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TeamViewer : Free Remote Access & Sharing over the Internet

Teamviewer is an excellent collaboration tool with features such as remote access to your PC, and can help you access and share files across PCs. The setup is a small file and is available for free at www.teamviewer.com.

The System service is ideal if you want to use your system as a server with complete remote access. Click Full Access, during the installation process. Frequent permission requests get extremely irritating to most users.

Teamviewer generates a specific ID for your computer (not IP) based on your hardware configurations. For those worried about security, Team- Viewer ensures all connections are encrypted and protected from external access – even from themselves.

TeamViewer’s easy-to-understand startup screen

The main window, as you can see, has two major functions – it allows you to initiate a connection (outgoing), and at the same time lets you connect to another PC running TeamViewer.

To wait for a session, you need to provide the person with your unique ID and four-digit passkey. If you wish to make TeamViewer a Windows System Service, you’ll need to provide a permanent password. This should be displayed as User Defined instead of the 4 digits.

Click on the Password field. You may change the password (dynamic = random), copy it to the clipboard or set a user defined one. To Create a session, enter the ID of the person you’re trying to connect to. Your TeamViewer has three modes:
  1. Remote Support: This allows for remote control and desktop sharing.
  2. Presentation: Here, you may show either your desktop or a single window
  3. File Transfer: As is obvious, enabled for transferring files
  4. VPN: For this, TeamViewer VPN must be installed, hence we shall skip its functionality
Enter the ID of the person you are trying to connect with, establish a connection with the Remote Support option. This way you can control the remote PC using your mouse and keyboard.

Lend a supportive hand, remotely, using TeamViewer

In the title bar, the person’s name or ID is displayed. The toolbar below this has some additional options:

Switch Sides

This allows you to change the direction of control. That is, your partner will now be able to control your computer. This has many multifaceted uses, especially when jointly collaborating on projects.

[Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Delete] As expected, this actually sends the three-button combo and allows you to access the taskbar of the other person. This feature is however, only available if TeamViewer is made a Windows System Service. You can do a Remote Reboot to log off, restart or restart in safe mode. Disable Remote Input disables the mouse and keyboard of the remote PC. Show Black Screen prevents the person from seeing what’s being done on his computer. You need to Disable Remote Input to do so.

View has several options, allowing you to adjust and optimize Quality and Speed. You may also scale and change the viewing resolution. This ensures the difference in resolution doesn’t cause errors. If the remote PC has multiple monitors, you also have the choice of displaying all of them simultaneously. Other options include selecting windows, showing the desktop, a manual screen refresh, removing the remote computer’s wallpaper, and the ability to show or hide your partner’s cursor.

Audio/Video options allow you to make VoIP calls, Video Calls, IM type Chat and conference calls. The File Transfer dialog allows you to transfer files between the two computers. Other options (Extras) include features to record your session as a video. This helps in case you’re working on a project (say, a graphic design scheme), so you can later analyses your actions.

File transfer actions

You have complete control of both computers and can transfer files to and fro. Your file system appears on the left and the remote computer’s system on the right. The record of all files accessed and all operations is recorded in a log on your partner’s computer.

Transfer files to a remote computer easily

In the presentation mode, your computer shares its desktop. If the remote PC doesn’t have TeamViewer installed, your PC can be accessed from it by entering your ID and password at http://go.teamviewer.com.

Presentation toolbar

Apart from moderating the flow of the presentation (pause / continue) where basically you control whether your screen is displayed live or not, you may also remove the wallpaper (this improves performance), adjust quality settings like bandwidth, frames per second, color depth, Windows Aero and other minor tweaks. Similar to the Remote Support Mode, you may have one monitor or more, with a maximum of four monitors. The other options are similar to the Remote Support Options.

The widgets allow for video, where you can control your webcam, VoIP so you may give a live presentation, and a conference call option. You can also chatting via the IM interface.

What’s cool is the literal use of the Presentation interface. TeamViewer allows for a drawing palette with presentation tools like markers, erasers and an elementary MS-Paint like setup to draw and modify your current presentation, similar to blackboard learning.

So that’s how you use Team- Viewer. Advanced users can fiddle around with the connection options, make groups of people, and try out VPN and LAN connection and more.