PCNow review: PCNow

PCNow lets you control the host PC from a remote location, so you can run applications, access the network, and log in and out of an account. Of course, paying customers get some very useful add-ons.


PCNow easily transfers files between the remote and host system.

Features within PCNow include a file-transfer utility downloads files back and forth between the two connected systems. (Otherwise, you'll have to use an e-mail client to transfer files by e-mailing them to yourself.) Remote printing lets you run an application on the host system (so that you can, say, view an Excel spreadsheet at work), yet print to your remote printer (say, at home). This handy feature saves you the trouble of transferring the file first, then having to open it on your remote PC.

Like GoToMyPC, PCNow relies on standard ports to traverse your network firewall, opening no new security holes. Like GoToMyPC, there's no direct connection between the host and client PC, which means criminals can't eavesdrop, however, all PCNow traffic goes through the same secure network as WebEx's higher-end corporate offerings, such as its Web-conferencing service. PCNow uses end-to-end 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption (security that banks and e-commerce sites use) to protect your data from prying eyes.

But where GoToMyPC passwords can be stolen by criminal hackers using keystroke-logging Trojan horses, PCNow circumvents stolen passwords with a unique ability to authenticate you via a cell phone call. Simply select the phone option on the host PC, pick a phone number to call, and choose a secret pin. Then, whenever a remote client tries to connect, you'll receive a phone call and must enter the correct pin to connect; so, you'll know when someone is attempting to break into your PC. Unfortunately, this cool security feature is instead of and not in addition to the traditional typed-in password; for security's sake, we wish this were an extra layer of security, not a replacement for your access password.

Great security feature aside, PCNow falls far short of GoToMyPC in terms of corporate features offered. First of all, unlike GoToMyPC, PCNow doesn't support non-Windows-based clients; if you have a Mac or run Linux at home or rely on a Pocket PC handheld, you're out of luck. There's also no guest feature, which lets GoToMyPC users quickly and easily have one-to-one meetings, including whiteboard and text chat. Unlike GoToMyPC, which offers sophisticated features for IT administrators to manage users and control access, PCNow is designed more for individual users.

What you'll pay

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