When I was working in tech support at the university we use to have RealVNC as our remote desktop software it was simple, a little slow but perfect to access a distant computer and help the user with their problems. You only need to have installed in the remote computer the client and the server in your own. Now I discovered TeamViewer, also a remote desktop software but in some ways pretty amazing.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about this software is that it comes for Windows, Mac and Linux and now for iPhone and iPad also. It is really easy to install and impressive in itself. It doesn't have any screen, menu to choose or "Next" buttons, just click install and you have the program running and a simple screen to start working. Perfect for making somebody install via phone. There you have pretty much two options. To create a session and to wait for a session with your ID and password generated automatically.
Create a Session
There are three kind of sessions you can create.
- Remote Support: In which you can access and control a distant computer.
- Presentation: In which you can show something from your own computer.
- File transfer: And finally to create a bridge to easy transfer files
The options to control the computer are wide and work really smoothly. You have access to the remote computer and your own without troubles or glitches and there's a small menu of the options you have. You can close the connection just with one click and you can set the remote computer TeamViewer to autostart and reboot remotely. You can adjust the speed and the quality of the input and change the screen resolution.
The new version of the software has VoIP audio, video conferencing and teleconferencing without problem of Proxies. (The Linux version still is in an older version and doesn't support this).
Wait for a Session
The second option is to wait for a session making your computer available trough an ID number and a password, this two have to be transmitted. The program is really safe because TeamViewer uses a full encryption and the private key never leaves the client or the host computer and the data stream is encrypted. The password changes automatically every time you turn on the program, but you can create your own password.
In the preferences in the menu you can configure how much access you want to give to your computer, and even blacklist IP or make lists of accepted IPs. You can also select that your desktop won't be showed.
Something really amazing about this software, is that you can access the remote computer trough web. You just need to sign up in the TeamViewer page and you can access the remote computer, create groups and add partners from any browser. Is pretty amazing to use Firefox to navigate in a Mac, using Photoshop and all the power of the machine.
The uses of this kind of services are really wide. Although it was created to support users and fix issues trough the web the system is pretty handy for show your current work to co-workers, to access your own home (or work computer) from a distant location and even from your iPhone.
The license of this software is proprietary, free and full for private usage. The license for Business are pretty expensive, but it could be worth it for companies that will use it frequently.