In the first installment of this two-part series on remote access, I covered the (no longer) free version of LogMeIn.
In this article, I discuss two additional services — TeamViewer and Google Chrome Remote Desktop — that let you operate a host PC remotely with another PC, a tablet, or your smartphone.
LogMeIn suddenly drops its free version
On Jan. 21, LogMeIn users received an email stating the remote-access/control service was discontinuing its free accounts on — Jan. 21. Thanks for the forewarning! The email went on to state that unpaid subscribers would be offered a discounted introductory offer for a paid account. The standard rate for a one-year subscription for two computers is U.S. $99.
LogMeIn Free users might be confused by the transition time frame; a LogMeIn blog post states, “Starting in January, we will gradually migrate users of LogMeIn-branded remote-access offerings and Ignition-branded remote-access offerings to a single premium-access product.” See the post for more details on the changes to LogMeIn subscriptions.
TeamViewer: Still free for personal use
Even before the end of LogMeIn Free, my favorite remote-access service was — and still is — TeamViewer (site). The service still offers a free version for noncommercial uses. (Free users will, however, get frequent nags to upgrade to paid subscriptions.) But more important TeamViewer qualities are that it’s a snap to set up and quick when establishing and managing connections. TeamViewer also offers a wealth of tools (including file transfers, remote printing, and chat) that you won’t find in other free remote-access products.
Start by opening teamviewer.com in your browser and clicking the prominently placed Download button. You’ll then get the usual installation options: change the installation directory, and so on. TeamViewer will also let you create an account — though that step isn’t required. You’ll need an account if you want to access a remote host system when no one is sitting in front of it.
As the last step of the installation process, TeamViewer automatically loads its easy-to-navigate management console, shown in Figure 1. From there, you have three connection options: Invite Partner, Setup unattended access, and Open Management Console.