Yesterday, I was trying to show some screens to a friend. To do this, you typically sign up for an account for an online meeting/video conferencing sites like GotoMeeting, Webex etc. I have also used PC Anywhere, Remote Desktop, GotoMyPC, VNC software to connect to do this. I believe, these needed some setup and they may not be free(Though, there are free restricted versions of it).
But this time, I didn’t need a meeting software or a remote desktop tool or even a chat software. I also didn’t want to complicate it for the other person (For e.g., Even Windows’ own Remote desktop could become challenging sometimes if the settings were not right).
All I wanted was a simple light weight, one-one-0ne screen-sharing tool, that lets me share my desktop and goes away when done. I found Some free software to do desktop sharing. Of these, I have used Mikogo, when it was offered as a screen sharing service inside Skype. Oh, I forgot, Skype does have this option built-in now- but you have to be in a voice or video chat first.
I finally settled for TeamViewer. It’s a simple download and install on windows (and available on many operating systems). Once you launch it, it has a window like below:
On the left are your credentials – Your id and password and the right is where you enter remote computer’s id. Yes, the remote user needs to install and start Teamviewer as well. To connect to the remote PC, ask for their credentials (or to let them into your computer, you give them yours shown on the left). Once you get past this, it opens a screen where you can see the remote desktop. You both will be able to use mouse and keyboard. Once done, simply close it and the connection is gone. The id is the same each time you connect, but the password changes.
TeamViewer is a simple P2P screen/desktop sharing tool that is decently secure and surprisingly fast. One downside is, it doesn’t have a chat program or video conferencing, so you cannot use it for full-length training or presentations. But that’s the idea – as mentioned, it is a remote control tool for you to “work” on the other computer, and you can always use a phone or chat along with it. It is mentioned as free for personal or non-commercial use. Give it a try next time, you want to troubleshoot your mom’s computer remotely.
Dameware is another great tool, I have used at work for such purpose, but it is not free. Do you know of any other simple to use, free tool for sharing/presenting screens? Please post back as a comment.