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I am primarily a Macintosh user, and can usually walk a client though any troubles they may have because I have a Macintosh in front of me. If they are on a different OS, things are close enough, or I cam remember, that I can get by.

When trying to help clients on Windows, I get stuck. I do not have access to windows, and even if I did, there are far too many versions of Outlook, all with their various esoteric settings and checkboxes, that I could never see exactly what they are seeing.

I mostly need to just help them with email setup. Something like copilot.com may do the trick.

What is the simplest remote control software out there, ideally, it would accomplish these:

  1. No software needed on remote end, or, a single .exe that they can toss when done.
  2. I need Mac based software on my end. I do have ARD, which support VNC
  3. Free :) If possible, it would be really nice
  4. Needs a port forwarding proxy run by the company. There is no way I can get the user to alter their router, or to even plug directly into their WAN for a short time.

On the Mac, I just have them open iChat, and this is all built in, proxying through AIM, looking for the same for Windows and Mac.

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You might want to change the title to '...server need not...' as client implies the one connecting (you). On a side note, have them check out imgs.xkcd.com/comics/tech_support_cheat_sheet.png –  Benjamin Manns Mar 13 '10 at 6:10
    
@Benjamin: client as in: "person", not "computer". –  Arjan Mar 27 '10 at 8:38
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6 Answers

You want Single-Click VNC

http://www.uvnc.com/addons/singleclick.html

  1. It's an EXE they can toss at the end
  2. If you have a VNC server that supports reverse VNC, you are good to go
  3. Yes
  4. You modify your router settings, they only need outbound 5500 TCP
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Sounds nice, for the free option, I will look at this one and report back how it all worked out. I guess I am going to have to re-install that windows VM here to configure it though. :( Thank you for your recommendation though, looks good. –  user17245 Mar 14 '10 at 1:29
    
The EXE is a 7zip self extracting file. If you have a program that can read 7zip SFX files on your Mac you can replace the configuration text files without using Windows. –  ta.speot.is Mar 14 '10 at 2:17
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Take a look at TeamViewer.

  • The Quick Support is a single executable that establishes a connection.
  • Works on Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Free for personal use, one-time payment for business use.
  • Has other features other solutions don't have, like creating a VPN between you and your client as well as being able to flip the viewer/presenter roles for doing presentations or demonstrations.
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@Erick: Can't believe you're the only one mentioning this. Beats the other ones hands down. Single easy to use .exe. Free. No need to setup your own server. Etc, etc. Can use via the web browser, so Macs are go. Beats the other options here hands down. –  ssvarc Mar 15 '10 at 2:14
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TeamViewer is a wonderful product, but it is only free for personal use. If you are using it for business purposes you need to purchase a one-time license. –  Stephen Jennings Mar 15 '10 at 4:02
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My vote would go towards LogMeIn Rescue.

  1. No software to install
  2. Works on a Mac
  3. Not free
  4. No need to mess with any settings.
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There is a small exe file that logmein calls an applet that the customer must choose to install. –  Beaner Mar 13 '10 at 7:03
    
Right, but it's quick, painless, and easy to step though. Not something they have to find and install or be sent. –  Josh K Mar 13 '10 at 7:26
    
Wow, when you say not free, you really mean it. Am I looking at the wrong pages? I clicked up "Buy" and am taken to secure.logmeinrescue.com/US/Purchase/Plans.aspx which tells me that it is 1888.00 a year. I am liking copilot more and more, especially with their free weekend day passes. Still pricey though at 500.00 a year. –  user17245 Mar 14 '10 at 1:33
    
Check out the features page though: secure.logmeinrescue.com/US/HelpDesk/Features.aspx Honestly it's up to you if you think it's worth it. CoPilot is pretty sweet, but the features LogMeIn has are very expansive. –  Josh K Mar 14 '10 at 3:28
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Try ISL Light It is not free, but also not expensive. Works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

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Since you have ARD, built into the Mac OS: enable from System Preferences > Sharing either Screen Sharing or Remote Management. I'd suggest Remote Management because you can walk the client through enabling the VNC connection option with a common shared password, and inform them that they can disable/change the password to lock you out later (so they feel confident about letting you "spy" their screen and "steal" their mouse from them).

Then again, in my environment, all my clients have an account that allows our Desktop Support team to get their work done (of course, make sure to get permission, open a chat window first, wiggle their mouse and confirm everything so they don't freak out at you "hacking them" - "Hey, I built your image and fixed your computer the last time you went out of town; give me a break!").

By the way, iChat is a pretty clever solution, however it requires they have/can remember some sort of IM settings. As far as my parents go (my worst clients as far as remembering how to do stuff when I show them how), this was never much of an option. Hence, I keep my own account on their box to bypass the "ease" of ichat's screen sharing. BUT, it's great amongst my tech-savy coworkers. Finally, I can just show our Email manager what the error message I see on my and my clients' Macs, and let him poke it without him having to drive across town to us.

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I really like Ammyy. Its fast and free to use. Dont have to configure anything with your router.

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