Wednesday 22 January 2014

It's All Change for Remote Desktops

If you’ve been using LogMein Free you will by now have received notification that the Free part of the name is being retired at the end of this month.

It’s a sad day for many of us; I’ve been using the service to access my own PCs for years, and as a result of this experience we adopted the professional version, LogMeIn Rescue as our platform for remote support here at Computer Angels. Many of you reading this will have the tell-tale icon of a white cross on a blue background that is the Computer Angels Remote Support tool, or as we call it, the panic button.

I’m not sure how many people will opt to pay for the product now that it’s no longer free, but for those using the product for non-commercial use there are still several options out there.

My first thought was to switch to TeamViewer which is marketed as a business tool for virtual meetings and online presentations, but it also works as a remote access service. In works well on both Windows, OS X and Linux, and includes file transfer and remote printing functions. Remember however that if you’re using this for commercial use then you are breaking the licensing conditions, and the paid-for version is a whopping £439. Most of my access falls under non-commercial use, but there’s a definite grey area there, and when I started to look for alternatives I found a familiar name with a new product which I just had to check out.

Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop requires a Google account, but is totally free, including for commercial use. Installing it is straightforward, and if you have a small stable of computers that you want to access remotely then this could be the perfect solution.

First impressions are that it’s not perfect – I’ve had a few freezes and disconnects which may be to do with my using nested Virtual Machines which I’m also trying to control with the tool, but the screen clarity and resolution handling is great, and hopefully as more people move to this new service, which I'm sure will see a surge in download in the next week, then I've no doubt the Google will pile on the developer resources and fix the inevitable niggles.  I’ll let you  know how I get on with it.