Thursday, November 17, 2011

Desktop Remote Control + Lost Computer Tracker

A few of you probably have some experience with this but I don’t. I was looking for software that would allow me to control my home computer from a remote location. There have been software in the past which you had to pay for the license after a trial period, but this time I found one called Teamviewer that was free for personal use. I know Skype has a way of sharing the desktop and so does MSN messenger’s remote assistance but I think that requires two people communicating with each other through the connection. After reading the CNET review which said that I could keep running Teamviewer at the home computer and access it via a web browser, I downloaded and installed it. I was still unsure how it was going to penetrate the firewalls of the wi-fi at work. My first attempt was unsuccessful. It turns out the wi-fi was down for a few hours. When it was working again, I was able to access and control my home computer either via the software or by logging in at the Teamviewer website. I was amazed at the ease and responsiveness of being able to control a computer from afar. There was no problem whatsoever with the firewalls. All I needed was my username and password and I could open files, watch movies (no sound though), transfer files, even remotely reboot. The software even detected that my home computer was connected to two monitors and allowed me to switch between the two. Facebook blocked at work? No problem since I can open that webpage in my home browser and do whatever I need to do as if I was sitting in front of the computer at home. Any computer with an internet connection would work and there is even a Teamviewer light for smart phones (I didn’t download it).
Another software I checked out was one I heard about on the TV news. It is called Prey Project at You sign up and register your laptop, tablet, or cell phone and when you mark it as missing, the program starts looking for it over wireless networks and gives you reports of the whereabouts of your device. It also takes a picture of the person (unbeknownst to him) using your stolen computer/tablet/cell phone and gives you the GPS location of the missing device. I tried it out and it accurately indicated where my “missing” computer was and took a picture of the wall facing the camera. Reports are generated every few minutes depending on how long an interval you indicate when you first set it up. When I saw it in the news, a university student lost her laptop then she activated the tracking. It took a picture of the thief and his location. The student reported it to the police and she was able to recover her laptop. Amazing stuff! I registered my two laptops and my cell phone.
You can check out both programs at and

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