Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
|Figure 1. Team Viewer displaying the remote machines desktop|
Figure 1 shows a screenshot of
Team Viewer in action. The main image is the desktop of
the laptop. An open window has Team Viewer running and
displaying the netbooks desktop. The laptop is
controlling a Notepad++ window that has been opened on
the netbook. Text typed on the laptops keyboard is
displayed in the Notepad++ window on the netbook.
However, the acid test was to connect remotely over the Internet to a second machine. A friend in Ottawa who occasionally needs a little help volunteered to be the guinea pig. Having installed Team Viewer on this second machine it was time to connect.
The process is simple. Running Team Viewer on the remote machine produces a logon window that provides both a machine ID (Your ID) and a password. Obviously, the remote user needs to be able to communicate these parameters to the master. In Ottawa, the simplest solution is to use the telephone to provide a ready means to exchange these details, in addition to providing a vehicle for discussion of the problems on the remote machine - and their solutions! For an overseas connection, while a long distance telephone call would do the trick, some other, less-costly possibilities would be E-mail, text messaging, or perhaps a Skype connection (the latter is yet to be tried).
|Figure 2. Team Viewers connection window|
Initially, both the master and the
remote users see similar Team Viewer connection windows
(Figure 2). The remote users task is to indicate
the values of Your ID and
Password from the left side of the window.
From the masters perspective, making the initial
connection simply means entering the Partner ID, pressing
the Connect to partner button, and entering
the remote computers password (number) in the
subsequent pop-up dialogue box. Once these steps have
been completed the Team Viewer window displays the remote
machines desktop (as shown in Figure 1).
Note that Your ID on the remote computer remains constant and this is stored on the master machine in the drop-down Partner ID menu. By contrast, the password changes each time a connection is attempted. Consequently, subsequent connections just require selecting the appropriate Partner ID and entering the current password for the remote machine.
Note also that there is a Please sign in box on the right side of the connection window. This allows creation of, or signing in to, a Team Viewer account. Using such an account provides additional functionality such as managing multiple connections and making fast connections (no IDs or passwords). However, using Team Viewer doesnt require setting up an account. You simply download, install, and run the software.
Team Viewer seems to allow the master user to control just about anything on the remote computer. Over the Internet, I was easily able to restore a number of desktop icons, navigating to the executable files, right-clicking, and selecting Send to desktop. Over a Wi-Fi connection, for my local machines, I could run a web browser, install and uninstall programs, empty the Recycle Bin, and activate Windows Update. I was also able to reboot the remote machine - with Team Viewer asking if I wished to wait and reconnect to the remote machine.
I could also back up the data drive on the remote machine to a USB memory stick. Obviously, on a truly remote connection, such modifications to the hardware mean having the remote user physically insert the USB drive (if required).
Team Viewer offers considerable functionality. On the master computer, a tool bar provides a menu with options for Close, Actions, View, Audio/Video, File transfer, and Extras. The Actions option includes the ability to command a reboot and even for disabling (keyboard and mouse) input from the remote user! The View menu provides for such items as changing the screen resolution, scaling the view, and selecting between multiple monitors. The Audio/Video tab includes options for communicating via on-line chat, voice-over-IP and video conferencing. File transfers between the master and remote machines can be accomplished either using a dual-window, FTP-like system or through a Dropbox-like File box. Finally, the extra functions include remote printing, taking screenshots, and recording a session.
There are so many possibilities with this software that I havent been able to try them all. However, the bottom line is that, if you need to be able to control a second machine remotely, Team Viewer provides a simple yet powerful means of doing so.
(Free for individual use)
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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