize you. It's based on VNC.

If you can't get someone to install Crossloop to help them, you might as well them tell to bring their computer over or send it to a shop because it's that easy.

make them do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196618)

try http://xkcd.com/627/ will allow them to do some trouble shooting themselves, if they have problems with flow charts send them this http://xkcd.com/518/

what OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196620)

the guy i sold my laptop to frequently needs help and i just use windows remote assistance to help him. it's very easy to use.

UltraVNC Single-Click (2, Informative)

bu1137 (979245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196664)

With UltraVNC Single-Click, you can give them a smallish program to run and click. No need for opening ports or anything, as the connection is initiated from their side. For this to work, only you need to open and forward a port on your side (and have ultravnc listen server running).
http://forum.ultravnc.info/viewtopic.php?t=15865&sid=b6c0c94c99f3095d318eace245e09b49 [ultravnc.info]

The single-click program could be easier to use, though...

Re:UltraVNC Single-Click (1)

Earlyworm (994549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197028)

The single-click program could be easier to use, though...

Then it is not living up to its name I guess..

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196672)

I also give Log me in! the nod. I actually have it running and/or installed on my relatives and friends pcs- none of them use macs. it does the basic job. even if i need a file transferred i can email it to my gmail account or download a file from their end on the appropriate website. it is never easy to tell someone over the phone how to kill off a trojan/install antivirus/get a printer to print/
the ONLY time there is an issue? When their computer won't connect! (but then you're screwed no matter what)

Definitely Crossloop (2, Informative)

LoganTeamX (738778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196678)

We use Crossloop to support our international, non VLAN-connected users worldwide. Even on fractional T1s it works nicely. I'd recommend it for sure. I've even used it from home to connect to family members, both over cable ISP feeds with maybe 640kbit upload at each end - it works well then, too.

Teamviewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196688)

Teamviewer works great for me and is free for non-commercial use.

You just install the client on your machine, they download an executable and give you the number and boom, connected.

It also lets you scale their screen in case they have a gynormous monitor for whatever reason.

VNC SC...so easy, my parents can do it! (2, Informative)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196690)

UltraVNC SC is what you need.
Check it out here! [uvnc.com]

If you're doing this over your residential connection or if you might be in different locations, set yourself up with a dynamic DNS service (such as www.dyndns.org) and create yourself a hostname on there. Build your VNC-SC download to point to that address.

I have mine set up on my family website where they can download it easily so I don't have to drive over to their house every time they can't print.

LMI and Mikogo (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196704)

I usually use either LogMeIn, or Mikogo. Mikogo is much more powerful and entirely free. The downside is that its a little clunky to use. LMI just works, but the free version is missing a number of awesome tools that the pro/ITReach versions have - like being able to remotely reboot machines you can't connect to, etc.

SSH port forwarding (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196706)

Just install some sort of ssh server on all their computers, open port 22, and you are good to go. Cygwin might be a good way to get a no cost ssh server that runs as a Windows service, if your family is still using Windows.

built into windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196708)

windows remote desktop - why would you need anything else?

Re:built into windows (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196904)

Because your target has any windows home version, which does not have it installed.

Re:built into windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196954)

It does, but it's called Windows Remote Support or something similar.

Works well with MSN messenger.

Well, this one says it works http://remotevnc.org/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196716)

I face the same problem, and I found this just a couple of days ago, I can't tell you how it works yet.

Besides this I was thinking a single installer which installed (this can be done with innosetup for example)
1.- OpenVPN Gui for windows and tightvnc (for example)
2.- A simple pre-configured file to connect to a public IP+Port on the internet (for. ex your-helping-son.no-ip.org port 443)
3.- Connect the openvpn to the end-point and lanunc the vnc listener manually.
4.- Once the connection is done you can access directly his/her pc with tightvnc / rdesktop / etc.

Problems, this is theory, and it has to be build, and I haven't built it

In theory theory and practice have no differences, in practice they have....

SSH+VNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196718)

I was trying to setup something to let me fix me girlfriend's brother's PC. In the end I setup an SSH server on my network, and sent him a registry file which setup putty to login to my server usin an SSH key. It required a bit of guiding over the phone but got meant that the only firewall config was to run an SSH server my end.

ShowMyPC.com (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196728)

Completely free VNC-based service. You both download a Windows program. Your remote user runs the show my pc part of the program; you use the view remote pc part. The remote party gets a key generated that you use on your side, which then opens a VNC session between the computers. No muss, no fuss at all. Delete the little downloaded app on either side when you're done.

Netbus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196730)

For the real pros

I use CoPilot (1)

greggman (102198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196758)

I use CoPilot.com [copilot.com] as they claim it works from anywhere. Other solutions will only work under the right conditions. (ie, their network is configured correctly, your network is configured correctly, you're not working from a hotel or airport, they are not at starbucks, etc...)

That's because if CoPilot can't setup a direct connection between the 2 computers it can route the traffic through their computers.

