Ever since I remember I was in charge of my father’s computer (Well, to be honest, there was a time when I tried to install Skool Daze – a Commodore 64 game – on his brand new XT where he was ahead in the game but this quickly changed 😉 ).
Taking care of my father’s computer was an easy talk while we lived together in the same house but got significantly more challenging when I moved out, especially now that I’m in the US and my parents are in Germany. Since “remote controlling” my father on the phone wasn’t as easy as I hoped it to be (without going into details, I guess you know what I’m talking about…) I tried a couple of different programs including “Remote Assistance”, vnc, msn messenger and others over the time which all had different constraints. Without complaining to much none of them truly satisfied me. Fortunately though a friend introduced me to TeamViewer while we were struggling to setup his development environment and I’m using it ever since. Like Paint.NET, .NET Reflector, Fiddler, Process Explorer, FileZilla, … this is a “must have” tool for everybody doing IT-related work and getting regular requests from family and friends about “why the printer isn’t working anymore” or similar issues (I should probably write a “Must have tools” post).
To me it came down to a couple of things I liked about TeamViewer:
- Didn’t have to worry worry about firewalls, IP addresses, NAT. It just worked
- Free for private use
- Can be run without being installed
- Can be installed to run as a service on your parent’s computer which allows you to connect to this computer as long as it’s online
If you’re intrigued and have the same need (otherwise, what are you doing here 😉 ) give it a try and share your thoughts.