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I'm looking for a program that allows me to securly take over another computer with minimal technical knowledge from the person whose computer I'm taking control off. The full story is that I would like to give tech support to my grandmother (87 years old) and would like to do so without having to travel through half the country.

I normally use Linux but can multiboot to Windows 7, she has Windows 7. I'm able to set up the "remote end", so software installation must not necessarily meet the "must be performable by my gandmother" restriction.

  • Are you able to setup the software on the "remote end" – or must the setup procedure be easy enough for your grandmother to perform? // While waiting for the real answers: take a look into TeamViewer and maybe VNC. Pre-installed stuff might work as well ("Remote Desktop" on Windows; there are RDP clients available on Linux, so you wouldn't have to multiboot for that). – Izzy Aug 28 '15 at 9:00
  • I'm able to set up the " remote end". – Thijser Aug 28 '15 at 9:02
  • Thanks! I've integrated this with your question to make it easier to spot (note you can always edit your post for e.g. additional details/clarification). Good luck and good answers! – Izzy Aug 28 '15 at 9:06
  • Isn't the anwer on this site already? I failed to find a specific duplicate, but I guess several programs from other answers fit your requirements. – user416 Aug 28 '15 at 9:35
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Use Team Viewer. I'll recommend you to give the link for For the instant customer: TeamViewer QuickSupport to the other person. You will get this product link from Downloads -> All downloads from http://www.teamviewer.com, or (http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/index.aspx - All Download page). After downloading this, only thing left for them to do is open the program and tell you their partner id and password (which are the only information they'll see in the opened program) over phone or through any other communication device. They don't have to do anything else except saying you their id and password, and to click on Yes button when it asks for authorization. That's it.

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Nobody mentioned Chrome?

I had exactly same issue and I tried all above option and finally settled for Chrome. So my parents are in India and I am in USA. Before coming to USA I installed "Chrome Remote Desktop" on my parents laptop. It starts automatically on windows start.

Every now and then whenever they face some issue I simply connect to their laptop using same extension on my system ( most of the time issue is: Hey, I am unable to connect to Skype :) ).

This extension works from OSX, windows, linux.

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  • Might be worth noting you might have to open some ports. Otherwise, almost completely friction free. – Journeyman Geek Sep 6 '15 at 7:06
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    Ports? I really did not made any changes to firewall or ports. It simply worked. I just need to setup a connecting password, that's it. – Rakesh Juyal Sep 6 '15 at 8:11
  • odd. I ended up having to open up a few ports on my desktop on that. – Journeyman Geek Sep 6 '15 at 8:24
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RealVNC

I've used the VNC protocol successfully for this. VNC chops up the screen into regions of images to be sent. So the shared computer must have fast upload speeds.

RealVNC is a fine implementation from a company of the original VNC team. Client is free of cost, the server is inexpensive. Runs on multiple platforms.

FYI for other readers, Apple includes both a VNC server and client with Mac OS X, called Screen Sharing.

Skype

Skype has built-in screen sharing. Has worked for me for business meetings and demos.

Firefox Hello

Firefox is one of the first web browsers to support a new spec for audio/video chat built right into the browser with no plugins. The Firefox implementation is called Hello. This page says it has some screen sharing ability but may not be enough.

Phone Camera

In a pinch I have simply asked the user to use their video camera on their phone to shoot the screen while they work the computer and talk to me. I talk them through the issue correcting them as they go. The cameras are so good now this is surprisingly effective.

Specifically I've used iPhones with their bundled FaceTime app

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I personally use Copilot for this kind of thing. It's by Fog Creek and isn't free (they might still be free on weekends, I'm not sure).

It lets you send a link via e-mail, then the target just has to click the link and answer 'yes' and you're in control of their computer.

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