Do you need to provide technical assistance to a PC user that lives far from you and you don't know how to do it? Today there are many interesting remote PC support tools that enable you to do that without requiring you to have any particular skill.
Photo credit: Yuri Arcurs
Remote PC support tools share many of the traits that characterize web conferencing systems: they allow users to perform screen sharing and view the desktops of other users, take control over them and they enable the participants to interact via text chat or audio (sometimes also providing support for video conferencing).
Remote PC support tools also differentiate themselves from remote PC access tools (which I have showcased in another mini-guide published on these very pages). Remote PC access tools normally do not require another user to be on the remotely accessed computer, enabling the user to utilize her PC at a distance in a completely autonomous way.
So what characterizes remote PC support tools? Basically the possibility to enable the user to perform extra activities that are particularly important when providing remote support to users who are experiencing technical difficulties or need another user to access their computer to perform a specific task; such extra activities are remote PC diagnostics and the possibility to reboot/restart the other PC.
In this mini-guide I review and compare a number of tools that allow you to perform remote PC support without making it a hassle. Most of these tools are also useful when you need to give live presentations of a product and some of them also offer integrated video-conferencing.
As always, this does not pretend to be a fully comprehensive list, as there may certainly be more tools and services that provide remote PC support but that I have not listed here. I invite you to provide pointers and suggestions to other tools that you may feel should belong to this list by using the comment section at the end of the article.
LogMeIn Rescue is a good solution for organizations and technology vendors that provide remote customer support. LogMeIn Rescue gives you temporary remote control of PCs across firewalls, without having to pre-install any software. LogMeIn Rescue is optimized for multi-session handling and lets you conduct unlimited concurrent sessions. There are multiple connection methods: verbal PIN code, email link and also through a web site. Free trial available
Bomgar offers to remote support professionals a product that does not require any installation and works both for Mac and PC remote desktop control. Since all Bomgar sessions are initiated via outbound connections, you can do remote computer control transparently through corporate firewalls. Bomgar is available for free trial.
NTRsupport enables you to provide on-demand remote assistance to your customers and team mates. You are enabled to take remote control of customers' PC or Mac since it is compatible with both platforms. NTRsupport is sold as either as SaaS (Software as a Service) or an On-site license model, making it a versatile remote support solution.
RealVNC provides remote control software which lets you see and interact with other computers. This software integrates file transfer and powerful deployment tools. RealVNC is very good for medium/large enterprises and individual users alike and it supports Windows, Unix and Mac platforms.
UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen. The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. It means that you can work on a remote computer, as if you were sitting in front of it, right from your current location.
GoToAssist provides IT help desks with one solution to remotely support all of their end users regardless of location. GoToAssist allows users to engage in up to eight simultaneous chat sessions with either Web Mode or Phone Mode and enables your representative and end user to instantly exchange files. GoToAssist is available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. Free trial available.
e/pop includes desktop sharing and live, PC remote control software. You can easily request or grant remote control of any application, or desktop being shared. e/pop supports multiple simultaneous users, therefore you and all your participants can see the desktop or application being shared.
Anyplace Control is a Windows software that allows you to securely control remote computer and transfer files via the Internet or LAN. The built-in File Transfer feature will let you transfer files between the computers. With Anyplace Control, you can restart and shutdown a remote PC, lock a remote mouse or keyboard, and do many other operations.
TeamViewer is a service that lets you instantly take control over a computer anywhere on the Internet, even through firewalls. TeamViewer can also be used to present your desktop to a partner on the Internet. You can show and share your software, PowerPoint presentations and files. TeamViewer requires no installation.
RapidAssist is a remote technical support and training tool. With just a simple click on a web link, you are instantly connected with your end-users in a virtual on-site support session. Once connected, you will have an instant, real-time view of the end-user's desktop and can optionally share remote control of the mouse and keyboard.
With Gatherplace you can remotely view and control a user's computer, regardless of platform (Mac, PC, Linux, etc.) You can provide end-to-end help desk outsourcing with one-click access. It is also possible to in real time by drawing directly onto your screen using GatherPlace Annotations Tools. You can enable one-click instant access from your web page.
NetSupport Manager provides a single solution for remote support. Adding to traditional remote control capabilities, NetSupport Manager also provides a range of supporting tools, including dynamic hardware and software inventory reports, systems management tools, full audio support and even the ability to show an operator's screen in real-time to any number of connected systems as an integrated training tool.
Kaseya Remote Desktop Management provides the tools needed for secure remote access to all of your managed computers. Administrators have complete control over the remote control functions, including passwords, notification method, screen mode and control level. In addition administrators can grant end users the ability to access their machines remotely.
iRemotePC is a web-based remote assistance product for professionals, technicians and useful for product / software vendors to remotely support their clients. The service allows you to remotely control your clients PCs with ease and fully encrypted security without pre-installing any program on the client side.
4 Remote Support
4 Remote Support is a service that consists of and uses remote computer control software for web-based remote desktop support online. No pre-installed software is required on the remote computer to provide tech support over the web. There's no limit on the number of sessions, computers, or minutes. Even remote control, and support remotely, multiple desktops simultaneously (at the same time).
Remote PC Support Tools: Comparison Chart
Livia Iacolare -