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I need to remote control a PC that is behind a SOHO ADSL router (netgear or similar). I do not have access to the password for his router so I cannot make changes on it. I can install software on his PC though.

What remote control software is best that can work through http/https (I am assuming his router only has those ports open)? It also needs to work without having a person at the other end, as I will be accessing the PC out of business hours.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I use Windows Live Mesh (www.mesh.com). Once you have it setup, you don't need to accept invitations. You will need a Microsoft Passport account for it though.

You can access it via the Mesh Client or from http/https.

-JFV

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Looks good...this could be the answer. Are there any "gotchas"? No networking issues? NAT issues? –  Martin Rennix May 26 '09 at 4:18
    
I've been using it for a while... it has no problems at all crossing firewalls and NATs (I reach my home PC through my corporate network at work and across a Netgear router at home). –  Sean Earp May 26 '09 at 8:18
    
No 'gotchas' that I've found. As long as you have the software running on the system, you should be good to go! I reach my home PC from work and vice-versa. I think it works very well! –  JFV May 26 '09 at 11:50
    
Tried this tonight. All I can say is Wow! Simple install and zero configuration. Worked straight off the bat. Very impressed. I assume this is just a fancy front-end to RDP? One question - can Mr Random Hacker RDP to the remote PC and access it? The user has no password on the admin account. I know, I know. I will recommend he changes it. Typical SOHO user. –  Martin Rennix May 26 '09 at 12:50
    
@20th Century Boy: You shouldn't have any issues as long as your MS Passport password is secure. I've been using this for months and I love how easy it is to use and haven't had any issues with security. –  JFV May 26 '09 at 13:05

I will say Teamviewer It's free for personal use.

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Looks good, never heard of it. Is the free version non-crippled? –  Martin Rennix May 26 '09 at 3:21
    
The free version works very well. I've used it running from my U3 flash drive. The only thing it does is prompt you to only use it for personal use when you're done. It does need you to connect on both ends (ie: you will need to accept incoming invitations and provide/enter a password). –  JFV May 26 '09 at 3:41
    
@JFV - the link here teamviewer.com/licensing/index.aspx says that the free version does not require user interaction? –  Martin Rennix May 26 '09 at 4:10
    
As I remember Team viewer free version has some session time limit. –  Chathuranga Chandrasekara May 26 '09 at 6:19

You should check out LogMeIn which works really well even with the free version.

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You can reconfigure most VNC and RDP servers to accept connections on the http port. It is also usually easy to turn off the option requiring user acceptance.
Provided the router will forward the incoming http traffic to your computer, you should be able to use UltraVNC, tightVNC etc, or the default MS Remote Desktop Connection program.
You may also need to add exceptions for the Windows Firewall.

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If you're not afraid of shelling out a couple of bucks in the process, you could try Copilot for free for a couple of minutes and then buy a day pass or something like that if you like the functionality.

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I use both teamviewer and LogMeIn and recently trialled almost every remote control software there is but here are my top free ones:

LogMeIn.com is very good... free version has no restrictions (non-commercial obviously) and allows you to access computers unattended. I use this a lot between my home pc/laptop and work computer. It has some restrictions like not being able to copy files between computers, remote sound and printing etc that you can pay extra for (which is probably worth it), but you can copy and paste text across computers ok.

TeamViewer is also very very good... I have just bought the a commercial license which is good for the lifetime of the software (i.e. no yearly subscription). The free version is ideal and I bought the commercial version because I offer remote support to my customers. The free version is the same as the commercial version. You can move files between computers (unlike LogMeIn) and you can also setup and connect to unattended computers.

LogmeIn is web browser based on the support computer and you need to install software on the client computer. TeamViewer is software based (you need to install a small .exe on both the client support computer).

Both of these uses Port 80 (http) so you will never have any issues of getting though firewalls / routers etc.

On the otherhand there are programs such as UltraVNC, RealVNC, Remote Session Support etc which are a lot more difficult to get up and running but you dont need to rely on a external server to relay the session. I started with these but had so many issues and was difficult trying to explain to a customer what check-boxes to tick, untick etc, and I had speed issues as the control of the client PC always seemed sluggish and unresponsive. You also need to open a port on your firewall (or setup your own server to relay remote sessions).

The best overall remote control is LogMeIn because you can use it from any computer followed very closely by Teamviewer.

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Have you tried Windows Live Mesh (see answer above)? I would be interested to hear how it stacks up against LogMeIn and TeamViewer. –  Martin Rennix May 26 '09 at 12:52
    
no, but I will test it tonight and let you know. –  belliez May 26 '09 at 14:23

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