Tuesday, February 15, 2005


I recently built a new PC for my parents. They live about 30 miles away. The first weekend after I moved them to it, I went over to setup the imaging software. While there, I discovered they had a worm. That's a whole article to itself. Anyway, I realized after I left that I hadn't done the removal properly so I had to go back the next day.

There had to be a better way. I searched for how to use RealVNC that I had used on my SageTV system but to do this across the Internet required setting up SSH that was way over my head. pcAnywhere seemed like a good idea but their web site talked mostly about a corporate implementation behind a firewall. GoToMyPC looked like it would do it but costs $19.95 per month.

Then I ran across an article that said that WebEx was introducing a remote control service. My company uses WebEx for intercompany conferencing so I was familiar with their other services. The best part was that you get unlimited access for up to 5 PCs. Here's what you get for free.

Here're some excerpts from their FAQ:
How hard is it to set up and use?
It is really simple:
  • Download and install a small MyWebEx PC agent on the remote computer you want to access
  • Make sure the remote computer has an always-on connection to the Internet and the MyWebEx PC agent is running
  • At the remote location bring up the browser, login, and setup your remote computer
  • A small browser plug-in will download automatically and within seconds you will be set up and ready to access your remote computer, virtually, from anywhere
You do not have to:
  • Open any ports or configure your firewall in anyway
  • Know any IP addresses or other technical networking details
  • Install any software or drivers on the computer to view
Is it secure?
MyWebEx PC is extremely secure:
  • No need to open any ports in your firewall
  • End to end SSL encrypted.
  • Two levels of authentication.
  • Unique phone authentication for very high security.
  • You can protect your privacy
  • Blank the screen of the remote computer so no one can see what you are doing
  • Lock the keyboard and mouse of the remote computer so no one else can interrupt it
  • Logout or screen-lock the remote computer after your session is complete- MyWebEx PC will let you log back in
You do have to use IE to access the remote PC as MyWebExPC uses an ActiveX control.

I made one more trip to my parents' and installed MyWebExPC. It works like a charm. I used it to install the February Windows Updates and reboot their PC. Hooray!

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