4. ShowMyPC Collaboration
ShowMyPC Collaboration is a freeware version of the paid application that allows remote assistance with some additional features such as sharing folders, switching presenter and recording screen being disabled. To get connected, download the program, run it, click show my PC now button and a 12 digit password will be generated which is to be given to the person that will be remotely controlling this computer.
As for the viewer, download and run the same program, enter the password in the View PC textbox and click the play icon to start connecting. By default ShowMyPC will attempt to connect using a direct P2P connection and will fall back to SSH if P2P fails. Although ShowMyPC build 3152 seems to be released on January 2013, it uses an old version of TightVNC Viewer 1.5.2 built on Jul 8 2010 and TightVNC Server 18.104.22.168 when the current version is already at 2.6.4. File manager is one of the very few features available on TightVNC.
3. imPCRemote Instant
imPCRemote Instant is a free permission based remote access tool that supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It uses one of the most popular VNC variant called UltraVNC that is up-to-date to make the connection. Instead of using the traditional method in connecting to remote computer through IP address, imPCRemote Instant uses the user generated ID to connected between endpoints. There are 2 builds available which is the user and admin. The user version is to be controlled while the admin version is the controller. The person that wants to be controlled will have to download the user version, run it and provide the generated 9 digits to the controller.
As for the controller, download the admin version, run it and enter the given 9 digit code where the connection will start to initiate and an UltraVNC viewer will launch when connected. You can find options to disable input and blank remote monitor, chat and start file manager from the icons at the top bar.
2. Ammyy Admin
Ammyy Admin would be our second choice that is free for non-commercial use if for some reason our first choice does not work. To get connected using Ammyy Admin, both operator and client needs to download the same file that is slightly over 700KB in size from the official website and run it. The client provides the operator an 8 digit code that is gotten from the program followed by manual approval from client to allow remote control, access to file manager, voice chat and RDP connection.
Ammyy Admin seems to be using VNC but a heavily modified one so you can expect to find features that are similar to what VNC has to offer. It has a file manager, voice chat and uses AES-256 encryption.
Do note that Ammyy Admin only works on Windows and there is a possible access limit restriction for connection by ID if it is used more than 15 hours per month. This restriction does not apply if you connect directly to the client’s IP address.
TeamViewer is our favorite software for providing remote assistance because not only it is very easy to use, it also packs with premium features which is free for non-commercial use and even support all major operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile devices.
To get connected, the computer that will be controlled will have to first download a single portable executable file that is less than 5MB in size called TeamViewer QuickSupport by clicking on the “Join Remote Control Session” hyperlink found at the TeamViewer’s homepage, run it and tell the controller the 9 digit ID and 4 digit password. Then the controller will have to download the full version of TeamViewer and either select to install or run as portable. Enter the provided ID and password into TeamViewer and the remote computer’s screen will show up on the controller’s computer.
Some of the useful features found in TeamViewer is the ability to show black screen on the remote computer by installing a monitor driver, disable remote input to prevent the user from overwriting your input, switch sides with partner to show the other user what is on your screen, obtaining basic system information such as computer name, username, CPU, operating system, hard drives, network card, file transfer, screen recording, remote printing if hardware is available, chat via text or voice over IP, support multiple monitors, remote reboot include to SafeMode and transferring computer sounds.
Editor’s Note: All of the above remote access software uses their own relay server to make connections based on ID or access code rather than IP address. You can take a look at ChunkVNC if you want to create your own relay server or use UltraVNC’s PCHelpWare, Single Click or OneClick VNC Helpdesk if you want to create a customized auto connecting remote support customer modules.