If you've ever managed or had to deal with more than one computer system, then you've ... wanted to be able to control one remotely at one time or another. In my job, my staff and I manage abo

If you've ever managed or had to deal with more than one computer

system, then you've undoubtedly wanted to be able to control one

remotely at one time or another. In my job, my staff and I manage

about a thousand computer systems (servers and workstations). Our

staff is small and busy, and even taking the time to walk over to

a local system can sometimes be a hassle. There is so much to do

and no time to do it in.

On top of that, our systems are spread all over the country, in a

dozen states on the east and west coast. There is no possible way

we could manage those computers effectively without some kind of

help. And if you've ever attempted to talk a user through an

operating system installation or a debug session, then you will

understand that this just does not work in a corporate


Fortunately, we found one of the most useful products available

anywhere at any cost. This little gem is called PcAnywhere, and it

is sold by Symantec (the vendor most famous for it's antivirus


PcAnywhere allows my staff to "take over" a system, just as if

they were sitting at the keyboard and staring at the monitor.

Since PcAnywhere does depend upon the operating system, it cannot

be used to control the system boot and console, but it can do just

about anything else imaginable.

Thus, if a user has an error displayed on his screen, we can

connect and see exactly what it says (and often what the user

did). This saves countless hours of attempting to piece together

what happened based upon a frazzled user's spotty notes of the

occurrence, or of running over to the users machine to see it for

ourselves before he did something else.

You can use the file download and upload facility to transfer

files easily and quickly, which is handy for grabbing files and

performing installations. You can even chat with the person on the

monitor in a separate window (I've never done this but saw it in

the documentation).

PcAnywhere works whether or not the machine is logged in, and it

works very well on Windows NT, 2000 and XP (and I assume at least

the more advanced Windows 9x operating systems). You have some

special buttons to issue the CONTROL-ALT-DELETE sequence when

necessary, and you can even reboot or shutdown the machine if


Another feature that works very well is the many security options.

You can tighten down the program (and it's very powerful so you

probably want to restrict it very well) as much as you want, and

you have the choice of several different encryption schemes and

security models. Choose what fits your requirements best.

On the downside, PcAnywhere does use a few resources, and when it

is active (used remotely) the user may very well notice a

slowdown. The older versions were a little unstable, but since

version 9 we have noticed no problems of any kind with the program.

One caution: PcAnywhere must be made very secure as it truly gives

someone control over a system. Choose your security well and be

sure it is enforced.

I could go on for hours about the usefulness of this program in

the corporate environment. It has so many useful features that it

really boggles the mind. I would highly recommend it if you have a

need for remote control.

Article Tags: Very Well

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