About a year ago, I stumbled across TeamViewer, a remote control/remote access utility. The details of the experience are still vividly clear: I had spent the better part of a weekend trying to help my mother get rid of a virus. She lives in another state, so just visiting wasn’t a possibility, and let me be clear: she is not at all computer savvy – I get that more from my dad, though with him having long since passed retirement age, he’s almost as bad as my mom when it comes to computer problems these days. Anyway, long story short is that after trying to get Windows Remote Access working (and failing repeatedly), I looked for an alternative and found TeamViewer. 15 minutes later, the last remnants of the virus were removed. Huzzah!

It’s now a utility that I use all the time to help friends and family, simply because it’s tons easier to do certain things on my own rather than trying to explain a few “simple” steps over the phone. Now, if someone has a problem, the first step is explaining to them how to install TeamViewer. I know the old saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Well, it’s true of computers as well, but trying to teach some people about computers is like trying to convince your dog that he needs to learn to read and write.

Cutting to the chase, TeamViewer 9 has just entered public beta. The changes from TeamViewer 7 to 8 weren’t particularly massive (it added support for Windows 8’s Charms Menu and a few other items, Apple Retina support, and additional items for commercial users), and the changes from 8 to 9 are likewise incremental updates in most areas. There’s a new tabbed view (so each session can be in a separate tab rather than in a separate window), Wake-on-LAN is now available on supported PCs, and they’ve added two-factor authentication. TeamViewer 9 is also “ready for Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks”, though I’d guess the previous version will work with the new OSes as well. Here’s the quick list of updates from the press release:

  • Two-Factor Authentication – adds additional protection of TeamViewer user accounts by allowing users to retrieve an optional secondary code with their mobile device and a standard authenticator app.
  • Easy File Sharing – ability to share files of any size without having to start a traditional remote access session. Faster than email and can transfer files cross-platform.
  • Universal Clipboard – gives users the ability to copy files from their device and paste directly onto a remote desktop simply by using Copy & Paste (Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V).
  • Notifications – a friendly notification pop-up window located in the Computers & Contacts list that gathers all TeamViewer system notifications including ITbrain alerts in one place for easy management.
  • Custom Branding – Businesses can customize the TeamViewer modules QuickSupport, QuickJoin and Host one time without the need to repeat after a software update. A unique customizable link guides supported users to the current version of a module stored within the TeamViewer Management Console, where the module can be shared and customized within a support team.

With the announcement of TeamViewer 9 Beta the company is also launching its public API that allows companies to integrate the TeamViewer software even further into their existing infrastructure. This is more for larger institutions with in-house developers who want flexibility for their applications, and it’s available to all users with a TeamViewer 9 license. The TeamViewer API consists of two features:

  • Reporting API – a language-neutral and power REST API to retrieve report data from the TeamViewer Management Console, saving time by automating complex reporting tasks and integrating TeamViewer data with existing business data for deeper insights.
  • User Management API – allows organizations to minimize disruption by synchronizing user data between the company’s existing user management system and TeamViewer. This allows developers to write applications to manage TeamViewer user accounts in a company profile as well as migrate from and integrate with existing IT infrastructure.

I can’t personally point at any of the new features as things I’ve needed, but for commercial use I can see some as being interesting. The ability to transfer files (without establishing a remote session) in particular looks promising. More important is the ease of use, and that’s one area I’ve noticed over the past year where TeamViewer tends stands out.

TeamViewer is simply easier to get running than competing solutions (e.g. Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop), and while I haven’t noticed screen updates as being substantially faster/better, the ease of setup factor is critical – especially when dealing with a computer neophyte. Chrome Remote Desktop is a nice free alternative, but the requirement of that I install the browser and Remote Desktop on each PC means a larger download and more time. Once set up, both work reasonably well, but for personal use I still gravitate to TeamViewer. Your mileage may vary.

Source: TeamViewer

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  • SirMaster - Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - link

    Unfortunatly Teamviewer is unusable for me.

    I continuously get the message "commercial use detected" and it limits my sessions to 5 minutes and then I have to wait like 10 minutes before reconnecting.

    I am absolutely using teamviewer in a home environment connecting copies of Windows 7 together between homes.

    They really need to get their act together and fix their "detection" code.

    I have contacted support and they can fix the problem for me by unblocking my MAC address, but it always comes back after a few days and my MAC becomes blocked again...
  • Nihility - Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - link

    Finally, wake on lan.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - link

    How would you say this compares to free tools like log me in hamachi or TightVNC?
  • snoopybdr - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    Hey there,

    My Problem is that most People only look at certain things and never Thing that other Option maybe important.
    Teamviewer saved us literally 100.000 on traveling cost since we bought it. Yes Price is quite high BUT pay one time and open up to 25 listener at any time, and you have 3 channel. This mean you can have 3 time 25 demo, etc... At any time. Try that with LogMeIn and then come back to me about the Price, since you pay this per user and year (if I remember correctly around 60€ per year/seat)
    Yes LogMeIn is also a good Software, but Price wise ist not comparable.
    Next important issue, which Software allows you to connect you to your Android, IOS and in the future MS OS make Screen shot, Report etc....
    We develope Software and are now deploying app in really far away countries (Saudi Arabia, Kenya and another few not common ones). Show me one Software that allow you to have direct Access to your Samsung device, Yes I can remotely Access my TAB10.1, SIII.
    Better yet we have a ODM (Special device) android OS, Teamviewer will help us have full Access to that device too.
    And also one last Thing, the Client is always free if you use it privately and for the the other user if the presenter/remote admin has a licenses.
    Teamviewer is really a live saving tool and we did a lot Research and found nothing comparable, neither technical nore commercially.
    Have a great remote Access day and please do the math's
    PS: we have being using TV since Version 5 and will lupdate 9 as Video true put is really a killer issue with us, try other Software (Skype, Google Desktop LogMeIn... ) in for example Senegal (yes we there too) and you will know what I am talking about ;-)
  • jabber - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    Teamviewer really needs to offer a small business license. The current charge is way too expensive for small one man bands. We don't need all the enterprise features just the remote control.
  • Flopp - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    There was a discussion back in the forums awhile ago where this was addressed. I offered ScreenConnect (http://www.screenconnect.com/) as a cheaper solution. It seems that many people really liked it. http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=22614...
  • rahulghose - Thursday, March 17, 2022 - link

    Well there's something very close to team viewer that MS has built - not sure if it's relevant https://blog.rghose.in/2022/03/share-keyboard-mous...

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