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  • 4.0 stars

    "Great for remote PC support and the average mobile user"

    January 26, 2009  |   By Jonnyabc

    Pros

    1) It's free
    2) Installation and sign-up is optional
    3) Fairly secure
    4) Somewhat reliable
    5) Great for remote tech support
    6) Allows for switching control more easily

    Cons

    1) Web-based version requires sign-up and has fewer features
    2) Fewer advanced security options (the ones that are available are slightly different though)

    Summary

    In the last few days, I've compared the free versions of LogMeIn and TeamViewer 4. I've had a difficult time deciding which one I liked better, because both appear to have an equal number of advantages and disadvantages. TeamViewer appears slightly more user friendly from the outside, but LogMeIn is much more versatile and customizable. If you are simply looking for a simple way to share information between users, TeamViewer will likely beat LogMeIn hands down. Currently I favor LogMeIn, because I feel that it has slightly more security options.

    Security is the biggest issue with this type of software. Is TV (TeamViewer) better than LMI (LogMeIn), or vice versa? Each has an equal number of pros and cons. TV generates a random password for your computer every time it loads, that is if you don't specify a predefined password after installation. LMI, on the other hand, simply requires that the user know his or her own computer user name and password after logging into their account. While this may make TV more user friendly and open to inviting other people to control your computer for you, watch out; if you set a predefined password, that is the password you give out to your friends to join you on the excursion, so don't pick a password that you use for everything else (or be sure to change it). If you have installed TV, you have the choice to decide whether or not it starts on boot up. LMI does not give you this option (and yes, for those of you who know LMI, you can still disable it). For all of you security freaks (not unlike myself), you want to make sure that your computer is completely safe from all external harm. I would nominate TV for this advantage. However, LMI does offer a whole lot of better options in return. For example, you can set specific options as to its behavior: lock keyboard, blank screen and lock out computer on ending session. You can even setup an option to send a notification to your email every time someone logs into your LMI account. Some of this you can do with TV, but not all that is in one is the same that is in the other.

    Next up: operability. LMI requires that the host computer have software installed and the client to have an up-to-date computer/browser. TV, on the other hand, gives you multiple options; there are three downloads available: full, USB portable and QuickSupport. The full edition on startup allows you to run the program with or without installing it first. The USB edition (which comes in a .zip file) never asks for installation, and runs the full version. Honestly, there really isn?t much difference between running the portable and full edition (without installation), but there are minor differences. The small QuickSupport edition file strictly runs inbound support; in other words, it shows the user their ID and randomly generated password. This is what a user should run if a technician wants temporary access to a computer remotely. Afterwards, the user may simply delete the executable.

    Why install TV if you can run it without that step? Did you try to reboot remotely? ?@#$%^&*!? You?ll be very irritated when you realize that you can no longer access remotely, because as soon as the computer restarts, TV is no longer running. This is when installation is necessary. Since LMI, on the other hand, requires installing the application from the start, this is already solved. Installing TV is recommended if you plan to use your own computer remotely.

    Lastly, we get to the part everyone wants to hear: functions, tools and styles. As the names imply, LMI is a more selfish utility compared to TV. The main difference is what you are looking for in the program. LMI is a great tool if you expect to use it for working on your own computer remotely. There are some features that you can?t get for free there that you can from TV. For instance, LMI can sync clipboards between the computers, but it does not allow simple file transfer. On the other hand, TV can?t sync clipboards, but it does have file transfer abilities for free. This works even better if used with the VPN (Virtual Private Network), which displays the other computer as a regular directory window (i.e. Windows Explorer).

    As mentioned before, the web based version of TV offers fewer features than does the program based one. Nevertheless, both TV and LMI have advantages to the other one. LMI and TV are well named for their uses (LMI is meant for your only, while TV allows for access to other user accounts). You can share your desktop, but you can also simply display it in a presentation view and share files. A very handy function is the ability to easily switch the control of the host and client around.

    Both offer additional features if you?re willing to pay, such as LMI?s remote sound/printing and file transfer abilities. TV is meant for personal use only; if you are an aspiring computer repair/support person, you will have to pay a lot of money to use it professionally. That ends my review of TV and LMI.

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