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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 snurl.com address that points to the TeamViewer “customer module”. Snurl graciously shortened the URL to: http://snurl.com/2jbo8.

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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 TeamViewer.com.


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!

  1. factopo
    November 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I've used team viewer... it's not bad.

  2. Tim
    November 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I just recently came across TeamViewer and I've fallen in love! I've also used LogMeIn Free, an amiable competitor.

  3. Steven
    October 8, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    A bunch of good suggestions, Teamviewer was a favorite of mine and we used it for support sessions and GoToAssist for sales related activities. Recently though we moved to a new product ScreenConnect. The unlimited license pricing was hard to beat and all though they don't have all the bells and whistles it does the job well.

  4. SEM
    August 18, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Wow, I deal with this all the time and had never really thought about using a remote access program. The tech support sessions are few and far between, but never take less than an hour. I think it's time I started just solving the problem for them this way.

  5. Constantin
    May 27, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Hello Lai Min Feng,

    Thanks for your comparison and for enjoying the work with TeamViewer. Just contact our sales team at sales@teamviewer.com, I'm sure they will find a good solution for you so that you can keep on using TeamViewer.

    Please also take into consideration, that we sell lifetime licenses so the pricing is very affordable if you look at the time during which you can use our service.

    Thanks,
    Constantin

  6. Lai Min Feng
    May 27, 2009 at 2:15 am

    hi,
    just want to comment a little.
    I've been using teamviewer free for a while, and now thinking to switch to another software because the price is expensive for my country's money (if only there's 50% disc, I would buy it for sure).
    anyway, I have tried crossloops (as some ppl have mentioned here and it's free), and hate to say that crossloops cannot compare in speed with teamviewer. If I have to describe it, it feels like teamviewer at least 5x faster than crossloops (though crossloops can be so much faster if u can get the p2p connection, but this seems to be almost impossible).
    hope that I can get another faster remote software that's cheaper.

  7. Greg Keane
    May 12, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Hey everyone, how is business? we are in the middle of marketing we trying to generate clients. not going as well as I'd hope but we continue on. How are you doing?

  8. Greg Keane
    April 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I've just set up my company and now the task of getting clients in, anyone have any suggestions? Also i would like to know you guys are doing, how is business going?

  9. steviebhoy
    January 12, 2009 at 6:19 am

    hi ive been using teamviewer for a while now its great crossloop as well is good im also trying to set up a remote support buisness at home has anyone had good luck with this venture? please let us know your experiences thanks :)

  10. Greg Keane
    October 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    hey guys and gals, Lee thanks for the great article. It seems like everyone here is running some sort of a remote helpdesk company, I would like to know how you bill your clients(software) and is there other software out there that you use to manage your clients when they call or email you for support? I just recently "left" my place of employment after 7 years and now I'm looking for work, more and more I'm seeing that the outsourced helpdesk market is growing and I want in on the action...I need to pay some of these bills...haha.

    My idea is to offer technical support to the masses, where they go to my site login choose a support service pay and get the support they need.

    ANY help would be much appreciated.

  11. Constantin
    October 7, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Lee,
    Thanks for your post on TeamViewer from our crew here in Germany, although the gratitude came a little late;)

    In the meantime we have reached the 15 million user landmark and added a couple of new features as:
    - Whiteboard
    - TeamViewer Host Module (for unnattended computers)
    - Windows Authentication
    - Mac version

    These are available in the free version as well. Let me know if any questions should remain!

    All the best,
    Constantin

  12. Jeff Bellamy
    July 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I've recently switched from LogMeIn Rescue to Techinline Remote Desktop (www.techinline.com). I got to say, it's the easiest tool on the market these days. Neither you or the remote client have to install anything, and all they do is open a page, get a number which they relay to you, and you are in. At $30 a month, it's also one of the most reasonably priced services on the market.

  13. Nacho
    July 9, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I've just used it cross-platform with my mom and it was great!
    I totally managed to control her PC from my iMac, no installation necessary... it's been a great help.
    Lee, thanks for this great heads up!

  14. Lee Mathews
    June 24, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Update!

    I downloaded TeamViewer's newest installer today, and it now gives the option to install or run without installing. I haven't seen that with another support app yet, and I think it's a pretty excellent option.

    Go TV!

  15. Jonathan Kempson
    June 21, 2008 at 7:26 am

    We've recently started using
    LogMeIn Rescue
    on our IT support desk and been pleasantly surprised particularly by its speed.

    I'm curious how Teamviewer (and Crossloop for that matter) compare speed wise with LogMeIn. For me speed in use is probably more important than time to download and install, probably just because I'm impatient.

    Also we have an
    introduction to remote support
    page that we're looking at updating, and an obvious area for us to fill in is non commercial use of products such as Teamviewer and Crossloop. Would also be interested to hear of others with free editions and portable installs.

