PeerSwitch Personal review: PeerSwitch Personal

The Good Allows you to read and send Microsoft Outlook mail remotely; costs less than GoToMyPC.

The Bad Accesses only the Outlook e-mail client; no simple way to transfer files from the local to the remote computer; slow remote access.

The Bottom Line While PeerSwitch costs considerably less than GoToMyPC--$100 annually for access to as many as five machines--it's a smart pick only for Outlook users.

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6.3 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 6
  • Support 6

Review Sections

PeerSwitch steps into the online remote-control arena with a low-priced alternative to GoToMyPC. Unfortunately, it's not as sweet a deal. While the price is right--$100 annually, $80 less than GoToMyPC--there's too much that you just can't do or can't do easily. The PeerSwitch remote-control access is slow, and you are limited to Microsoft Outlook as your only e-mail client; you cannot run any other apps remotely with PeerSwitch. That said, PeerSwitch is a suitable substitute for GoToMyPC if you need remote access only to use Microsoft Outlook and to grab a few files from another PC. To start, download PeerSwitch from CNET's here or from the company's site. After you save the 440KB setup file on your hard drive, the rest of the code will install on your machine. Over a slow connection, the entire installation process can take 45 minutes or more; when we used a satellite link (with throughput similar to DSL), we downloaded and installed PeerSwitch in about 10 minutes.

Next, simply register your host machine by giving it a name, then create a username and password to access the PeerSwitch service. For one basic $100 annual fee, PeerSwitch will run on up to five remote computers. (You can try it free for 30 days.)

PeerSwitch tucks itself into Outlook and lets you access folders with files and Outlook folders on other machines.

PeerSwitch doesn't really have an interface of its own; it tucks itself into Outlook 2000 or Outlook 2002 (we also successfully used it with the beta of Outlook 11.0). In fact, you spend most of your time in PeerSwitch inside Outlook--a boon to those who rely on this e-mail client, a bane to those who don't. But if you don't already have Outlook on your main computer, you can forget about using PeerSwitch altogether.

To access a PC running PeerSwitch remotely, you can also use Internet Explorer 5.5 or later. And while additional browsers aren't explicitly supported, we used Mozilla and Netscape Navigator without problems.

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