Remote-Control Advice Needed (Windows PCs)

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Aaron Here, Mar 6, 2009.

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  1. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I often receive phone calls from my kids - in need of PC support. While I can usually just guide them through a solution on the phone, there are times that I need to get onto their PC. As they are 100 - 200 miles from me, I'm thinking a remote-control (internet) setup would be ideal.

    The kids' PCs use WinXP Home and Vista Home Premium, and I use WinXP Pro. We each have broadband internet access (dynamic IP) and the PCs are connected through wireless routers (the modems are hardwired to routers).

    Any recommendations/suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    I would highly recommend TightVNC. You have them install the server on thier machine. They don't have it autostart, so there is no worry about others trying to get 'in'. It uses default port 5900 udp or 5800 udp/tcp. They start it up when they want you to help. They use something like whatismyip.com (or similar), tell you what thier current IP is, and you use the vnc viewer on your computer, put in thier IP and if using a custom port the :portnumber. They create the password for the server (a strong one) and you then manage thier computer from yours. The best part of it, unlike RDP, is that they can watch what you are doing as you do it. It is the fastest one I have found.

    As an idea, I remoted the other night to a friends machine. I have 512x3m and they have 256x1.5m dsl. I was able to tell it to use a low bandwidth connection, and on installing applications I lagged a second or two behind what they saw. Not too bad.

    Now the technical details. You will need to allow it in the firewall (assuming they use one) and the router. For firewall, I would give them the mac address of your router, this way you ensure your machine is the only one allowed. I do it off IP because I have a static IP, but with dhcp, mac works as well.

    Using the router, you have 2 options. Either put in a port forward for the port (5900 for vnc viewer, or you can use port 5800 and view them from a browser). Or, as I do, make an inbound filter, where your mac address is allowed. There are some routers that have more advanced configurations where you can port forward with more options, or other features. The point is, ports 5900 and 5800 WILL get scanned, and fairly heavily. I know, I watch my logs here at work, and those two ports are hit a lot. You want your router/firewall combination to be limiting any inbound on those ports from only you. You might already know that, but just in case an FYI.

    Anyway, it is a very nice, free application that when set up correctly, really helps you help them to learn how to do it. If you were to also put TeamSpeak on theirs and your computer, you could then use free voice software and not have your head attached to the phone as you EXPLAIN what you are doing. I find this to be very effective, as usually they are so fascinated that you are moving thier mouse from your house that they pay close attention and actually learn while you do.

    My opinion anyway.

    Sul.
     
  3. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    you could use logmein

    there is a free version.
    all you do is install the software on the computer you want to connect to setup login information and then use the "server" version on the one you wish to do the support from.
    there is even a portable "server" version so you dont even need to install anything on your pc.

    btw just to inform you it does leave some drivers around after you install it.

    if you dont mind paying i reccomend radmin
    same idea and it cleanly uninstalls.

    btw i think the termologly is different with radmin. i think you install the server on the machine your helping.
    it runs as a service but you can easily right click the tray icon stop the service and only start it when support is needed.
    the user gets to set the permissons,username and password for what your allowed to do when helping them.

    the idea in the post above is a good idea
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  4. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    After having tried all of them last year, I recommend Teamviewer (is free for home users).
    It's simply the best. (it is portable, does not need any configuration and find it's way through nat, gateways and firewalls; you do not need to set an dynamic-dns, create accounts, etc.).

    Panagiotis
     
  5. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks for the 'food for thought'. ...anybody out there using something else?

    Btw guys, is your recommendation better than using MS Remote Desktop? ...and if so, why?
     
  6. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hey,
    that works great.
    i think the Op should use it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  7. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Teamviewer is better from every other remote managment application. Why?
    Because you ask your friends/kids/parents to download the portable or the normal installation and run it. Then you ask them to tell you the ID and the password that are displayed on their teamviewer window. And you are ready to go with your "support" section.
    It only takes 10 seconds...

    Panagiotis
     
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hi logore,

    if you do try it, you will never look back.:p

    ps. it even works with wine in linux, but only for controlling a remote pc or mac; not the other way around.

    Panagiotis
     
  9. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I use teamviewer and it is fantastic. My son is away at college - and when I log on (to check status of backups, imaging, spyware, antivirus) it is exactly as if I'm sitting in front of his computer.

    It is infinitely easier to use this as opposed to talking him through various procedures over the phone. He has no interest in this - he's a lit major and just wants his computer to work:cautious:

    It is easy to use and has NEVER let me down. There is good documentation.
     
  10. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Wow, teamviewer sounds like the 'cat's pajamas' (if you never heard that expression, you're a lot younger than me)... ;)
    I really like the idea that my kids, neither of whom are techies, would be able to easily install it themselves!

