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Host & Remote 9.2: Win9X/NT4/2K review:

Host & Remote 9.2: Win9X/NT4/2K

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The Good Simple interface; solid documentation; lets you disable some desktop features on the host computer.

The Bad Security is not thorough--you can control access only at the drive level.

The Bottom Line We love extras of pcAnywhere, such as virus checking, but its weak security options cannot compete with LapLink.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.0 Overall

It's no surprise that Symantec--a company known for its wide array of PC utilities--offers a superior remote access program. pcAnywhere 9.2 lets you remotely control PCs so that you can, for example, work on a file on your office computer while you're at home. Plus, it throws in a few extras, such as automatic virus checking and desktop synchronization options that help speed up your connection. Remote access is a complex process, but pcAnywhere makes it supereasy. And although LapLink is a more secure and elegant program, you really can't go wrong with pcAnywhere.

It's no surprise that Symantec--a company known for its wide array of PC utilities--offers a superior remote access program. pcAnywhere 9.2 lets you remotely control PCs so that you can, for example, work on a file on your office computer while you're at home. Plus, it throws in a few extras, such as automatic virus checking and desktop synchronization options that help speed up your connection. Remote access is a complex process, but pcAnywhere makes it supereasy. And although LapLink is a more secure and elegant program, you really can't go wrong with pcAnywhere.

Easy As Pie
Once you install pcAnywhere on your remote and host PCs, it's not hard to set up your first connection session, thanks to the program's clean interface and simple documentation. Four toolbar icons let you establish your computer as a host PC, take control of another PC, set up file transfer sessions, and turn your PC into a virtual hub so that you can network several remote computers. Clicking an icon opens a series of tools that handle setup and operational chores. Wizards quickly walk you through setting up a host or remote connection and configuring file transfers. Poof! You're ready to connect.

When you connect to the host computer, its screen appears in a window on the remote PC. From it, you run applications or open files on the host PC as easily as you do on the PC in front of you. To transfer files, just click the Transfer button in the toolbar. It's that simple.

Slick Security
And when it comes to security, pcAnywhere has all the basics down pat. When you set up a host PC, for example, you decide whether you want to allow full access to all callers or assign privileges to and require passwords from certain callers. Other security options include the ability to blank the screen of the host PC. But pcAnywhere doesn't let you password-protect individual files or folders as LapLink does. You can set privileges, such as read-only or read/write, only at the drive level.

Speedy File Transfer
Other features also make pcAnywhere an excellent choice. SpeedSend minimizes transfer times by comparing different versions of files on both PCs and sending only the data that is different. In some tests, pcAnywhere drew the screens from the host PC faster than LapLink did. One very cool feature: pcAnywhere scans for viruses before moving files from the host to the remote PC.

Using pcAnywhere is a breeze--fast, easy, and effective. However, its lack of deep security options gave us pause. For tighter security, look to LapLink.

pcAnywhere gives you a ton of ways to reach other computers remotely.

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