Um, I don't know if is what you want... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196762)

I have a linux laptop (an older 1.x GHz model) sitting at home running Ubuntu. I have port 443 (?) open on my firewall and forwarded to an ssh client on that laptop. I simply connect via ssh to the home IP address and am able to VNC or RDP into whatever computer. (This is me using VNC into my wife's Vista desktop.)

http://www.perfectreign.com/stuff/2009/20090920_vnc_lilly.jpg

It is free and works 100% of the time.

Remote Assistance (4, Informative)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196772)

For a couple of family members I support I find the Remote Assistance function (essentially Remote Desktop with a different make-up job) works fine. They have MSN Messenger (or Live Messenger, or what-ever it is branded as today) accounts as do I so all they have to do is click select "request remote assistance" from the "activity" menu. You will need to have port 3389 pointing open at your firewall and pointing to the machine you will be answering the call on though, which is a disadvantage (make sure all your passwords are well chosen!), but the other end doesn't need any open ports.

Pre XP I had OpenVPN and VNC installed on their machines. All they had to do was open the VPN and I could take/share control via VNC. RDC/RA works better though, as it is more responsive over slow ADSL lines and does not require any setup on the machine the person is asking for support on, though for family members who I have built machines for still have the VPN installed so I can connect it if I want/need to try interact with the machine by anything other than the RA connection (accessing fileshares directly for instance, if the problem being reported is "I can see the MP3s on the main machine from my laptop" or such), but I've not needed to do that for some time.

Re:Remote Assistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196982)

Mod up. The built-in tools in Windows work great. (opening a port is not necessary with upnp.) There's no need for a third-party tool for windows-to-windows support.

TeamViewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196786)

TeamViewer.com

Crossloop plus an audio tool (2, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196792)

I suggest using Crossloop for the remote screen control. It is like VNC, in fact it is based on VNC, but it uses it's own code and Crossloop server to bypass any problems of getting past NAT routers, which often present a problem for novice users to configure properly and safely for VNC services. Crossloop offers no voice connection, so also use a high quality audio link like Google Talk, or just keep them on the phone. In trying to figure out a way to become profitable, Crossloop has taken to marketing it's members "services" to others, but they have (IMHO) gone over to the dark side by putting themselves in league with PayPal (who are in turned owned by an electronic fencing organization). But users don't have to participate in this, it's still available for free private use.

NTRconnect.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196816)

NTRconnect.com [ntrconnect.com] It works through proxies and NAT without doing port forwarding, because of using their own servers. It has full Windows and Mac support, and also support controlling remote Linux machines.

Zolved (1)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196820)

If you can set it up beforehand, use UltraVNC single-click.

If you haven't had time to do the setup, point your friend or family member to http://www.zolved.com/rc [zolved.com]. They provide a simple exe to download.

The software is basically UltraVNC, but using Zolved servers as a proxy. (yes, this means you have to trust Zolved.com not to spy on you.)

VNC is the way to go (1)

B33RM17 (1243330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196830)

Its stupidly simple, I taught a friend how to use TightVNC in 5 minutes.

Personally, I use Hamachi, a VPN client version of LogMeIn, so all my friends and I are on our own personal network and we can file share amongst ourselves.
Along with it I use TightVNC along with their Hamachi address which remains a static address to remote into their PC.

No guess work. Works brilliantly. Mainly use it to remotely manage my desktop though :-P

Crossloop is simple (3, Informative)

TheCow (191714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196836)

I like Crossloop. It is setup as a Support site, but you/they don't pay anything unless you charge for support. There is a simple website to point the people to to request support.

back orifice (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196844)

I seem to remember back orifice did a pretty good job of remote controlling widoze boxes. :)

Leafnode + VNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196856)

You could use Leafnode (which is free and pretty simple to configure) on both ends to set up a VPN, then use VNC/Remote Desktop. Leafnode uses NAT traversal, so no ports need to be opened, and it allows direct PC to PC comms. My son uses it for PC gaming with his friends (Warzone/AoE) and I don't have to fiddle with my firewall.

Teamviewer (1)

eld101 (1566533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196886)

teamview.... Even my grandpa can do it.

Re:Teamviewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196956)

I use it regularly with some 70's oldies without a glitch
Only problem for me, it as no Linux client, so I need to fire up a Win7 on Virtualbox to help my poor xp, vista, and windows 7 friends

Microsoft Live Mesh.... (2, Interesting)

mitchdbx (914356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196902)

I have a similar issue and have found that MS Live Mesh, and I think that it is a great solution to your issue. It will allow you to control any PC in your mesh from any other PC, and remotely via a web browser. You can easily share documents on each of the machines as well, a nice solution for backing up your own data. Finally, you have he software works on Windows and OSX; however, you can only sync files to a Mac. It would appear that they are working on being able to control a Mac remotely.

