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RemotePC Review

RemotePC

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RemotePC is a software package that allows you to let people access your computer over the internet. You have to install software on the target computer. However, you don't have to install any software on the remote control computer.

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Likes

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This package is great for individuals who want to access a home computer over the internet, or collaborate with a widely distributed team. RemotePC is meant for sharing access to a remote computer among a team. Customer support teams also use it to fix their clients' problems.

  • PROS
  • Free version
  • 30-day free trial for higher-priced plans
  • Communication over secure connections
  • Wake on LAN facility to turn remote computer on
  • Option to operate connection through a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • CONS
  • Requires you to install software on remote computer
 

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Pricing and Plans

RemotePC heavily discounts its paid plans for the first year of use. However, pay attention to the full price of the plan that you choose because that's the price you'll pay from the second year onwards.

The prices that you see in the plan options screen below seem remarkably cheap. However, the top two plans become expensive after the end of the first year.

The free option is great for personal users. You can only access a computer running Windows, Mac OS X, or Mac OS. However, you can access the system from any devices, including smartphones. The price you pay depends on the number of computers that you want to access remotely, not on the number of devices that you want to access them from.

The Team and Enterprise plans are the same price. The Enterprise plan has more features, so it's unlikely that anyone would choose the Team plan. Both plans offer a 30-day free trial. This offers a good way to get to know the system and ensure that it's what you need before you pay out.

You can pay for RemotePC with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card.

Features

The feature list includes platform independence. This means that the accessing computer can be of any operating system because you gain access through the RemotePC website. Thus any computer that can access the web can use the facility. The computer being controlled has to be either a Mac or a Windows PC. The "always on" access includes the ability to access a computer even if it's turned off. The "wake on LAN" facility enables you to turn on a computer remotely once you've installed RemotePC on it.

The free plan enables you to control one computer. You can give any number of other devices access to that one computer. You can give access either on a one-time-only basis, or permanently.

The Consumer plan allows remote access to ten computers. You can also transfer files to and from the controlled computer and print out remotely with this plan. In order to transfer files to and from the remote computer, you must also install RemotePC on your local computer.

The Enterprise plan is RemotePC's full-feature package. This plan includes all of the features of the Consumer package, plus 24/7 access to customer support. The Enterprise package enables you to create roles. Thus different team members can get different levels of access to the same remote computers. You can also group users and allocate each group access to a different set of remote computers.

Universal features of the RemotePC system include:

  • One-year tariffs
  • Automatic account renewal
  • Secure connections with Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • Encryption with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
  • Online chat system
  • Session recording
  • Ability to switch between monitors for multi-screen remote computers
  • Remote screen lock
  • Sticky notes to leave messages on the remote computer

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Security and Privacy

All connections run on the RemotePC system pass through the company's server. This is true whether you access it through an app on your device or through the website control panel. The website access from your local computer runs over the HTTPS system, which encrypts messages' contents. Communications between your remote computer and the RemotePC control page on the website are protected by TLS. This is the security method used by HTTPS. It includes identity confirmation through a system of certificates. The certificate of an HTTPS site includes its public encryption key. This key is used to exchange encryption keys for the data channel of the connection.

Data is protected by an AES encryption cipher. The AES system is a shared-key method where both sides in a communication hold the same key. This both encrypts and decrypts messages. The length of the key used for a cipher dictates the strength of the encryption and its resistance to being cracked. RemotePC uses a 256-bit key for its AES encryption. This has never been cracked.

You can use a VPN with your RemotePC connection. However, there is no VPN service included with RemotePC. Instead, you have to subscribe separately to a VPN service of your choice. In order to connect through a VPN, you have to instal the client VPN software on both the remote and local computers. The VPN should be active on the remote computer.

Support

Only Team and Enterprise plan subscribers get access to a customer support service. However, prospective clients get much more attention through a live chat system. You access this by clicking on the green oblong in the bottom right of the website.

In order to begin a session, you need to enter your name and email address. The system then connects you to a customer support technician.

If your issue is very technical, you'll be passed onto a second line technician who will be able to guide you through a fix. You can also contact the support team by telephone or through a support form on the website. You don't need to log into your account in order to reach this form. It's accessible from the website's main navigation menu.

The Process

Signing Up

Try out the free version for one person first before you go for one of the paid plans. Although the free version doesn't have some of the extra features of the paid services, the system's basic operations are exactly the same. There's no trial period or money-back guarantee with the Consumer plan. Thus you should definitely give the system a run through with the free version if you're thinking of signing up to that package.

The RemotePC Windows Client

The first time you log into the Control Panel, it will prompt you to download an app. This is essential for the computer that is going to be accessible remotely. However, you don't have to install this program on a computer that will be providing access. Instead, you can access these functions through the RemotePC website.

The first time you open the downloaded interface, it will prompt you to enter a passcode for the computer. If you're on the free plan, this is the only PC that you can register. You can install the RemotePC software on any number of computers, but can only register one within the app at any one time. If you want to control a different computer remotely, you have to disable the registration of the first computer you logged with the system, and set up a passcode to register a new device. The passcode is an identifier that you make up yourself.

The online version of the controlling app has a similar layout to the downloaded version.

Other Platforms

Android and iOS

You can access your PC from an Android or iOS device. However, if you try to use the website interface from a smartphone, it will prompt you to download and install the RemotePC app.

I accessed the service from the Dominican Republic. I downloaded the app onto my Windows 10 laptop and registered that computer. I then installed the app on my Android phone and used that to access the service. The first time that I tried to access my laptop from my phone, the app just presented me with a blank screen.

I contacted the support desk. They suggested this problem was caused by a faulty install. After I uninstalled and reinstalled the app, it worked.

The smartphone app wasn't very responsive. I found it difficult to navigate around my laptop's screen through the small screen of my phone. I can't see many people having the patience to use this app only through a phone. However, you would probably get better use out of the service connecting one computer to another - where the screen sizes are similar.

RemotePC Review: Conclusion

Although this system isn't aimed at customer support teams, you could use it for that purpose. You could send a link to a download file through the customer support team's chat system or via email. There's no way to ensure that the customer deletes the software once the fix has been achieved. However, the ability to remove a remote PC from an account means that the remaining software won't be useable. Nor will it reduce the number of available installs that the team could make.

For the individual user, the ability to access a home PC over the internet and play stored music and video files provides an alternative to cloud storage. It wasn't possible to use the service on my smartphone without installing an app, which is annoying because my phone's memory is always filling up. However, this is one of the smallest apps that I've installed on my Android phone. The app itself takes up 21 MB of storage, compared to 174 MB needed for Facebook Messenger.

I liked:

  • Free version
  • 30-day free trial
  • Browser-based controls
  • No need for software on controlling device

I wasn’t so sure about:

  • Inability to uninstall software remotely

I hated:

  • Slow response times

The free version of RemotePC gives you access to your home computer wherever you are. Thus you don't need to worry about syncing files or accessing cloud storage. The enterprise version of this software enables a business to nominate a desktop computer as a server, to which a small team can have access. Businesses that rely on telecommuters can use the RemotePC system to set up enterprise software on the computers of remote workers without requiring staff to travel into the office. This is an interesting solution that can substitute for cloud services.

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