Remote assistance software (what's with MSN?)

Posted on 2008-10-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-10-19
In the past, I used to use MSN messager to connect to friend's and family member's computers... using the request remote assistance (or run application - the feature changed name once or more times).

On my Vista computer, I have version 8.x of Windows Live messenger... which is missing the whiteboard and application sharing. Worse yet, accepting a request remote assistance doesn't result in anything. All I can use Live messenger for is text/video messaging.

On my XP computer, I have Windows Messenger v4.7 and it has the Whiteboard, application sharing, and remote assistance. But now all I see is, "Attempting to connect to ..... " and messages about downloading the latest Windows Live messenger!  

Has Microsoft really removed those neat MSN messenger features?

Anyhow, if MSN Messenger is no longer going to work, can someone recommend another tool that allows for easy remote desktop communication over the Internet.

Specifically a tool that:
- does not have a reoccurring monthly fee
- uses a small footprint remote application with little to no installation questions or knowledge of the Internet (I want family / friends to have the ability to quickly enable their computer to allow me to access their desktop).
- Remote application available for many platforms such as XP, 2000, Vista, Linux (ideally platform independent)

I am not concerned about upfront cost at this point (as long as it isn't outrageous)

I am already aware of PC Anywhere but I cannot ascertain from the Norton website if their HOST program is a small footprint no-questions asked type of program. In my experience, PC Anywhere or all Norton programs are much larger (memory/cpu hog) than most other s/w.

Thank you so much!
Question by:S Connelly
  • 8
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 22619729
Realvnc is what I'd suggest for the situation you described. It does have a free version or you can purchase the commercial version. The differences between the 2 are shown on the website and the link I've supplied.


Hope this helps.

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 22620032
alienvoice: Hello, thanks for your comment, however, this tool seems great if I wanted to remotely access my computer using the java remote application.

RealVNC actually works backwards from what I need. The Java application allows me to view my desktop. It doesn't allow me (the RealVNC server end) to view the remote's desktop (Java application end).

How frustrating!  Unless, there is a way to configure it to work the other way?

LVL 12

Accepted Solution

basav_com earned 2000 total points
ID: 22620079
Teamviewer software is free for personal use.

You will get different flavours depending on your needs.
(Quick support is very easy).
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 22620106
If you want to play with a real remote support tool try GoToAssist Express

They have a beta version right now you can use for free. https://express.gotoassist.com/

At the end of the beta there is a discounted version of the full product.


Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 22620227
Dextertronic: Thanks but GoToAssist Express is exactly what I am not looking for. This tool requires monthly access fee. Why use someone else's server and pay them when I have my own server?

basav_com: Thanks but this software seems to rely on connecting to their server. If I am going to pay $600 (to meet my above criteria) I don't want to have to rely on their server.. s/w becomes useless when they go out of business.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 22620645
You should not overlook tight VNC -- it is free, it does not work "backwards" like real VNC, but the naming might be confusing at first.  You install the same product on both their system and yours.  Yours becomes the "listener" and theirs becomes the "server" hence they install the " server" module.  Once you realize their terminology is a little weird, the product works flawlessly -- but you will have to have a dedicated IP for both sides of the connection -- hence limited use over the internet -- terrific for LANs though.

Like most things with VISTA, remote assistance is kaput between a PC running Vista and one running XP, because of security lockouts, so don't expect this product to work cross OS.s.  So where are you at now?

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 22620736
scrathcyboy: Thank you but..... (I hate writing that!) you seem to have missed my point about needing a very simple install on the remote end. I am dealing with people who use computers for typing. I am very familiar with VNC (tight or otherwise) and it is not a 'simple' one-click install. Otherwise, I think it is a wonderful application.

>it does not work "backwards" like real VNC

Huh? Actually that IS the problem. RealVNC could have been the perfect solution except it does NOT work backwards with the remote Java application. I wish it did.

I am now reviewing a bunch I found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_software

I love Wikipedia! :-)

Last chance to earn 500 points. :-)

LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 22620902
"you seem to have missed my point "  No I did NOT.  I am giving you the only options available.  If you are familiar with all the VNCs, then why not state so in the question -- it saves us time, energy, and typing.

