So I’ve been doing this IT thing for a while. Remote support has been a thing for a LONG time, but it’s become more necessary and relevant now. I’m going to run through a few different remote tools so that everyone can be aware of the various options available.
This post may be updated at a later point. I will also be adding a more in-depth review of each item.
Original post date is 2021-02-05.
Current update is on 2021-02-06.
You may realize that I have (or had) links to some of these on my website. I have used both free and paid versions of many of these solutions, and here I will give my take on each one in no specific order. Please note that I will be abbreviating most of the items – so TeamViewer will become TV, ScreenConnect will become SC, AnyDesk will become AD and so on.
Please note that as usual – this is a personal blog. There are no facts here – just the opinions of the writer. If my opinions offend you then that’s not the intention. Simply get in touch and we can privately (or publicly) hash things out. It’s kinda sad that we’ve got to do disclaimers like that now. The world has become so touchy over every little thing. Anyways – let’s get to it.
This is by far the most popular remote assistance/support tool on the market. There have been changes made to the program and licensing through the years, but it remains #1.
The features of TV are really great. The support is awesome – for getting replies about your issues – and the software updates VERY fast. From a usage perspective here are the pros and cons.
- Well known and trusted.
- Quick updates.
- Forced obsolescence.
I really have no other issues with TV outside of this. But again – this is from a personal experience standpoint. I’ll explain all of that in a minute.
TeamViewer Forced Obsolescence Story
So here’s the thing. In the past people figured out that using TV5 would mean less ads and more connection times. This circumvented the licensing issue where it couldn’t be used in commercial environments.
To protect their intellectual property, the company made changes to their software to prevent connections to/from older versions.
What would happen is this. Let’s say TV15 is the current version (as of 2021-02-05). If you tried to connect to TV5 it would tell you that the connection is not possible – you would need to upgrade. This will also happen if you try to connect to older versions (I believe 2 or more versions behind) than whatever is most current. Any attempts to use an old version (more than 2 versions behind) will result in an error. This forces all persons to be up to date.
So I had purchased a perpetual license before they moved to a SaaS based model – where you have to pay a subscription fee yearly. This was for TV11, and I had it setup at ALL of my clients. These clients also needed access to their systems, so they would use TV as well – but less than two months after my purchase, they released TV12. I asked for a discount considering the VERY recent purchase – I was given a coupon for less than 10%. That aside, my clients were then forced – somewhere between TV12 and TV13 – to upgrade their software in order to connect to their devices. This then locked me out with my licensed older version. No warning, newsletter, notice or heads-up of any kind was given. I foud out the hard way. This is the reason I only use my licensed product if I have no other choice and moved to finding other solutions.
This is currently the #2 and hailing from Germany as well – I believe that TeamViewer also started in Germany. AnyDesk is very quickly stealing the spotlight as the go-to software for remote support. The software evolves quickly and the pricing is at about 40% less than TeamViewer.
The features that are in AnyDesk have not fully matured – but all the things you need to get going are there. The best thing? You can run without requiring elevated privileges – so support can be provided to persons with limited credentials.
Issues with AD would be some differences with operation on mobile – versus what I’m accustomed to on others. I expect things to evolve and more features to be added later on.
While not as popular as the others, this has FAR more features than any other remote tool on the market. The ONLY issues that I have with SC would be pricing and mouse usage from the mobile platform. There is no other remote app that gives you the level of control and set of features that this does.
- Shows connected device details including make/model/serial.
- Can store user passwords so you don’t need to remember them.
- Can issue a “GUEST PASS” to have a friend/colleague assist with support if you’re driving or otherwise indisposed.
- Can send clipboard keystrokes.
- Lists and numbers all devices.
There is nothing else on the market that has the features available in ScreenConnect. And it also supports month-to-month payments which I’ve not seen any other company do.
While not as popular as the others, RU is something that I’d recommend to EVERY starting technical person that has to do remote support.
RU is one of the (very) few tools that still has a perpetual licensing option. Starting at USD$100, the software allows you to connect to an unlimited number of devices, but is limited by an “address book” which is tied to your license.
Costing is at the following USD amounts – $99/$249/$499. Each has an address book limitation of 20/50/unlimited. This means that you can have a maximum of 20/50 items saved in your address book with the first two licenses.
It doesn’t have a “direct connect” feature where you can insert the ID/password of a client and connect – instead, each client must be added to your address book. If you’re supporting someone for a one-off situation, simply add them then delete. Keep the ones that you need to support more often in the address book.
For a technician starting out – USD$99 isn’t a horrible price for software that gives very good connectivity with most of the features you’d want from other popular software. Development progresses slowly, but support is very responsive. The upgrade path is easy and – best of all – there is a FREE licensing option available which gives you an address book with 10 entries.
I would recommend RU over everything – the ONLY issues would be that it’s not as fast as the others with remote viewing and the mobile app needs some work. The address book is also localized – so there is no synchronizing with cloud services available. If this was supported then even with the speed issues, I’d firmly place RU at the #3 spot.
While you may rate the software based on your own experiences, the features will place the items in different orders. If you’re looking for speed – AnyDesk may be #1. If you’re looking at features then ScreenConnect may be #1. If you’re looking at a combination of features and popularity, then TeamViewer may be #1. It depends on what you’re looking for. Test and see what you like. If you’re starting out – use RemoteUtilities. If you want other features – check with each vendor before purchasing/subscribing.