Remote access software
January 27, 2014 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I've been using (like GoToMyPC) to admin family computers remotely. They will no longer be free in 1 week, asking $10/month per remote computer which is too much. What free alternatives are there that work well?
posted by stbalbach to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Teamviewer is free for private use and works great for this.
posted by JumpW at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Teamviewer
posted by bluecore at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: RemoteDesktop is a standard Windows utility.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2014

Best answer: Any secure VNC variant will do.

The only thing you'll need is a ddns hostname for the computer you're trying to connect to, plus the appropriate port forwardings in any firewalls between that computer and the Internet.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:27 AM on January 27, 2014

Best answer: Also: Lifehacker - Five Best Remote Desktop Tools
posted by bluecore at 10:28 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just use Chrome, no need for another program.
posted by Cosine at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2014

ya, teamviewer. it just sorts out all the complex networking stuff by itself. i switched from logmein to teamviewer just because... about 5 months ago. It just works really well.
posted by chasles at 10:46 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Chrome Remote app. It works really well.
posted by pantufla_milagrosa at 10:47 AM on January 27, 2014

If you use OS X, Back To My Mac.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 AM on January 27, 2014

I like TeamViewer (free for personal use) and Windows Remote Desktop (RDP). is a web-based solution that's pretty dang good, but it's part of the logmein empire, so I don't know if its currently free price tag will change. is no good for unattended administration, though.

TeamViewer might be the best because it covers unattended connections (requires an easy setup process for unattended access) and it allows the user to see what's going on (whereas Windows RDP connects as a user, which will either be invisible to the user or boot the user out. TeamViewer also works cross-platform (Windows/OSX). The only time you don't want what TeamViewer has to offer is if your support will interfere with something the user wants to keep doing. (It's well and good to refuse that condition when you're paid on the user's behalf, but free family support is different.)
posted by Sunburnt at 10:58 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'll try TeamViewer next as it seems the most friendly/easy to setup and like Logmein.
posted by stbalbach at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2014

TeamViewer will time you out after a while (I think an hour?) when using the free version. But it doesn't stop you from immediately re-establishing a connection. You can either set it up to have an always-on listener so you can connect at will, or run the exe file to generate a code and have the recipient send you that code by email or over the phone to connect. I help my brother out once in a while like this; he just keeps a copy of the application in his Downloads folder and runs it when I need to connect. Works great. You can even run it from mobile platforms (they have free-to-use apps for iOS, Android, etc.).
posted by caution live frogs at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

i used teamviewer for the first time today (mac osx lion connecting to windows 7 pc) and it worked so much better than logmein ever did. no connection timeouts over the course of 9 hours, no strange behavior, worked as smoothly as i could have hoped. thanks for the recommendation.
posted by maximum sensing at 6:12 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Teamviewer also has a really solid mobile application

apps page

* Android app

* iOS app

* they also have Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8/RT apps
posted by knockoutking at 6:49 AM on January 29, 2014

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