Friday, February 19, 2010

Remote Assistant

I mentioned in the previous post that my parent's PC was broken, and that I had to put quite a few hours to get it back to normal working state.
This isn't the first time that I've provided support for their PC or the PC of some other family member of mine, and probably not the last. I guess every geek finds himself as the "family tech support".

When my brother's computer breaks down, I usually start a remote desktop session using the IM client, and solve the issue. Now, I want to have the same ability with my parents, only this time it must be done with zero interaction on their side. I want to be able to call my mom, and tell her to turn on the PC. That's it. No confirmation dialogs, no chat and no nothing.

This is why I installed on their PC the free version of LogMeIn. It starts as a service, supports wake-up-on-LAN and doesn't require any router configuration. Problem is that the user experience on my end isn't very good. Performance lag even on a 2.5Mbps line. Maybe it's a price I have to pay, or maybe there are better services which does the same and I'm not aware of.

A final tip for this post: most non-techie-parents will do just fine with a limited computer account (when using Windows/Linux). There really isn't a good reason for them to use a privileged account just for browsing the web and using Skype.


  1. RHUB's a pretty easy to use one. It allows for unattended support, so all your parents need to do is turn on that PC. It's self hosted, so you have complete control over the performance. The downside is that it cost money, though you can get a free trial on their site.

  2. Team viewer is great too,
    It requires a small interaction from the other side.

    Why isn't there any similar projects for linux?

  3. In speaking about PC remote access you forgot about other firms like Bomgar, Migado or the one my firm uses - Proxy Networks. It's a little on the pricey side, though.