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Access remote systems

I have just taken over an IT Department for a company and we have locations all over the United States.  Unfortunately, when there is a problem, I cannot just hop across the street to see what the issue is so I need a way to remotely access their systems to see what the problem is.  I have worked with some other products where we used to dial into their systems and take it over but that has been many moons ago.  I know there are products like gotomypc which we has been used before but was looking for a solution I could use company wide at a fairly good price.  All the systems, I believe, are running Win XP Pro.  Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you.
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Daren Anderson, MSIS
Asked:
Daren Anderson, MSIS
3 Solutions
 
olifaragoCommented:
If you are in a domain environemtn with VPN links between sites (i.e. you have admin rights on the machines and no firewall issues) then I would either use VNC or Dameware, VNC has the advantage of being free.

If you do have firewall issues to contend with then Citrix GotoAssist, Logmein Rescue, and Webex would be the products to look at.

Let me know if you need any more info,
Oli
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KCTSCommented:
Whats wrong with GoToMyPC? It offers a very good and flexible solution to your problem and the free version does eough for most people.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Without knowing more details about your network, my first reaction would be to go VNC as well.
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RaymondPayneCommented:
A very good free solution if you need the user to initiate a session that you can view and work with them over is the Ultra VNC based PCHelpWare.  (http://www.uvnc.com/pchelpware/)   IT will allow you to build a single .exe file which can be sent via a web link to allow users to initiate a reverse VNC session so you can see and control their desktop.

I won't go into too much detail here for now, but I also use a little bit of a convoluted way to do this on a schedule with machines that I don't have VPN access to.  In short though, I have a scheduled task on each remote PC that runs at 1:00am on a daily schedule.  The task is just a wget for a configuration file that has all my pending work in it for the remote machines.  A second task runs at 2:00am that is a VBS script that processes the file, and looks for any lines that match the MAC address of the machine running the task.  If the MAC address matches, I have two basic functions; Run Now and Run Scheduled.  If the MAC address matches and the next word is now, the VBS launches whatever is on the remainder of the line.  If instead of now I have a date and time, the VBS schedules the rest of the line to run as a scheduled task at that date and time.  This allows me to push out updates, and start reverse connections to remote PCs when ever needed.  The basic format for the config file is simply:
      <MAC> <now|yy/mm/dd/hh/mm> <command to execute and switches >
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MshineCommented:
Well if you do not want to spend a dime.. you can always use the built in NETMEETING desktop
sharing feature.. If this is just a once in a while thing, and the users would like to watch you
troubleshoot.

If the users do not mind being logged off until you fix the issue, then simply use the FREE
remote desktop built into WinXP Pro, and when you are finish they can just log back onto
their machine.

Both of these solutions are free.. They can be a little trick to setup initally, but once
you get it setup, and the client used to using it, it's just like anything else and becomes
a pice of cake.

This all depends on your network conditions though.

In order to use RDP if the remote location is using DHCP and has a firewall up, you
will need to configure most complex setup. I believe this will be the same, even if you
choose the VPN route.
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SequimPCCommented:
I was in ST Luis attending a vendor conference and met the folks that work on Log Me In, they have a product that would interest you:
1: Remotely anywhere for LAN Admins

http://www.remotelyanywhere.com/template.asp?page=home

The price is amazing for what you get.
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SequimPCCommented:
* Saint Louis, MO (sp)
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