This is Preston Kemp’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:
Do you get asked to help people with their computers? Do they want you to come over to their house every time something goes wrong? I’m afraid I can’t tell you how to get them off your back, but why would you want to? People need to help other people more these days.
There might be an easier way to solve computer problems for people and make your job a little easier by remotely connecting to their computer. You can download TeamViewer, a free program for both Mac and PC users. It allows you to remotely connect to another person’s computer and take control and fix their issue. All you need to do is get the ID and password from the person you plan to connect to and you can connect to. There are versions for both Mac and Windows and is cross-platform compatible so for example, Let’s say your friend has a lovely Mac and is running OSX but you are running XP or Vista or vice versa; you can still connect and assist them as long as you have their ID and Password. Now you can help people no matter if they have a Mac or a PC.
It has far more functionality than the ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ that can be used for Windows. You can transfer files directly, without having to upload them to a file sharing website and then re-download them at the client computer. There is also a feature for doing a presentation which will allow them to only view your screen and not allow them to control it. TeamViewer also has an integrated feature that allows you to chat with the person to whom you are assisting.
Another of TeamViewers many features is the VPN hosting. If you have someone assisting you, there is an option to record the session so if you forget how to do something you can always go back and find out again by watching the session that you recorded. You can also optimize settings for speed and quality. You can also pick your own settings or let TeamViewer chose what’s best for your connection. Once you have the login credentials you will be able to solve problems just as if you were there in person, sitting at the computer with the issue.
What if I don’t like something they are doing on my computer? No problem – you can easily stop what they are doing by clicking a little X button at the bottom right corner of the screen, which will allow you to override anything they do. Your mouse can also “overrule” the assister’s controls – meaning that if you move the mouse, your mouse gets priority and prevents the assister from doing anything that you wish them not to do.
How do I know they won’t connect to my computer when I’m not using it using my ID and Password I gave them? Don’t worry; they can’t do anything because your password randomly changes every time you use TeamViewer so that they can’t gain control of your computer without your password.