    A couple of questions...

    1. Which version do I use and which version do my kids use?

    2. Do the free versions have limitations? ...and if so, what are they?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  11. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hello,
    1. you use eiether TeamViewer (full version) for this version just use the run option.,TeamViewer Portable (usb stick version) or you can create an account and use the web viewer. all it needs is a web browser and adobe flash.
    btw there is alot of options including file transfers and messenger.

    if your kids always there when you will provide support you can use TeamViewer QuickSupport, this is probaly this best option.
    your kids will need to tell you the username and password. you type the username and password in and your then connected and have access.


    if you want to be able to access anytime use TeamViewer Host
    this installs and runs as a service.

    i dont think the free versions have any limitations from my quick test.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  12. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Sounds just like what the doctor ordered. Will I get the portable version with the free download?
     
  13. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    hey,
    yup get from here
     
  14. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    :) :thumb:
     
  15. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    With LogMeIn (aka Hamachi), it creates a virtual NIC. When app is started, it enables the virtual NIC, and promptly logs in to a 'connection server', where you are connected to others in a private network you create. Once the 'connection server' establishes yourself and your offsprings connections as 'full speed', the server steps out of the way and your two endpoints remain connected. This allows a lot of stuff to happen. You can run remote desktop from thiers to yours, you can run TightVnc, start a LAN game, file share, pretty much it is like being in a LAN. It is a supberb method. The downside is that you rely on thier servers to make the 'connection' between those within the group. It has been down many times, and it is sometimes down for a few days up to a week. It also has a penchant for being slow to connect. Once you are connected, generally you stay connected until you quit. It does create a lot of registry entries, and can bork your regular nic and cause slowdowns on some computers.

    It is a very easy to use application, and amazing for freeware. There is even a chat engine onboard.

    A clone of that is LEAF I think it is called. It may even be made by the same company.

    About this Teamviewer, I have never heard of that. Is it similar to Hamachi where there is no router holes to be made? That is one very nice part of Hamachi. Firewalls need to have a hole opened, but that is pretty trivial compared to router settings.

    I will look up this Teamviewer. I will say, that if you want a no-fail situation, tightVnc with router and firewall holes created for only your access is about guaranteed. It seems more complicated, but I personally think it is less complicated if you can tell someone how to open the hole.

    Sul.
     
  16. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Sul, thanks for the info on logmein, but most of the capabilities you mentioned are beyond my needs. My sole purpose here is to provide tech-support for my kids when things aren't working right; nothing else.

    If I understand correctly, the really cool aspect of teamviewer is how easy it is to get it up and running (without the hassle of my kids having to mess with routers, firewalls, opening/forwarding ports, etc)!

    Aaron
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  17. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Sully Teamviewer free is pretty similar to LogMeIn Free (not LogMeIn Hamachi).

    The only restrictions of TeamViewer free are that you cannot connect to multiple pcs, it does not connect to their high speed servers (not a problem because their free supports 80kb/s transfer rate) and that after each session has popup reminder that is free only for personal not commercial use.

    Logmein Free on the other hand allows multiple connections but no file transfers.

    For end to end personal assistance Teamviewer is alot better than Logmein.

    ps. Combined with skype (for easy voice conference and faster file tranfers) Teamviewer simple rocks. :D

    Panagiotis
     
  18. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    I've been using TV for a year now and indeed it rocks! Don't forget to check all of the features present in the GUI, from other features to screen settings!
     
  19. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Panagiotis, thanks a lot for all the good info. Teamviewer is sounding better all the time! ....although I must admit it's not clear to me how Skype adds much benefit. :doubt:
     
  20. fce

    fce Registered Member

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    I access my mother laptop when she have problem using Teamviewer (free)....from USA to Asia, no probs! ;)
     
  21. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Not saying it is any better or possibly even as good as Teamviewer (I haven't compared the two) but you might also want to try Crossloop.
     
  22. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    I use Radmin on my home PC and it works very well for me. You pay a license for each machine the server part is installed on but the viewer is free.

    I was intrigued by the positive comments about Teamviewer and decided to take a look. Apologies if I'm being particularly dim but, the portable version of Teamviewer reads to me as though it is only available if you have a Premium license. Am I reading this wrong?

    Graham
     
  23. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    hmm. Next time I need to help someone setup remote help I will try teamviewer. Usually if I build a system for someone I get everything set up for tightVnc though.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Sul.
     
  24. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hello,
    you can download the portable version from here
    all versions including the portable version are free for home use.
     
  25. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    Yes, I'd downloaded it and the software certainly gives the impression that it is free for non-commercial use but, on the purchase page it implies that the portable version is only avaialable with the premium license.

    Must be me :) .

    Graham
     
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