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Review: Stay connected with remote-access software

By Erik Larkin
June 9, 2008 12:00 PM ET

GoToMyPC uses encryption for all connections, and it allows you to print out a list of one-time passwords for each host. If you want to give other people access to your host PC, you can send a temporary e-mail invitation to share your desktop with a guest. The invitation automatically expires in your choice of one to three hours, or you can cancel it manually.

Though GoToMyPC isn't cheap, you can give it a whirl with a free 30-day trial for one PC. For businesses that want to provide the service for up to 50 employees, a Pro version offers central administration and billing. A Corporate version allows for more than 50 users.

LogMeIn Pro

LogMeIn Pro's remote-desktop service directly competes with GoToMyPC, and the two offerings are similar in most respects. But LogMeIn Pro costs a fair bit less, with a monthly fee for one PC of $13. Each additional computer (up to 10) runs an additional $10, with discounts for each PC beyond 10. The service also provides a free trial for 30 days (or 120 minutes of usage, whichever comes first). A no-cost, feature-limited version of the service, called LogMeIn Free, lacks options such as sound and remote printing.

You can install LogMeIn Pro on a PC running Windows Vista, XP or 2000, as well as Windows Server 2003, 98 or Me. Macs with Tiger or Leopard can run LogMeIn Free, but not the Pro version. You can take remote control of a configured PC or Mac from almost any Windows, Mac, Linux PC or Pocket PC device.

Similar to the process with GoToMyPC, you start by logging in at LogMeIn.com and choosing from a list of connected computers. But whereas GoToMyPC then launches a Java client outside the browser, LogMeIn runs within the browser, so first you'll need to install an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer or a plug-in for Firefox. You can skip the plug-in and use a less-attractive Java interface instead, if you wish (either option allows a full-screen view).

Within the remote-control browser session, you'll find a useful tool bar along the top that lets you access features and options such as sound controls and screen settings. On the left, you can choose the file manager, sharing and "mini-meeting" tasks from a collapsible navigation bar.

Sharing allows you to send a friend or co-worker a link to download files from your LogMeIn-enabled PC, which is a good option for sharing files too large to send via e-mail. You can set time limits or restrict how many times a given file can be downloaded. And to start a mini-meeting, you can send e-mail recipients a time-limited invitation to access your desktop.

Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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