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.
This is J Kolson (Zetacon) 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:
There is a lot of free software available for your Windows PC. However, it can sometimes be difficult to filter out the good software from the bad. In this article, I have provided a list of top five free programs that you just can’t do without that hit a lot of key areas:
- OpenOffice – If you’re looking for a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Office, then this software package is for you. While similar to Microsoft’s Office software suite, OpenOffice provides just as much pizazz and a little more. If you’re switching over to OpenOffice from another office suite software, your files should be read with no problems. OpenOffice is available in many languages and is completely free of charge for a variety of uses, business or home.
- HijackThis – Whether you are proficient in the use of your Windows PC or not, this is an excellent program to have installed in case of an emergency. Hijack This scans several areas of your system and returns a log file of what it has scanned. The log file is recommended to be read by advanced users, so if you don’t know exactly what you are looking at, be sure to post it on a support forum for assistance.
- Logon Studio – This piece of software from Stardock allows you to customize your login screens on Windows XP and Vista. You can download a variety of themes from WinCustomize , use the few default themes provided with the program, or use the built-in editor to create your own. A simple program, but gives a face lift to the logon screens for XP and Vista.
- RamBooster – The name of the software says it all: Ram Booster. RamBooster allows you to optimize your RAM to allow your PC to run smoother and faster, resulting in you restarting your system less. The options allow you to set how much RAM you want to optimize and how often to optimize it. You can also manually optimize it by opening the program and clicking “Optimize”. The built-in CPU meter also monitors your CPU usage. The only downside to this program is that it has to be started manually each time your PC boots.
- TeamViewer – Good remote assistance programs are hard to come by, especially the free ones. TeamViewer is a nice exception, though. This remote assistance program allows two computers to connect to each other over a secure connection, utilizing a randomly generated numerical username and password. You can use a few different options before connecting: the Remote Support to take control of another PC, Presentation to show others how something works, File Transfer to send programs and other files to another person’s PC, and VPN to enable a Virtual Private Network.
There you have it, my Top Five list of Essential Windows programs. If you have recommendations for software you would like to submit, locate me in Chris’ IRC chat room or find me on Geeks!