Providing "switched" IT support for relatives


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 22, 2003
Heathfield, UK

We have had discussions here before about IT support for relatives but it has come to a head. My parents two PC's 1 on Win 98 1 on Win XP 400 miles away from me are infected with spyware etc and the only fix seems to be a full HD reformat and reload of the original S/W.

I cannot do this easily given the distance (I'm in the UK unlike Aus, USA & Canada) the 400 miles from Brighton to Glasgow here takes upwards of 10h.

So to the solution I offered to help my parents Switch from the PC's to Mac Minis with me providing desktop support (I know not really needed because it is a Mac etc) from here.

I have been reading up on Apple Remote Desktop and also came across remote logins when setting up my home network.

So my questions. How do / would you do this. Is a remote login sufficient or do I really need some remote mgmt s/w. If so is Apples s/w any better than any competition.

Thanks in advance.



macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2003
ARD is a customized version of VNC. It has some additional features that assist with managing a large number of systems, including remote software installations, etc. Since the problems your parents are likely to have will be on the desktop, I don't think just a remote login will be enough. I'd go with ARD or VNC.


macrumors G4
They really may not need as much desktop support once you have them on a Mac.

My mother was in a similar position with virus/spyware etc on her PC and I got regular calls asking how to do x or fix x. Like you, I was 400 miles away. Mum just wouldn't use it for a few weeks because she couldn't be bothered with the time it was taking to boot or that it kept crashing. I'd get calls about her internet connection, her printer settings, her outlook settings and that wasn't go near the security issues! We'd talk through control panels with Mum getting confused over left/right clicking and it was nightmarish.

She's got an iBook now (6 months ago) and the support calls have gone to virtually zip (two to be exact). One when her broadband got installed to virtually hold her hand while she plugged in the ethernet cable and sorted out her Mail, and one last week when her wireless printer had gone offline but a reset sorted it. When I talked her through setting up her Mail, she was able to handle it since there's only one mouse button and there are large '+' icons etc to aim for with words in plain English.

When there's an OS update or a Security Update, I give her a call and tell her to go click the Apple in the corner. No problems, no hassles and she's used it more in the past 6 months than she used the PC in 3 years.
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