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pcAnywhere from Symantec

By James E. Gaskin, Network World Lab Alliance, Network World
January 22, 2007 12:06 AM ET

Network World - Symantec's pcAnywhere started this market and remains the leader in both market and mind share.

All the basic features are included, but the interface is a bit cluttered, newer features could be called bells and whistles rather than valuable tools, and some parts of the product seem tacked on rather than organic.

Installation files for Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS X systems are on one CD. Control consoles must run on Windows, except for the interesting Web-control options using Java. In the CD box is an actual paper manual (remember those?) with 313 pages. The one large pcAnywhere application runs on both the controller and client computers (there's a Start Host item in the left menu).

Installation of the files isn't a problem, and you can install the full package or just the controller or controlled station applications. (Symantec calls the controlling station the remote, and the station being controlled is called the host -- another example of confusing nomenclature shared by other products.)

Linux client support includes Red Hat and SUSE/Novell Linux (we used Novell's SUSE Linux 10.2). Arranging connection details and optional special accounts for remote-only connections offers flexibility but takes time. The push-software method worked fine for Windows 2000 systems, but not XP SP2, as is the case with other products.

Symantec offers a WebRemote option for the controlling computer. After loading a Java application from Symantec into a browser, Macs and Linux systems can control any client running the Symantec host software.

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