Ask OnSoftware: Remote access made easy

Ask OnSoftware: Remote access made easyIf you’re a lawyer, your friends will probably ask you about legal issues. If you’re a doctor, they’ll require your advice about certain symptoms. And what if you’re a computer expert? Yes: you’ll automatically become some kind of personal computer technician, available 24/7 to fix your friends’ problems with software, hardware, viruses and other elements. This is precisely what one of our readers was complaining about when he sent us this email to ask@onsoftware.com:

Hi OnSoftware,

I’m a student of Computer Science and I’m constantly being disturbed by “friends” who need assistance with the simplest computer issues. I’d like you to write a post about software to remotely access and repair computers, but with two conditions:
1. The client application must be easy to install  (some people are hopeless at this)
2. It should work without having to open ports on the customer’s side.

Thanks OnSoftware, keep up the good work!

A few years ago computer remote access sounded more like a hacker crime, but nowadays it’s a fairly common method to solve basic computer issues in real time. It helps technical support teams to provide a better service, while customers don’t run the risk of ruining their systems by trying to resolve the issue on their own.

There are a few software tools that enable you to access a computer remotely, and that meet the two aforementioned requirements:

LogMeIn

Ask OnSoftware: Remote access made easyLogMeIn is probably your best choice. It’s actually a ‘lite’ version of a paid remote access application, but it’s powerful enough for home users. It’s easy to install even for the most computer illiterate, as all you have to do is create a user account – and you can do that from the program itself.

LogMeIn makes things really easy for the ‘technician’. You don’t have to install any application: any web browser (preferably with support for Java or ActiveX) will do. Plus, LogMeIn doesn’t rely on IP addresses to work properly, which means that you can also use it even if you have a dynamic IP address or you don’t know your customer’s IP address.

Other options

Besides LogMeIn, there are other alternative remote access apps. Here they are:

  • TeamViewer – complete remote access solution that works through firewalls
  • Ammyy Admin – a simpler, lighter solution (under 200 Kb)

Keep on sending all your problems, questions and doubts to ask@onsoftware.com so that we can select the most interesting ones and provide you with handy solutions for you and the rest of OnSoftware readers.

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