LogMeIn Free: Snappy remote access via web browser

Cezar Renta

There are many problems that can be solved by remote access, from troubleshooting to accessing data and applications on your personal computer. There are multiple ways to access a computer remotely and from these, we consider LogMeIn Free one of the simplest and effortless. This friendly tool provides service-based remote connectivity with basic features but reliable security.

Installation & Requirements

LogMeIn’s installation will guide the users through several settings, in order to receive access to all of the program’s features. During the (custom) setup process you will have to configure the computer’s power management, proxy settings (if any) and create a Computer Access Code (used to enable remote connection). You will also have to create a LogMeIn account (used to login to the LogMeIn website from where you can remotely access the computer). When you’re done with the settings the program will install in a few seconds.

LogMeIn Free is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems, does not have any hardware requirements and you’ll obviously need an Internet connection.

LogMeIn for Windows works on 32 and 64-bit versions of Server 2003, 2008, XP, Vista and 7; LogMeIn for Mac works on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard) (for both Power PCs and Intel-based Macs) and Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) (Intel-based Macs only).

Interface

The type of remote connectivity that LogMeIn provides is known as “unattended”. This means that in order to establish a remote connection with a host computer you must first have physical access to it (or connect remotely for the installation), namely to install the LogMeIn program and perform the related settings. After that, you will be able to connect to the host from any other computer that has a web browser and an Internet connection without the need for someone else to be present in front of the host computer and give you permission. The security measures are represented by the LogMeIn account (the program installed on the host computer must be linked to your account) and the Computer Access Code (that can only be changed from the host computer). Basically, after you install the program on the host computer you will be able to establish a remote connection at any time.

As a result, LogMeIn has two interfaces. The first one is the interface of the program installed on the host computer. This GUI is clean and simple, consisting of a tabbed sidebar menu with four categories: Welcome – the welcome screen provides useful tips to get you started although it’s optional and it can be hidden; Overview – shows the current connectivity state of your computer with a turn on/off option and computer related info (including the LogMeIn account that it’s currently linked to); Options – from here you can change the Computer Access Code, open up the program’s Preferences and view Connection and Event Details; About – displays current software version, last update, manual update check option, switch account or subscription option and company information.

Accessing the web interface requires you to go to the logmein.com website and login using your account. To avoid confusion the program and the website have a similar menu. The Report Viewer keeps track of all your remote access sessions (not older than one month). Networks and Backup categories are related (and require) with other LogMeIn programs (LogMeIn Hamachi and LogMeIn Backup) that are not for free. The Home tab lists all the computers that are linked to your account and allows you to connect to them. If the computer is online, you can connect to it by simply clicking on its name, and entering the Computer Access Code. From here you’ll also be able to access the Preferences (same as from the program’s interface) but also the Help tab which contains a User Guide and Community forums.

When you’re in an active Remote Control session a small toolbar menu will become available in the upper-right area of your browser. The menu contains various useful features, such as displaying a blank screen (if you don’t want anyone else to see what you’re doing on the host computer), launch the chat, use the Laser Pointer (great for educational purposes and support) and others.

Pros

– Simple “set and forget” setup process.

– Powerful 256-bit SSL encryption and dual passwords.

– Wake On Lan feature lets you wake up a sleeping computer.

– Allows you to connect to an unlimited number of computers.

– Fast screen refresh.

– Easy and accessible browser-based access.

Cons

– The free version does not support file printing, sharing and transfers.

Alternatives

TeamViewer

– Crossloop

UltraVNC

Conclusion

Several useful features are lacking from LogMeIn Free (such as file sharing and transfers) but the ones you get are top quality. The straightforward setup and the simple browser-based access that allows effortless creation and management of remote connections make LogMeIn one of the best choices in remote control freeware.