VNC Alternatives: Remote Desktop Software

After using VNC for a long period of time, I ran into a situation where I couldn't use it.

February 9th, 2010 at 8:00am — Comments: (4) — By: Jonathan Danylko — Tags: Tools

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Last week, my parents were having some issues with their laptops (future post regarding McAfee Total Internet Protection 2010), so I decided to look into some remote control software since they are in Florida and I'm in Ohio.

Since my mother and father have a firewall, I figured this was going to be a challenge to walk my parents through a firewall configuration and allow me to connect to their machines, so that eliminates VNC from my list of possible candidates.

My requirements for remote desktop software were simple:

  • Easily work with firewalls instead of against them
  • Simple installation (for my parents)
  • Free (of course)

The search begins

After looking around for some alternatives to VNC, I ran across LifeHacker.com that had a list of the five best remote desktop tools. So I decided to examine the list.

Out of all of the remote desktop tools, I selected TeamViewer to test first because it matched all of my requirements. They even have a portable version for mobile users.

I asked my father (the technical one) to go to teamviewer.com and download the application. After both of us installed it, we ran TeamView and the all-in-one application had a key and password to create a session between both machines.

The permission-based access of the PC is an excellent way to allow the user to accept an incoming request for help.

When I logged in, I had complete control of the laptop. I examined what was wrong with the PC, fixed it, and terminated the session.

Job Completed

Team Viewer provided me with the following outcomes:

  • The installation was extremely simple,
  • It worked with both firewall setups on each PC, and
  • The price is exceptional (Free for non-commercial users)

Team Viewer is exactly what I was looking for and will be sticking with them for a long period of time (since my father is now the technical user of the family). ;-)

Has anyone used a different remote desktop tool to provide technical support?

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Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes doing in his spare time, he answers..."programming."

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4 Comments

  1. February 22nd, 2010 at 3:28pm
    Yeah I find VNC to be incredibly limiting because it relies on BOTH sides being savvy. The problem is that this is rarely the case and many people turn to remote software for this very reason.
  2. February 24th, 2010 at 3:27pm
    You may want to know about RHUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) remote desktop appliance. It is multi-platform-supportive and allows secure web conferencing, remote assistance, and webinar, all through a single appliance. It accommodates up to 10 participants in a single support session and is a completely non-download system with free audio conferencing.
  3. January 17th, 2011 at 1:48pm
    Another option you can look into is Bomgar's remote desktop solution for IT. Sounds similar TeamViewer, but Bomgar is able to connect to many different operating systems including mobile.
  4. Jason
    July 14th, 2011 at 1:41pm
    Bomgar and RHub both involve appliances which can be costly to maintain. The contracting companies make you pay for the maintenance of the devices. It sounds good as a one-time purchase but that is where they get you.

    For one-time purchasing I'll try either ScreenConnect or Teamviewer. Both are great products and aren't appliance based.

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