After the free version of LogMeIn shut down (on rather short notice), I started to look for alternatives for the occasional remote support session with family and friends. One alternative I was directed to on a forum I frequent was a software utility called Remote Utilities. The developers recently announced (in response to LogMeIn Free's shutdown) that their Remote Utilities software is available with a free license good for business or personal use on up to 10 PCs. It seemed interesting, so I decided to give it a try for myself.
The Remote Utilities Viewer GUI.
The download weighs in at 16.4MB and comes in a zipped folder with two installers for the viewer and host along with a single page quick start guide (PDF). Installation of both programs was simple enough, and it would be easy enough to guide someone through over the phone. The host installer defaults are decent. It will ask the user to enter a password that will be required to access the PC remotely.
It will also offer to create an "Internet ID" which is a code that can be emailed or otherwise given to the support technician. It is used to connect to the client PC without needing to figure out the IP and port forwarding situation of the client PC. Alternatively, you can choose to connect directly via IP without going through Remote Utilities connection servers.
My desktop connecting to my laptop using the Remote Utilities application.
Once the host PC is setup and the viewer application is installed on the other PC, you can connect to, and log into the remote PC. The application allows file transfer, terminal (or command prompt) access, screen sharing, and full GUI remote control of the PC. You can remotely restart and install applications as well. Needless to say, there are a lot of advanced settings and tools for those that like to dive into things while being easy to use in a default state. For a free application, it is very fully featured and easy to use. Performance of the remote control session was very smooth, particularly over the same LAN (naturally). It was at least as responsive as Crossloop and noticeably better than the VNC options I've tested in the past.
As far as encryption options for the connection, Remote Utilities claims to use RSA 2048 asymmetric + AES 256 symmetric (Microsoft Crypto API) for all data sent over the network. The encryption is enabled by default, and cannot be turned off (heh).
This is by no means a full review, and I do not intend for it to be. However, I do believe that it to be an interesting alternative to LogMeIn that is worth sharing. If you are still looking for a free remote support tool, I encourage you to check this one out.
You can grab the free download from: http://www.remoteutilities.com/
What is your favorite free remote support tool?