Its Time To Say Goodbye To LogMeIn Free


After ten years, LogMeIn’s free remote access product is going away. Current users will be notified via email and in-product messages about the need to upgrade. While messaging has already started, users will be given 7 days to make a purchase decision about LogMeIn Pro.

Even though LogMeIn Free is gone, don’t panic: You can still find alternative and FREE remote-access tools. Whether you need to access a document, collaborate with a colleague, or support several PCs, try one of these free tools to get back into the game.

TeamViewer
Our tech team has been using TeamViewer as our secondary remote access tool for years, and it has always been reliable. Simply download the program from the website, and then install it (or run it without installation, if you like) on both of the PCs you want to connect. During installation, you can also set the program to allow for unattended control. TeamViewer installs as both a server and a client, so you can use it to take control or to allow control.

TeamViewer 9’s cooler features include the ability to open multiple remote sessions in tabs (as in a browser), cut and paste between computers via the clipboard, and drag and drop files from your desktop to the remote desktop. It’s a mature, stable, practical tool for anyone’s remote-control needs. Note that you will get the occasional message about upgrading to the pay version if you use TeamViewer regularly to connect to a lot of different PCs.

VNC
VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, isn’t itself a product, but an open-source remote-control and display technology that’s implemented by Tight VNC (free), Ultra VNC (free) and RealVNC (free and pay), among other parties. VNC isn’t hard to use, but it’s not as simple as Join.me and TeamViewer, which don’t require user knowledge of IP addresses. To use VNC, install it on both the PCs you want to connect and then set them to listening. To control another PC, simply open the VNC viewer (client), enter the PC’s IP address, and have at it.

Join.me
Join.me is another remote access tool my team uses on a regular basis. Join.me is a web-based meeting service (free and pay) from LogMeIn that also provides remote control. It’s convenient for impromptu support in that all you need on the controlling PC is a Web browser. The user with the computer that will host the meeting (and offer control) simply surfs to the Join.me site, selects Start Meeting, and downloads a file.

After running the file, the meeting originator passes the provided nine-digit passcode to the user or users on the other end, who in turn enter the passcode in the Join Meeting field on the Join.me homepage. The meeting originator’s desktop will appear in the browser. Once remote control is granted, you can chat, send files, and more. Join.me isn’t suited for unattended remote control, which makes it only a partial replacement for LogMeIn.

WebEx Free
Most users think of WebEx as a tool for multiuser boardroom meetings, but it’s also perfectly suitable for small-scale, live (not unattended) remote control and support. WebEx works a little differently from Join.me in that installing software is required at both ends, but that’s a relatively painless process.

Once users have joined the meeting, initially they can only view the originator’s desktop, but the originator can make another person the presenter, pass control over the mouse and keyboard, and share files, chat, and utilize webcams for face-to-face interaction. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you stray from the main features (available from the usual drop-down panel at the top of the display), but overall WebEx is quite easy to use. 

Most importantly – Don’t get spoofed
Because of the popularity of remote-control and remote-meeting services, the Web is ripe with spoofed websites (those that look very much like the correct one, but aren’t) that will attempt to lure you in if you don’t type the URL correctly. Downloading software from these sites can be dangerous to your computer’s health, as well as to your wallet. This is something we talk about all the time.

The correct website addresses for the services I’ve mentioned above are:

TeamViewer — http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx
RealVNC — http://www.realvnc.com/
Join.me — https://join.me/
WebEx Free — http://www.webex.com/

The ability to access and control a PC remotely is a must for workers and IT administrators alike. If you really love one of these free alternatives, consider throwing a few bucks to the developer. Who knows: Your contribution could help to keep the FREE program going for everyone.

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