I shudder to think of the number of times I have, in my capacity as geek to my friends and relatives, been forced to make a personal visit simply to install a piece of software or to diagnose a problem they're having. All because I needed to see their screen, or needed them to take me through the steps leading up to a fault. How many hours have been wasted on the road when they could have been more usefully spent actually sorting out their problem, which of course translates to more time in the pub. Thankfully, I don't do that any more. That's not to say I don't help out my friends or family, they're friends and family after all. No, these days I use Crossloop. RDP didn't suit my needs at all, especially when a) I want the end-user to actually learn something and b) I often need the assistance of the user - 'what were you doing when it crashed?' I needed something like WinVNC, something which gave me the power of control, and the user the visibility. WinVNC is good, but not very secure. Plus using it often raises a red flag in whatever anti-virus/anti-spyware software you're running. Crossloop combines the power of WinVNC with the security of SSL. Connecting to a central service, connectivity between users is setup transparently to both sides - somthing taken care of by the Crossloop servers. The steps are really simple...
User runs Crossloop
User notes unique connection number
User sends unique connection number to helper (either via IM or over the phone)
User clicks 'Connect'
The helper side is just as simple
Helper runs Crossloop
Helper enters connection number
Helper clicks 'Connect'
Both sides then establish the SSL tunnel over which the session traffic will be routed, to help prevent man-in-the-middle style attacks or discovery. Then, when the tunnel is setup, WinVNC launches with the remote display on the Helpers PC. Very cool. But the fun doesn't stop there. What if you don't have a family geek? Do you steal a suitably pasty faced yoof from the local supermarket? Thankfully there is an army of Crossloop members sat there just waiting for your cry for help. They'll help you whatever your problem, and they'll do it for free. Yes, you heard me, free. Altruism at its best. The singular drawback is that its WinVNC component still, sometimes, gets caught by the most stringent anti-malware applications which kinda breaks the whole process - frustrating as you don't have access to the user's PC in order to carry out the install to gain access to the user's PC. In most cases, adding the application to your anti-malware's whitelist BEFORE running it will fix that little problem - adding it after is akin to closing the gate after the horse has bolted, WinVNC will already have been quarantined. Check out these links, they show Crossloop in action. http://crossloop.typepad.com/bringing_people_closer/2007/12/crossloop-raise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzbcuiMiwX0 Quite frankly, Crossloop is the best remote desktop app I've used... It blows RDP away for the obvious reasons, but more importantly as a user you can have a high level of confidence that the guy on the other end of the connection is a good guy, and that your problem will be sorted out. -- Disclaimer: Crossloop is an external application. PlusNet provides no guarantees as to its functionality, or warranty for any damage that using it may cause.