Apple Remote Desktop: Best solution for remote support?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Michael CM1, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'm going to be moving soon and my parents rely on me for tech support for their computers. I mean it's usually just stupid stuff that takes me sitting at the thing for a second and it's done. But that'll be hard to do from 40 miles away, and I am infinitely better when I can see the problem.

    I have a MacBook Pro, my dad has an iMac G5, and my mom has a fairly new Dell PC with Windows Vista. I did a Google search for "remote desktop for mac" and found a link to Apple Remote Desktop. I was hoping something was built in to OS X to do this, but maybe that was just wishful thinking.

    Anywho, ARD seems to be what I'm looking for, maybe just more expensive than I had hoped. But I need to do things like take control of an entire computer so I can change an e-mail setting or do simple stuff like that instead of spending 10x longer letting my parents decipher what I just said. I'd obviously need to do this over VPN, and I haven't the slightest clue how to set one of those up. I think I experimented with a product like this for Windows many years ago, but I don't remember and don't really even think that matters.

    So I need to know if this is the best option for me. $300 really isn't that bad, and I could also set up a client on my uncle's computer a good 5 hours away to help him if he ever needs it. Do my needs sound like they will be solved by ARD? Is there a better/cheaper (not the same thing!) solution from a third party? Thanks a lot for the help!
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I am in NC and my parents are in CA. Just this last weekend I fixed my parent's internet issues on their iMac via iChat screen sharing. I would try that before anything. Go home and do a few test runs before you get too far away as that is what I did.

    Now I find files, set up time machine, organize iPhone apps etc from 2550 miles away.
  3. jmann macrumors 604


    Dec 8, 2007
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    I love/prefer Yuuguu. It is free easy to do, and works cross platform with any OS. :D
  4. gusious macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2007
    Nope i think apple's remote desktop is not the best solution. I wan trying to connect to many computer but none worked so.... In my opinion it sucks...
  5. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I didn't know iChat could do that. I'll definitely give that a try. It won't work on my mom's computer (couldn't convice her to go Mac...arggh), but I think free on one will work to start with.
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    one website is all you need....


    they have a free version to use (or you can pay if you really want) - and there is now an iPod application of it that lets you remote into using your ipod! its awsome, i have been using it for years.

    or you could remote in using VNC, but thats pretty troublesome to setup.
  7. Middling macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2009
    ARD has lots of advanced features (you can download packages to your computer and the "push" them to others, send remote commands, etc) but some of the features make it more suited for use on local networks rather than over the Internet.

    As of Leopard there is a stripped down version of ARD called Screen Sharing (the app is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/Screen In the initial version of Leopard you could enable a few of ARDs features through the command-line but in subsequent point releases Apple deliberately removed those features.

    All is not lost though. Because Apple's remote desktop is built on the standard VNC protocol there are quite a few viewers on all the common platforms. Jolly's Fast VNC is probably the leading free one for OS X.

    You will need to enable your Dad's Mac to allow standard VNC clients though. The option is in "System Preferences/Sharing/Screen Sharing/Computer Settings/VNC viewers may control screen with password:" (enter a secure password).

    To access your mum's Windows machine you will need to install a VNC server. There are plenty of choices so i'm not sure which is the best.

    As for connecting to your parent's computers across the 'net you could use port-forwarding on your parents router (not very secure) or you could buy them a router that contains a (IPSEC) VPN server. You would then create yourself a corresponding VPN account on that router and create a VPN account on your Mac ("System Preferences/Network/The + Button/VPN"). This would allow you to add a button to the menubar for simple connection to your parents router. I use a Draytek 2820VN.

    If you want to be really fancy you could buy two routers that allow you to set up LAN-to-LAN VPNs for a permanent connection between your two networks (make sure you're using different subnets on each router e.g. 10.1.231.x and 10.4.127.x)


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