There's a whole class of remote computer access programs. The major players on the market are Symantec's pcAnywhere, Netopia's Timbuktu and LapLink's LapLink Gold. A new player taking a unique, Web-based approach to remote computer access is Expertcity's GoToMyPC.
Unlike other remote access software which requires that special programs are installed on both machines, GoToMyPC allows you to remotely view and control your home or office PC from any Web browser on another Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix or Solaris computer without having to install anything on the dialing end.
This feature of GoToMyPC frees travelers from having to lug a laptop everywhere. You only have to prepare your host computer in advance, and you can access and use it from hotels, airports, satellite offices, Internet cafes - anywhere with Web access.
To gain that kind of freedom with other remote computer access software, you'd have to carry the CD with your favorite connection program and install it on each computer you use, which is problematic at Internet terminals.
GoToMyPC's other advantage is simplicity - it takes only 2 minutes to install on the host PC. There's nothing to configure and almost no preferences to change. When you want to remotely control the target PCs, you just log on to your GoToMyPC account from a Web browser, select your host, and type in the password.
The screen of the target PC appears as if you were sitting in front of it. You can run programs, access your email, documents, network resources, and, additionally, transfer files back and forth, print from your remote computer to a local printer and invite others to share your PC to collaborate or do demos.
Since its approach is completely different from that of other remote computer access software, GoToMyPC is independent from network protocols and settings, dynamic IP addresses, name servers, and can work fine through many corporate firewalls.
The main disadvantage is that GoToMyPC depends on Web connectivity. Unless the host has an always-on connection to the Internet, such as a LAN, DSL, or cable, GoToMyPC simply won't work. If your host isn't always online, look for another remote access software.
The service runs only as fast as your Net connection. It can function via a dial-up modem connection on the client side - the typing and viewing lag is noticeable, but transferring files is sufficiently fast.
How it works
1) Register at GoToMyPC, download a small program on the host PC, install it and assign a password to that machine. Setup takes only 2 minutes. The program works in the background and there's nothing to configure at all.
2) When you want to remotely control the host PC, you just login to your GoToMyPC's account from any computer with a Java-enabled browser, specify the PC you want to control, type in the password and begin working as if you were sitting in front of your host computer.
GoToMyPC uses AES 128-bit encryption to protect data stream, file transfers, chat, keyboard and mouse input. Two passwords are required - one to log onto the service and another to gain access to the target PC. The second password resides on the host computer and is never transmitted or stored on GoToMyPC servers. If three straight login attempts fail, an account is deactivated for 5 minutes.
You have an option to blank out the screen and disable the keyboard and mouse of the host PC as soon as a remote connects to it, ensuring that anyone around the host can't see what you're doing.
Unlike other remote access software, your host with installed GoToMyPC is invisible to hackers. It doesn't constantly monitor incoming connections, but instead pings the GoToMyPC servers every 5 seconds to see if an access request has come in. This process is completely different from all other remote computer access programs.
The opposite side of connection is also secure. When the session is over, no digital marks of your work remain on the machine you used to connect to your host - great when you're using a public computer.
GoToMyPC offers a free 30-day trial which includes remote access to 1 computer.
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