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man yelling into phoneI love my friends, and I love helping them. But God knows they’re not all that great with following along with my tech support advice over the phone. You know exactly what I’m talking about and it gets frustrating for you too I bet.

Well, after my last Make Use Of article 10 Short URL Services Face Off! 10 Short URL Services Face Off! Read More , I had a brainstorm: why not use the most painless remote control and viewing application and the best URL truncator together to get rid of my support headaches? I almost started tapping my fingertips together and muttering “exxxxxcellent…” under my breath.

It’s a two step plan.

Step one: download and install TeamViewer on my laptop. I browsed over, grabbed the 1.1MB setup file and had it installed in less than a minute.

Step two: create a address that points to the TeamViewer “customer module”. Snurl graciously shortened the URL to:


I can’t believe I didn’t do this ages ago.

Why did I choose TeamViewer? There are two major reasons: portability and a zero-configuration connection. Setting up a painless remote support system is no good if it requires multiple steps for the person on the other end. My goal is this: if I can make this so easy that my wife doesn’t get irritated when I talk her through the process, I’ve achieved my goal (and I’m still married).

TeamViewer doesn’t require any ports being opened on a user’s router, and they don’t need to know their IP. Talk them through getting the link open in a browser and running the file, and they’re presented with this screen:

TeamViewer QuickSupport
Can it get any easier?

As long as you’ve got the software running on your end, all they have to do is read you the two numbers and they’re done! Type the first one in the “Create Session” box, enter the password when prompted, and the connection initiates within a few seconds. You’ve got full control of the remote PC – in about a minute, start to finish. The connection is fully encrypted “based on RSA private-/public key exchange and RC4 session encoding,” as described on

If you can type, you can get a TeamViewer connection running

TeamViewer at work, controlling my wife’s laptop…

It also supports pretty much everything else you’d want a remote control app to, like session recording, file transfer, chat, scaling, multiple monitor support, and more. TeamViewer even runs on Mac. It’s totally free for non-commercial use, and that’s what I’m aiming for – all I want to do is minimize the amount of my free time the people I love consume with their PC woes!Think you have an easier method? I’d like to hear about it – really!

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