PCHelpware – Remote Support
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PCHelpware is a subset of UVNC. It is an open source solution for allowing remote access and support.
CAUTION – Whenever you allow remote support, there is always a possibility of things getting hacked. Use at your own risk and be careful.
PC Helpware allows you to build a simple server app that clients can download. You use a viewer to establish the connection.
The server can be configured to allow several different options for connections. In this post, we will just deal with the simplest which is where we are at our home office on a fixed IP and have access to our router for port forwarding.
There is a newer version of PCHELPWARE available at http://www.uvnc.com. Look for the PCHelpware Link or go directly to http://www.uvnc.com/pchelpware/index.html. The viewer is really great, however, we were having trouble getting the server configured to allow a choice of multiple connections. We found a post that indicated a link that would allow you to build a V1.0 server : http://www.uvnc.com/pchelpware/download/PcHelpWare_rel10_SCgui.zip
We also configured the desktop we use for support with a fixed IP address. That allowed us to easily set up the linksys router for port forwarding of port 5500 to the 192.168.1.nn address of the suppport desktop.
For ease of distibution, we set up a password proteced folder on one of our websites. If the app is not installed on a client’s machine, it is a simple process to walk them through the download. If we visit a client, we usually put the app on their desktop. The server does not allow us to access the machine unless the client purposely runs the server and makes the correct selections.
We found that the new viewer works great.
We suggest you test this out before trying it with clients. One of the easiest ways is if you have a laptop with a cellular aircard. That can be used as the client’s machine running the server.
The procedure is pretty simple once everything is in place
1. We are in contact with the client via telephone.
2. We run the viewer. We need to make sure that the listening port is 5500. Checking the debug box seems to help make sure that the connection is working. You can also choose a High, medium or low experience. For the most part, the ‘low’ experience works pretty well.
3. Once you start the viewer, you instruct the client to pick the correct connection option and click connect. After a few seconds, you should have control of their screen.
You can do just about anything that you can do while seated at the machine.
We’ve used it for about a year and it is a great tool for consultants. We have tested PCHelpware with XP Home, XP Pro, Windows 2000 and Vista Home Premium. We did have some trouble getting it to run on a Server 2003 machine.
When you are running the server on a Vista Machine, vista will lock the remote keyboard during the connection which means that someone must be at the target machine.
We’ll post later about what you need to do if you are taking your laptop on the road with a cellular aircard or connecting to various wireless networks.
- Setting up PCHelpware with No-IP
- Scheduled restart of uvnc_service to restore connectivity when away with UVNC VNC server
- Vista Home Premium and a Photosmart A512 printer shared on XP
- Vista Insanity – Not all printers are listed when printing
- More on Poor Man’s Exchange
- Microsoft is ending Server 2003 support
- Vista Home Premium and USB Hubs
- “Your computer needs maintenance” scams.