One of the more frustrating aspects of remote support these days is connecting to another computer across town or across the world.
For the consumer this usually rears its ugly head when Grandma’s computer has a virus and she calls someone in the family for help when she has 150 pop-up boxes filling her screen. (This usually follows a visit to her house from a teenager, who “borrowed” the computer to “check his email.”)
“OK, Grandma, hit START, then find the RUN box, then in that little box type MRT dot EXE.”
Previous remote-access software was pretty hard to use or required a fairly sophisticated level of technical depth on the part of the user and sender.
Then came firewalls, designed to block unwanted communication between a computer and the Internet, which also effectively block many remote-access programs from working without some complicated fiddling.
Enter a program called “Teamviewer,” which makes connecting to another computer simple. (And free for non-commercial use.)
You can get it at www.teamviewer.com
Both users download the program and launch it.
Then the user who wishes to be connected to shares his user ID and PIN, which is good for a single connection.
(This keeps your PC from being accessed without your permission at other times.
However, if you are the paranoid type you can uninstall it after the support session is completed, though there is little need since you are warned whenever someone is accessing your PC via a pop-up box in the lower-right corner.)
The person providing support then can control the other user’s PC in a full-screen window (or a smaller window if the user prefers).
This makes support dramatically easier than trying to tell someone through the various steps to fix some sort of infection.
I can think of a couple dozen uses for the program, and while there are lots of competing products, this is one I keep coming back to for non-commercial support needs.
Business customers can purchase various licensing agreements for the software based on need and number of connections needed. Details about professional licenses are on the company’s website. But for the consumer I have not found a more elegant solution for a pesky problem. I recommend the product highly, especially given the nice price.
Teamviewer is fast, painless and works like a charm.
James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer repair firm and a tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org