  16. Jason
    June 21, 2008 at 9:59 am

    We use UVNC Single Click. The customer only has to download and run a 196k executable and We are on their machine. No setup at all. The customer doesn't have to do anything except click the url we send them.

    Its super easy to customise with your logo and you even get to choose the icons it uses and what it is called.

    There are even some versions that will allow you to reboot the remote machine even in to safe mode and back.

    You really cant beat it for the price.

  17. Eddie
    June 21, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Question on TeamViewer; What happens if you have to reboot the computer? The person you will be supporting will require to run the app again with provide you with a new ID and password.

    Is there a feature/product that can automatically allow you to remote access over the internet computers even if there is no current user logged in?

    • Aibek
      June 21, 2008 at 5:06 am

      You mean if it's possible to remote control the PC when the user that gave the remote program access is logged out ? I don't think that TeamViewer or any other above mentioned program can do this.

    • Varun Kashyap
      June 21, 2008 at 10:10 am

      I think you can remote restart the agent machine and then you would have to re intialize the connection however this can be done, without the remote user's intervention if team viewer is installed(as a Windows NT Service) on the remote machine, not in the portable "run without installation" mode

    • Lee Mathews
      June 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm

      Any app that can install as a service will allow you to do that...UltraVNC for example...but that requires a few more steps for gaining access. I think this can be done with teamviewer, but I've yet to try it!

  18. Martin Eagle
    June 20, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I've been using LogMeIn for a couple of years now and it's been great, however there is that issue of a lengthy install procedure for the client I'm wanting to assist. I think TeamViewer has its definite advantages for adhoc fixes and the like, but I think I'll have to also keep using LogMeIn for those folks whose computers I need to manage at times when they're not in front of it (it's surprising how many people call me when they get to work and ask me to check out a problem they have on their home pc).

    Great article though Lee, well written and a great discovery worth sharing. Thanks!

  19. Lee Mathews
    June 20, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Also, don't forget platform support...Does Crossloop support Mac? I couldn't find anything that said it does...And ShowMyPC seems to only have a Mac viewer, not full control...I'm still behind TeamViewer (also makesure your choice supports multiple monitors. TeamViewer does, and I can't live without that - too many customers with dual monitors).

    • Belle Blaasbaan
      June 20, 2008 at 5:55 pm

      Lee, your teamviewer choice is 100% spot on! Multi platform support is vital for support purposes.
      Allow me to me to add some arguments :

      I 've been using teamviewer in my daily practice as an commercial support engineer. When you purchase the license (not that expensive you can actually customize the look of the agent and include your company logo). Checkout : ikhelpjewel.com for my version of the app.

      I can also recommend this app because the agent (the pc to be controlled remotely) only needs to RUN the downloaded exe file, NO installation required, which adds to the privacy feeling for most of my customers... I explicitly tell them this lapp eaves the computer after the session and will not create/leave a sort of permanent backdoor so that curious IT-guys can snoop around...

      the app does write an unique code to the registry so that next sessions always use the same machine ID.. nothing to worry about!

      Last argument : TV supports reboots : after a reboot you can actually take over the machine again before the user logs on! Neat huh?

      PS : I don't own any TV-shares... it's just a great product..

      Belle

      Just my thoughts... let me know what you think!

  20. Grant
    June 20, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Props for this one, it is extremely easy. I got my mom to do it from her Mac at home 800 miles away in less than 5 minutes. I could finally fix some settings that she had been complaining about for months now. She is not tech savvy at ALL, so I was impressed that it went so well. We even did it all over gchat!

    • Lee Mathews
      June 20, 2008 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks - glad to hear it went well! I use it to support my wife and it passes her test, which usually tells me I'm on the right track.

  21. Mark O'Neill
    June 20, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I agree with Rolf - Crossloop rules in this area. They have made huge leaps and bounds in the past year.

  22. Rolf
    June 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    The same can be done, I guess, by a free program called Crossloop

    • Lee Mathews
      June 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

      Again, it's all about ease and speed.,..Crossloop is a 2.4MB download for my pals, as opposed to teamviewer's 900k...Not a big difference, but I like keeping everything at a minimum. Good point about the portable version! I do all my support from the same laptop, so installing made more sense for me.

  23. caschy
    June 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Be a superhero and use the portable version of teamviewer ;) no need to install...

    • Aibek
      June 21, 2008 at 5:03 am

      it has a portable version ? Sounds pretty good !

  24. Rob Canning
    June 20, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I have been in this business for a while.

    Seen and used the best, Showmypc is the one I am hooked on to now.

    here at
    showmypc.com

  25. Melissa
    June 20, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    We use instanthousecall.com and love it.

    Has more features for I.T. pros. Can't be beat: instanthousecall.com

    • Lee Mathews
      June 20, 2008 at 5:45 pm

      Instant Housecall appears to be very expensive...$89 a month?

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