Remote Utilities Is a Free Alternative To LogMeIn For Personal and Business Use

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 07:40 PM |
Tagged: screen sharing, remote utilities, remote support, logmein

After the free version of LogMeIn shut down (on rather short notice), I started to look for alternatives for the occasional remote support session with family and friends. One alternative I was directed to on a forum I frequent was a software utility called Remote Utilities. The developers recently announced (in response to LogMeIn Free's shutdown) that their Remote Utilities software is available with a free license good for business or personal use on up to 10 PCs. It seemed interesting, so I decided to give it a try for myself.

Remote Utilities (4).png

The Remote Utilities Viewer GUI.

The download weighs in at 16.4MB and comes in a zipped folder with two installers for the viewer and host along with a single page quick start guide (PDF). Installation of both programs was simple enough, and it would be easy enough to guide someone through over the phone. The host installer defaults are decent. It will ask the user to enter a password that will be required to access the PC remotely.

Remote Utilities Access Code.png

It will also offer to create an "Internet ID" which is a code that can be emailed or otherwise given to the support technician. It is used to connect to the client PC without needing to figure out the IP and port forwarding situation of the client PC. Alternatively, you can choose to connect directly via IP without going through Remote Utilities connection servers.

Remote Utilities.png

My desktop connecting to my laptop using the Remote Utilities application.

Once the host PC is setup and the viewer application is installed on the other PC, you can connect to, and log into the remote PC. The application allows file transfer, terminal (or command prompt) access, screen sharing, and full GUI remote control of the PC. You can remotely restart and install applications as well. Needless to say, there are a lot of advanced settings and tools for those that like to dive into things while being easy to use in a default state. For a free application, it is very fully featured and easy to use. Performance of the remote control session was very smooth, particularly over the same LAN (naturally). It was at least as responsive as Crossloop and noticeably better than the VNC options I've tested in the past.

As far as encryption options for the connection, Remote Utilities claims to use RSA 2048 asymmetric + AES 256 symmetric (Microsoft Crypto API) for all data sent over the network. The encryption is enabled by default, and cannot be turned off (heh).

This is by no means a full review, and I do not intend for it to be. However, I do believe that it to be an interesting alternative to LogMeIn that is worth sharing. If you are still looking for a free remote support tool, I encourage you to check this one out.

You can grab the free download from: http://www.remoteutilities.com/

What is your favorite free remote support tool?

Thanks for the warning LogMeIn

Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2014 - 10:42 AM |
Tagged: logmein, remote access

If you are a user of the free version of LogMeIn you may have received an email today informing you that the free version of this product has been discontinued, immediately.  Even if you didn't get the email, logging in to the service will display the warning below.  For the more technically inclined this may be meaningless or a great excuse to finally set up SSH on a Linux box.  For those relatives who purchased a decent version of Windows, Remote Desktop Connection is also a reasonable choice, assuming you can set up a user on that machine and properly configure your network to allow RDP to connect successfully.

However as the commentators on Slashdot are quick to mention this won't help you with old aunt Bessie who lives on the other side of the country.  You can't get to her machine to configure the proper settings nor is she going to be willing to have to interact with the machine in order to allow you to connect any more than she has in the past.  In some cases join.me will suffice for now, keep in mind it is also a free service from LogMeIn and could also disappear without warning at any time if today's move is any indication of their plans.   Alternatives such as TeamViewer and Crossloop may be able to fill in for LogMeIn in those situations; have you had any experience with those solutions or have other suggestions for remote assistance of those less technically inclined friends and relatives we all have in abundance?

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"The remote desktop service LogMeIn sent an email to its users today notifying them that 'LogMeIn Free' will be discontinued — as of today. This is a major shock with minimal warning to the millions of users who have come to rely on their service, made all the more surprising by the fact that 'consensus revenue estimates for LogMeIn in 2014 are $190.3 million,' suggesting that their system of providing both free and paid accounts for what is ultimately a straightforward service that could be duplicated for well under $1 million was already doing quite well."

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Source: Slashdot