Look at logmein.com -- that is the only totally brain-dead-"simple" solution you will find.
"remote Java applications" are a guaranteed long-term hassle, but good luck with them.

Don't give me points as a "last chance" -- we are here to help people with problems, points are irrelevant, because they mean nothing, buy nothing.  The reason people are here is because THEY are generous !!!

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 22621325
scrathcyboy: whoa! what is with the attitude?
Sorry if I 'rubbed' you the wrong way. The last chance comment was a joke; did you not notice the happy face? I am well aware that the points are useless! I wish that was not the case....because I believe there would be many more participants if they were worth something. One of my issues with EE! At least in the old days, t-shirts were given out as an incentive.

>I am giving you the only options available.

Really? I think you mean that you are giving me the only options that you are aware of.

>If you are familiar with all the VNCs, then why not state so in the question

I was very specific about what I required and unless I am mistaken, all the VNC applications (with the potential exception of RealVNC) do not meet my requirements. Please correct me if I am wrong.

>Look at logmein.com

At first I noticed that it uses a hosted service (which I don't want) BUT they have a free version which makes up for that. This may be a solution. Thank you for that! :-)

>"remote Java applications"

I never specifically stated that it had to be a java based application.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22621999
From the actual posted question I understood that you are asking for personal use. Teamviewer is 'free' for personal use. you don't need to put 600$ for that. If this is not what you are looking for pls follow up with other answers.

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 22622074
basav_com: The problem with the free version is that is not a simple download and run. It requires setup. Only the pay version is a simple execution. To be fair, I will test the free version tomorrow.

Expert Comment

ID: 22622192
You can also try crossloop from http://www.crossloop.com/.
its simple,free and no config needed.Just need to download the
client and install.Also you can get support from lot of experts.
If you are an expert then you can give support to people in two ways.
free of cost or else you can charge too.Check it out...
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22658123
You don't need to install free version(Quick support version). You can directly run it. Pls find the attached pic.

LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 22669414
From following this thread I became curious about Teamviewer (thanks, basav_com, for the hint) and actually the procedure is even easier than described, because only the supporter or client has to run the programme in the picture posted above.
The requester (or server) can run the quick support app (teamviewerQS.exe) which after starting pops up ready for connections, as shown in the picture below.

I find it hard to imagine anything easier than this.

Author Closing Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 31502201
Hello Basav_com!

Thank you for this suggestion. I finally had an opportunity to try this program.

I volunteer as a computer support person for people with all sorts of physical and mental challenges. Consequently, this was one of the reasons why I needed something as 'simple as pie'. I just helped out a young girl this weekend who is mentally challenged. The program worked pretty good.

I had some difficulty at first where the ID was not recognized. Just before I gave up, it finally worked (after about 10 minutes).

It wasn't perfect (except for ease of use)

The Bad:
- Speed - it isn't nearly as fast as other tools like PCAnywhere or NetOp
- Doesn't support sound
- Relies on the Teamviewer company to stay in business (as opposed to being a stand-alone program running on my own server)

The Good:
- Super easy to run for the host
- Allows up/downloads
- Free (but this aspect is not nearly that important as addressing the 'bad' issues)

If there are any other suggestions, I will open a new question.

But I gave you an 'A' for lack of anything else.

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 23177360
Thank you to everyone else for your suggestions. I really appreciate your help.

As I previously mentioned, the answer is not really complete. basav_com's answer worked well for that moment but it really doesn't satisfy my requirements for the long term.

I am open to any further suggestions.

Author Comment

by:S Connelly
ID: 23177408
scrathcyboy: I just realized that you suggested 'logmein' and I have never tested it.

To be fair, I will try to find some time in the next week. If it offers anything that Teamviewer does not, I will honor you with points for the suggestion. But again, it can't address my long term solution of having a program that *I own* without concern of the developer's going out of business or no longer supporting an older OS.
Thanks again to you and everyone else.

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