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Sunday, February 9, 2014

1451. Free Software to Access My Home Computer Remotely?

I've been using LogMeIn's free version to remotely access my computer when I'm on the road. All of sudden, the service is no longer free. Can you recommend another similar remote access service that is free?
Funny how that is: Companies offer a free service for a while, but then realize that they actually have to make money in order to survive. LogMeIn is such a service. Lots of people (including us) got used to using it for free, but at one point, they terminated their free options, and now require you to pay for an account in order to be able to access your home computer while you’re on the road. Of course, LogMeIn had other uses as well, including providing remote support (we both provide a lot of remote support—Ken continues to attempt to keep his father from getting inundated with online malware, using remote access software like LogMeIn from across the country).
Although we mourn the loss of LogMeIn’s free service, you have options. You could, of course, continue to use LogMeIn—it will just cost you a little to do so. If your intent is to remotely access your own computer unattended and use LogMeIn, you don’t have any options besides giving them money. On the other hand, if you’re attempting to provide remote support, LogMeIn has a product called join.me (www.join.me) that offers a free level of service; it’s worth checking out.
If you’re technically astute, you can use the Remote Desktop feature in Windows (RDP), or VNC on the Mac. These products can be tricky to set up and use, but they’re definitely free.
Ken swears by a free service that he uses for helping his family out: TeamViewer (http://www.teamviewer.com). It’s free for personal use, but requires payment for business use. It’s a great tool, and provides for unattended access (so you can access your own computer remotely, if you’ve set up TeamViewer to allow this), and it’s simple for folks who need support to set up so you can remotely access their computers. If you’re using remote access for personal use, we strongly recommend TeamViewer as a simple-to-use alternative to LogMeIn.

You can also find many other free and paid remote access services. For example, you may hear radio ads for GoToMyPC, which is a fine service—it just doesn’t happen to be free. (The paid levels for GoToMyPC and LogMeIn seem to be comparable.) For personal use, however, check out TeamViewer. It’s simple to use, and it’s free!

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