• United States

Virtually there

Feb 26, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Control Mac and Linux desktops via Microsoft OS-based PCs

Over the years I’ve mentioned a number of different remote support products. You know the ones that let you take over another computer across the network as if you were sitting in front of it. I used to use Carbon Copy 10 years ago, Co-session 15 years ago and PCAnywhere almost 20 years ago, so this isn’t exactly cutting edge stuff. You’d think that everything that could be said has been said. That’s what I thought and I was wrong.

NetSupport’s NetSupport Manager does something that none of the other remote control products that I’ve used have been able to do – it can be used to control Macintosh and Linux desktops.

That’s right, from your Microsoft operating system-based PC (DOS, Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP) you can reach out and control Macs and Linux boxes.

Yes, I did say “DOS.” Maybe there is a use for that old 486 PC sitting in your closet gathering dust – it could be a management station, since all that’s required is a 486 or better with 4M bytes of RAM. It’ll also connect over IPX/SPX, NetBIOS or TCP/IP – no need to add new protocols just for support. In fact, you can use all three protocols simultaneously. There’s also dial-up support for nonnetworked machines.

Aha, you’re saying. If it only requires a 486 running DOS, how effective can it be? Just look at these capabilities. NetSupport Manager allows you to:

* Dynamically find and list all PCs on the network.

* Connect by PC name.

* Connect by Network address

* Connect via a database of known PCs.

* Connect entire groups of PCs in one step.

* Password protection at Client and Control PCs.

* Require user acknowledgement at client PCs.

* View connection audit trails.

* Disable file transfer, entirely or by specific files and directories.

* Limit functionality depending on which PC is connecting.

* Dialback to different numbers according to the password used.

* Restrict connections to named PCs.

* Customize control and client PC profiles.

* Have the Client PC initialize connection.

* Use AES encryption up to 256 bits.

And that’s only some of its functionality. You can also multitask a connection, performing file transfer at the same time as remote control. You can even highlight and cut on the client, then paste into a document on the control PC. Or vice versa.

Now there isn’t a version for your iPaq just yet, but I’ll bet the guys at NetSupport are working on it. Until then, use one of the older laptops (or a very modern thin and lightweight one) to head off to the beach while still being able to support your users. Have your desk phone forward to your cell phone and no one will know that you aren’t in the office.