TeamViewer is one of those applications that some people have heard about and love, while others have no idea what it is. At its core, TeamViewer is a remote control utility for Windows and OS X computers—and unlike Windows Remote Assistance (WRA), in my experience it works well and it’s extremely easy to get connected.

I first stumbled on TeamViewer when I couldn’t get WRA working to help my mom with a computer problem; trying to explain to a computer neophyte how to start WRA, save an invitation file, find the file they just saved, then email the file is not exactly a simple process. What makes it truly frustrating is when you go through all the steps and then the connection still doesn’t work. When WRA does work, I have no complaints, but my experience has been very hit or miss.

After trying for a few hours to get WRA working, I gave up and started looking for other options, and that’s when I found TeamViewer. Literally 15 minutes later, I had connected to the other laptop, fixed the problem (which involved making some registry edits), and we were done. The quick connect options on TeamViewer was particularly handy, as it skips past the installation process and lets you get straight to helping someone.

Long story short, after having used TeamViewer to help several friends and family members over the past month, I received a press release announcing the new TeamViewer 8 with Windows 8 support (available as of December 4). With Windows 8 adding a few new items to the mix—e.g. the Start Screen and Charms Bar—TeamViewer has been updated to provide access to these items through its menus. It might seem like a minor thing, but given the UI overhaul in Windows 8 it’s something that will likely prove necessary. Windows 8 isn’t the only OS with new features; on OS X, Retina displays are now supported. TeamViewer also has their remote access app available on iOS, Android, and Windows RT

The above features are available in all versions of TeamViewer 8. For the non-free (e.g. Business, Premium, and Corporate) versions, other new additions include an improved user management interface, connection reporting of all sessions, browser-based connections, session handover, improved remote printing (VPN is no longer required), deeper MS Outlook integration, transmission of remote sound and video (video will require a fair amount of bandwidth, naturally), and enhanced session recordings.

TeamViewer’s Magdalena Brzakala (Public Relations Manager), Andre Schindler (Business Development Manager), and Tom Carpenter (Account Manager) took some time today to run me through some of the new features, and basically everything worked as expected. The fully licensed version, while expensive, also adds some functionality that I can certainly see as being useful for IT shops in particular, as well as telecommuters or those who need access to their home data and documents. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest TeamViewer is unique in any of these areas, but I can say that it has worked well when I needed it and it’s definitely one of those utilities I now keep in my software toolkit.

Source: TeamViewer

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  • andrewaggb - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    It's more marketing awesomeness. And it works. Nobody's quite sure what Retina means exactly, but apples the only one whose got it :-)
  • Impulses - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    I like Team View a lot, started using it fit similar reasons as Jarred, it's very easy for someone that isn't technical to get it up and running on the other end.
  • wifiwolf - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    I've been using teamviewer from version 2 and it's been very handful. The main advantage i've seen from any other VNC product is that you don't have to explain to someone remotely how to configure their firewall or proxy. And since last year i've been using it from my smartphone.
    I just say run this program and send the link.

    The major drawback is what other people said - price. It's the only reason i still use it as free version. I would gladly license it for a reasonable price even if just to help my family, no commercial use.

    And I do hate apple's retina name even if it means you can see as much as your retina can perceive.
  • dcollins - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    I use Teamviewer every day for work and in two years it hasn't let me down a single time. It's a little pricy and GoTo* has a few more features, but Teamviewer's performance and reliability are second to none. I can't imagine doing my job without it.
  • Einy0 - Saturday, December 8, 2012 - link

    We bought TeamViewer at work about 6 months ago. It makes our lives so much easier. Instead of jumping through hoops to get Windows Remote Assistance connected, we just connect and it's done. No playing with the VPN or worrying about firewalls or NAT. We put the quick support icon on our user desktop and it doesn't matter where they are. If we both have internet connectivity it just connects. It also is much more responsive and quicker than WRA. I noticed a long time ago WRA does not do well with latency or slow connections. It doesn't scale down as well as RDP does for some reason. TeamViewer adjusts on the fly, lag is much less of an issue. We love TeamViewer, if anything we plan to expand our usage in the future. I have to agree it is on the expensive side for smaller user groups. I think we spent 2 or 3 grand on ours. Our salesmen are all over the country for weeks at a time and some don't even work out of one of our offices so remote is the only option besides shipping the machine in.
  • beginner99 - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    Yeah out of curiosity I tried to connect from my home to my work pc and it worked without settign up anything went right through company firewall. IMHO pretty scary. How does that actually work? (probably the same way skype does'?)
  • SirMaster - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    The one problem I always have with Teamviewer that prevents me from using more is that it always keeps saying "commercial use detected" and I get limited to 5 minute sessions.

    I'm definitely only using it at home to connect to friends/family. I am not using it commercially yet it says that I am. They really need to rewrite their detection code...
  • Camikazi - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    Just send them an email about ti and explain that you are not using it commercially and they will unlock it. The same thing happened to me once (BTW if you reformat the computer and reinstall you get a different number that won't be affected) so I emailed them and told them how I was using the program and they unlocked the computer and have had no problems since. It seems their locking is on a per number basis since every other comp on my list worked fine and only my main one got locked.
  • Azethoth - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    I have been using Skype successfully for these tasks. You Skype someone, get them to share their screen, and then use voice commands to control the remote machine.
  • Magnus101 - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    I started using Team Viewer for the exact same reasons as the author a couple of years ago.
    WRA is just a pain to work with. It often refused to start and when it did start, it took forever for the session to start. And for the user at the other end (a relative who isn't that computer savy), it wasn't that easy to start using WRA.
    I haven't been using WRA for a couple of years now and haven't been using many alternatives (did try VNC, but it wasn't as good).
    But I know that TV just works, starts quickly, doesn't bug out and is free.
    At least for me.

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