Remotely accessing a computer via the Internet has been possible for a long time, but the process usually involved static IP addresses or live Internet IP addresses. LogMeIn Hamachi and TeamViewer are two of the most powerful applications and they're also free to use for personal and non-commercial environments. The process involves downloading a simple utility on both the host and client computers and connecting them over a reasonably fast Internet connection. In this simple workshop, we’ll show you how to install and use TeamViewer for non-commercial use. Corporate users can create presentations, transfer important files or conduct video conferences, and service engineers can offer online help using the licensed version meant for commercial usage.
Figure 1, 2 and 3
Firstly, download the 3.4 MB free application from www.teamviewer.com on the host and client computers, which need to be controlled (Fig 1). After the download is complete, you can choose to either run the application as a standalone or install it on your PC. Don’t choose the install option if you don't own the computer (for instance, if you are running the application from a public PC (cybercafé) or a friend’s home). Once done with the installation, TeamViewer will access the Internet and allot your computer with a unique ID and password, which will be displayed on the screen (Fig 2). Now your machine is ready to either be a host PC or connect to a client PC. The computer on the other end will also have a unique ID and password, which needs to be passed on to you so that you can gain access to that computer. Key the details into the ‘Create Session’ fields (Fig 3) on the right side of the window.
Finally, select the type of activity you need the connection for – remote control, file transfer, or VPN.Click on the ‘Connect to partner’ icon and TeamViewer will connect your system to the host and ask you for the password (Fig 4).
Remote control will show you the entire screen of the other PC on your monitor, which you can control and use as you like (Fig 5). You have options such as switching sides with the host, sending crucial commands such as locking, rebooting, etc. You can also view or send video feeds if webcams are installed on either side. Voice chat is also possible.
Figure 6 and 7
The File Transfer option can enable transferring files to and fro. It is a simple window, which is divided into two parts – your PC and the remote PC. Simply select the files you need and click the send/receive buttons. You can also create folders or delete files (Fig 6).
For secure VPN connections, you can install a VPN adapter, which is automatically downloaded and installed on your PC. Note: This needs to be done once on both ends for it to work. A VPN connection is a secure connection that installs a virtual Ethernet adapter on both machines and assigns a virtual IP address (Fig 7) from the TeamViewer servers (similar to Hamachi). Once connected, you can use this IP address for various purposes such as to directly copy files, share folders, map drives, print on remote printers as though you are physically connected on the other PC’s local network. It is similar to an interconnected WAN network using static or live IP addresses.
The other option with TeamViewer is the ‘Presentation’ mode; wherein one can start a presentation and the other(s) using TeamViewer can join in to the presentation (Fig 8). Here, the password will differ from the remote control service. Both need to exchange these passwords and one user needs to join before starting the presentation. Once the presentation mode is started, you can stream your desktop screen to all the computers connected in the presentation mode. Using this mode, you can give product demos, use it for teaching or training, and have virtual meetings. Other options available are whiteboard, conference calls and VoIP.
The option to have unattended access is also possible. Click on the ‘Setup unattended access…’ link on the lower left half and key in your credentials (Fig 9). This way, you can setup and keep TeamViewer minimized and access your own computer using the Internet whenever you go outdoors. TeamViewer is also available for mobile platforms such as Android and iPhone. Simply download the app from the Android Market or App Store using your phone and connect to your computer remotely using the Wi-Fi, GPRS or 3G Internet access.
You need version 6 of TeamViewer on your desktop to use remote access on your mobile (Fig 10). Though using the desktop on your miniature mobile screen would be cumbersome, it is a great option for online access and remote help when you are in a remote location without a PC at your disposal. The mobile application is limited only to remote control; you cannot perform file transfers or use VPN on the mobile platform.