LogMeIn is an online service that lets you control a host computer from any Internet-connected computer in the world, be it Windows, Mac, Linux, or Pocket PC mobile devices. Unlike the more familiar , LogMeIn offers a robust free version that's better than free version. And in contrast to the much more expensive GoToMyPC, LogMeIn Pro costs only $12.95 for fast, secure remote access that includes remote printing, file transfer, and a file-sharing service that lets you quickly and securely serve files to anyone from your host PC. By matching GoToMyPC and MyWebPC, LogMeIn emerges as the better remote access choice. If you need to log in to your home or work computer remotely and you want complete control of your host PC, just as if you were sitting in front of its monitor, we recommend LogMeIn. LogMeIn's installation starts with your host computer, the computer you want to reach remotely. Using the LogMeIn Web site, select either a free or paid account, click Add Computer, and follow the step-by-step instructions on the site to download and install the server applet on the host computer. This will place an icon in your Windows system tray that offers a few options, such as disabling the LogMeIn software and checking for updates. You can also change these options remotely through the company's Web site.
When away from the host PC, use any Windows, Mac, Linux, or Pocket PC Internet browser to log on to the LogMeIn Web site and select your host computer. LogMeIn automatically downloads the client software onto your remote client and connects you to your host computer. The software then asks for your host computer's Windows login and password. Next, you'll see three icons (for the free version) or six icons (for the paid version) across your browser window. Click the Remote Control icon to see the desktop of your host PC, which will look like it does when you are in front of the host monitor, with the addition of a left-hand navigation area. A three-button toolbar--Full Screen, Ctrl-Alt-Delete, and Display--hovers near the top of the display. By clicking Full Screen, the left-hand navigation disappears, and your remote display becomes that of the host computer. The single Ctrl-Alt-Delete button is useful for unlocking and locking your host computer. Time to log out? A discreet floating toolbar decreases your display, and the left-hand navigation lets you disconnect with the click of a single button.Like other remote access solutions we've tested, LogMeIn lets you do practically anything on your remote PC that you could do if you were sitting at the host computer. You can install software, change the system configuration, and even schedule the system to reboot at a convenient time. The file transfer utility lets you copy or synchronize files and directories between the host and the remote system, and remote printing lets you print seamlessly from an application on the host system to a remote printer; it's as if the remote printer were connected directly to the host.
Not only can you access your PC from the road, LogMeIn Pro lets you invite a guest to access your PC while you are in front of it. The guest can either watch your screen in view-only mode or share control with you, a useful feature for tech support and training. Though the software includes text chat capability, LogMeIn lacks whiteboard functionality, something currently offered by. LogMeIn says that it intends to add whiteboard capabilities in the near future.
Unique to LogMeIn is the File Share feature that lets you share files from your PC while maintaining system security. Using the LogMeIn Web interface, select the file you want to share, then give LogMeIn a list of e-mail addresses of intended recipients. Each recipient will receive an e-mail with a link to LogMeIn's site where they can download the file. Though the download is served via your PC, security is maintained through LogMeIn's servers.