Remote Access Software (RAS) allows a user to remotely administer another computer through a GUI (Graphical User Interface).
RAS software usually falls into three categories:
- Attended (someone must be present on the remote machine);
- Self-hosted RPC proxy servers (middleware for accessing firewall-protected networks).
In this review, we are interested in the first and second categories. There are also two different kinds of packages:
- Downloaded and run without any installation;
- Installed, and either uninstall at the end of the session or remain for future sessions.
Unattended control sessions would of course need to have the installed version to allow for connecting at any time in the future. Attended and Unattended Control Sessions and their pros and cons are explained in detail at the end of this page.
Very reliable remote access software with great features
Platforms/Download: [field_blackberry_download] | Blackberry | iOS | Linux | Mac OS | Web App | Windows (App) | Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 5/5
A free screen sharing solution offering most features
Platforms/Download: [field_blackberry_download] | iOS | Linux | Mac OS | Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 4/5
There are many other products in this category, with a variety of features which may be worth listing here, so please watch this space for future updates.
A review of other products and versions in this category may include: Gbridge, Deskstra, VNC suite, Supremo, Crossloop, AMMYY, MingleView, RemoteUtilities, LiteManager Free, Radmin Server and Viewer, I'm InTouch, Splashtop Remote, True Remote and Anyplace Control.
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Attended and Unattended Control Sessions
Attended Control Session
Attended session is of course when there is a person sitting at the computer that you want to access. This is most likely a one-time session or when helping someone fix a problem where you will not be allowed to access it without the other person being present. This type of access is usually quicker to establish, but also comes with fewer capabilities when compared to a fully installed software that runs as a service.
Typically the process for establishing an attended session is simple. You ask the other person to download a small application which runs in their user session and has access to everything the user has rights to. From here the situation varies, but usually requires that you and the other person exchange a small pass code - either auto-generated or set by you. Once they initiate the session you are connected and able to request control of their mouse and keyboard. If the software is simply run and not installed there are typically some limitations like not handling multiple monitors or losing connection and having to start the process over again because it doesn't have an auto-reconnect feature.
Unattended Control Session
If the software installs then typically it falls under the unattended category. There are more capabilities with an unattended solution but the trade-off is that the user needs to have authority on their computer to install software. Installed software also leaves behind a footprint, although there are some that ask the other person, upon completion of the session, whether they would like to uninstall the software.
Which Control Session Do You Use?
To sum everything up, you may need different tools to accommodate different situations. In my years of experience helping people solve computer issues remotely I use the best tool for the job. When speaking with a person that has no understanding of their computer and no idea of whether they are allowed or capable of installing software I use an attended, non-installing type of tool. Other times I might choose to get the person to install an unattended tool. Let the situation dictate the best tool but always have both available.
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