Like many people, I use more than one computer for my work. Some people use their computer in their home plus an office computer, and some like myself, have a desktop and a laptop. My laptop allows me to be mobile and work wherever I like and take my material to meetings with clients, but laptops have their drawbacks. First of all, their processing strength is almost always weaker than that of a desktop. Users of heavy graphic programs may be limited by their laptops. In addition, you can’t beat a 17 inch screen for readability and usability, and a real keyboard for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome â€“ two things laptops generally lack.
To ensure that the information on my computers was synchronized, I was constantly transferring my files back and forth between them over our wireless network. This was a time-consuming and annoying process, so now I just leave the files on my laptop and access them via the network from my desktop. This worked fine but I remained with one very annoying problem â€“ Outlook. My Outlook is critical to my work flow, but transferring the information back and forth between two computers is painful. To make matters worse, I use Outlook with Business Contact Manager, an excellent free tool which uses its own separate database file, making it even more difficult to synchronize Outlook data between computers. Aaargh.
LogMeIn to the rescue! LogMeIn has a free version that is simple to use, and allows you to access any computer via the web. All you need is any web browser and an Internet connection, and you can use your remote computer as if you were sitting in front of it.
To sign up:
- Go to LogMeIn and click on Create an account at the top of the screen.
- Create your account. Make sure to select LogMeIn Free as your service of choice. Of course, you can choose to use one of their paid services which include additional features if you find them useful. To see a comparison of the different LogMeIn products, click here.
- Once that is completed, you will be directed to download the LogMeIn software on to your computer. You only need to do this for PCs that you will want to access remotely. For example, if you have a desktop and laptop and you know you will want to access your desktop remotely via your laptop, only download the software to your desktop. If you have more than one computer that you want to access remotely, you can download the software to them too and choose which ones to access in each session.
To access your remote computer:
- Go to LogMeIn and log in to your account.
- Click on the computer that you want to access, and enter your computer access code that you defined during setup. A browser with three options appears.
- Click on Go in the Remote Control section.
Your remote desktop now appears in the browser window. You can work there as if you were sitting in front of that computer.
Good, Bad or Ugly
LogMeIn is good. It does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well. In general, I find that there is very little delay when I am accessing a remote PC, meaning that if I click on a file, it opens almost as quickly as if I was sitting in front of the computer. It is easy to install and easy to use.
No bad. The service works well, and doesn’t make any excuses due to its being free.
Ugly? Nope. The interface is simple and clean, and you can easily toggle your view of your remote PC from full screen to actual size.