LogMeIn Free is a completely free service that gives you remote access to your home or office computer, any time, from anywhere.
Remote access services run software on your home or office computer that discreetly maintains a connection with the online servers run by that service. When you’re at another computer, you browse to the service’s web site and log in with a name and a password. With a couple of clicks, the desktop of your home or office PC appears in front of you, as if you’re sitting there. If both ends have a decent Internet connection, everything responds quickly. The architecture is secure but it neatly bypasses the firewalls at either end.
At one time, GoToMyPC was the best-known name, and it continues to be a worthwhile service, but it also continues to be expensive – $19.95/month for a single PC.
LogMeIn was established in 2003 and has quickly built an impressive collection of programs for desktop remote control, data backup, file sharing, remote system administration, and on-demand customer support. I’m using LogMeIn Rescue to offer remote support to anyone, anywhere. It has transformed my business completely, as many of you know. LogMeInBackup does backups from one computer to a different computer at a different location automatically.
The flagship product is LogMeIn Pro, for desktop remote control; LogMeIn Free is a stripped-down version of that service, offering remote access to a single computer for free – no strings, no advertising.
It can be oddly liberating to realize that an office computer is readily available any time. The basic functions offered by the free service are enough for most people who have any reason to want remote access.
The paid service (about half the cost of GoToMyPC) adds two worthwhile features: the ability to send print jobs from the home or office computer to the printer sitting beside you at your remote location; and a couple of ways to transfer files easily from one location to another using a built-in file manager or by literally dragging and dropping in My Computer.
There’s one additional feature in LogMeIn Pro: when the software is installed, LogMeIn Sharing appears on the menu when you right-click a file and click on Send To. It generates a web link that you can forward to a friend that allows the friend to download a file directly from your computer regardless of its size. It’s another way to move a big file without trying to send it as an e-mail attachment.
If you’d like to try LogMeIn, here’s a complete walkthrough of the process of installing the software and using the various remote features. Try it!