Home > Articles > Cisco Network Technology > General Networking > Performing a Great Screen Play: The Many Routes to Remote Computing

Performing a Great Screen Play: The Many Routes to Remote Computing

Article Description

There are almost as many ways to share computer screens as there are reasons to do so. Whether you’re providing support for another user, trying to access your files from home, or collaborating on the same document, screen sharing products and services can help you feel right at home on another PC. How you get there depends on your budget, security, and platform requirements. Should you go with the old standby pcAnywhere, try a hosted service such as GoToMyPC, or use one of the built-in options in Windows XP. Author Ross Scott Rubin surveys the field to bring you all the options.

Two Free Options with Windows XP

With every version of Windows, old ways of doing things fall out of fashion. For example, in previous versions of Windows, you could share applications through NetMeeting's Remote Desktop Sharing. NetMeeting isn't easy to find in Windows XP (it's still available by typing "conf" at the Run... command). However, Microsoft's newest operating systems include two new tools for desktop sharing. Geared toward the enterprise, Remote Desktop comes only with Windows XP Professional (not Home) and is essentially a new version of Terminal Services that uses a new version of RDP (5.1). This new version supports 24-bit color, better performance, and redirection of such local PC features as audio (but curiously not MIDI), smart cards, COM ports, local network printers, and disk drives.

In contrast to Remote Desktop, which offers a full range of remote control options, Remote Assistance is tuned for the common task of helping the lost user. Users can activate the feature by clicking an invitation included in an email or instant message. Remote Assistance requires that both users be running Windows XP, although either can be the Home version. Remote Assistance uses Session Interaction Protocol, a lightweight protocol that is designed to make communication as easy as HTML.

Product Information

Product

Company

Server Platforms

Client Platforms

Carbon Copy Solution

Altiris

Requires Atiris eXpress Notification Server on Windows NT or Windows 2000

Windows 95 or later

Apple Remote Desktop

Apple

Mac OS X

Mac OS X

DS Series

Avocent

Windows

Any

LapLink Gold

LapLink

Windows 95 or later

Windows 95 or later

MetaFrame

Citrix

Windows NT/2000/XP, Unix

DOS, Windows, Unix, Java

NetMeeting

Microsoft

Windows 95 or later

Windows 95 or later

pcAnywhere

Symantec

Windows 95 or later

Windows 95 or later

Remote Assistance

Microsoft

Windows XP

Windows XP

Remote Desktop

Microsoft

Windows XP Professional

Windows 95 or later

Screen to Screen

Power On Software

Mac OS 7.0 to 9.1

Mac OS 7.0 to 9.1

Terminal Server

Microsoft

Windows 2000

Windows 3.11 or later. Other platforms supported through third parties.

Timbuktu Pro

Netopia

Mac OS 9 or later, Windows 95 or later

Mac OS 9 or later, Windows 95 or later

VNC

AT&T Laboratories Cambridge

Linux, Solaris, Windows, Mac OS (pre-X), Windows CE 2.x

Linux, Solaris, Windows, Mac OS (pre-X), Windows CE 2.x