Re:Microsoft Live Mesh.... (1)

mitchdbx (914356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196922)

Of course there is the question of why you don't just use remote desktop on each of the machines.....

i'm going to continue to shit all over slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196912)

faggots! you'll never stop me. your little threads belong to me. you'll do what i fucking tell you to do and nothing else. faggot bitches.

Netmeeting (1)

jrobot (1239050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196926)

If they're running XP/2000, netmeeting. Takes less than a minute to explain how to launch & configure.

Setup the port forwarding in advance (in person) (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30196940)

and use VNC. Its open (nonproprietary) free, there are multiple implementations for multiple platforms.

Better yet, install (your preferred linux distribution) and VirtualBox on their machine, and install (their preferred consumer-grade unstable bloatware OS) in a virtual machine, then setup ssh (and a portforward). Then you can ssh in, and then use VirtualBox's built-in VNC service.

Re:Setup the port forwarding in advance (in person (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197002)

Or (as others have suggested) use 'reverse VNC', where the machine being remote-controlled connects *to* the remote controller machine (and you forward the ports at your end).

Telepathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196948)

Newer versions of Telepathy / Empathy include an option share your desktop over telepathy tubes. IIRC tubes first try various NAT hole-punching techniques (UPnP, STUN, TURN, etc.), and fall back on XMPP in-band bytestreams (base64 encoded streams over the same channel you're sending instant messages).

Copilot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196972)

Copilot [copilot.com] (from Joel of Joel on Software [joelonsoftware.com] fame) just works. I give my family a code, they type it into the website and download and run the .exe.

If you like, they can hang on to that .exe file and reuse it next time (so long as you also keep your corresponding helper .exe).

It's free at weekends; the rest of the time it's very cheap (and pay-as-you-go, so no monthly subscription - you just pay for the minutes you use).

LogMe In is the way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30196980)

I have to agree with hroo772. LogMe in is the way to go. It is free easy and secure with 256AES encryption. It lets me organize my PCs in different categories i.e. family, friends, mine etc. I love it and again best thing is it is free and all you need is a client installed on the remote PC. I like to keep a copy of the install program on the public folder on my drop box so they can just click on the install and I can walk them through it. Check it out!

showmypc (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197042)

www.showmypc.com

no install, download and run one file so easy to talk them through.

free too!

I use it all the time and not having to actually install or configure anything is a killer feature. The only situation where this fails is if the user doesn't have admin rights as it needs to run a SSH server (I noticed this on some corporate builds).

Oh this is assuming its wintel of course. If its linux then they can probably handle themselves and if its OSX then it wouldn't break ;)

Skyfex!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197052)

Skyfex.com is free, lets you watch the screen infinitely (only 5 minutes of control for free) and doesn't need to install anything but IE ActiveX controls!!!
By far, better than LogMeIn. It doesn't need client apps running and all that garbage

VPN / Remote Desktop (1)

notailmouse (1376145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197054)

COMODO Easy VPN Its free and has remote desktop features built in. Also since its a vpn it works as if the connected computer is on a the same network and transfers file the same way. Also you dont have to configure your router to use it. http://easy-vpn.comodo.com/ [comodo.com] that's the home page.

Messenger (1)

Jesterace (914041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30197058)

If they're running MSN Messenger you can always use the remote assistance feature. It has worked well for me in the past having to troubleshoot and diagnose friend & familys PC's. I guess the only catch there is they and you have to be running it as well. Not a solution if you're not running Windows and using that particular IM client.

Crossloop and EchoVNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197074)

I'd have to agree with Crossloop, the installer is stupid simple, tell them to hit the skip button in the bottom right when it asks them to make an account. After they've done it once it makes an icon on the desktop for them, all they have to do is double click it, read off the access code and hit connect and you can be back on in seconds. It uses a VNC client for communications, reasonable speed in most cases. Vista/Windows 7 UAC can make it annoying, make sure the remote user clicks continue, if your session does get disconnected the access code stays the same and you can simply hit connect again, it also runs on MacOS X. At work we have a EchoServer for EchoVNC, there is a link on our website that downloads the 1.2M echovnc client, which is preconfigured to connect to our server, they just have to hit connect. Its capable as running as a service, and you can organize machines into groups with different level of access, and I can VNC into Windows/OS X machines from my FreeBSD/Xorg desktop. Being that it tunnels through our server(like how crossloop works) it doesn't require any forwarded ports and makes it way through just about anything but the most stringent firewall. Probably a little overkill(and it costs $300 for the EchoServer portion), but its neat fun software, and there isn't anything else in its price range(we were paying almost $300 for our goto assist accounts alone) that has its functionality.

GoToAssist Express is more appropriate for support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30197076)

WebEx and GoToMyPC are not optimal for support situations like you describe. Rather a dedicated support product would be more appropriate. Although it is not free, GoToAssist Express [gotoassistexpress.com] does have an inexpensive "day pass" option that might interest you (subscriptions are also available for heavier users).

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