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Most useful tools: TeamViewer


posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2023

This is an oldy, but goody: TeamViewer. This remote access, control, and support software allows you to get and give access to your device to someone else. 

Personally, I've used this often when troubleshooting with users, clients or, yes, family members who call you because you are the IT person :)

More on TeamViewer, how to use it and a disclaimer on its use below!


More on TeamViewer

As mentioned above, TeamViewer is a remote access and remote control software that allows users to access and control another computer or device remotely. It is widely used for remote support, remote access, online meetings, web conferencing, and file transfer between devices. The software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

One of the things I like most about TeamViewer is its ease of use. It's quite accessible and the process of allowing/taking control just takes a few clicks, making TeamViewer a great tool for remote support and troubleshooting. What's even better is its security features. The software uses end-to-end encryption to protect the data being transferred, and it also includes a two-factor authentication option for added security (you just need convince people to use it :)).

In addition to remote access and control, TeamViewer also includes a variety of other features such as online meetings and web conferencing but in all fairness, I have never used those as I don't need them personally and at the company where I work we use different tools.

What's also cool is that the software includes a built-in chat function, making it easy to communicate with others while working remotely, although I'm old school so I often still go for the Notepad approach, also because it's more fun to mess with the other person :)

Overall, I like TeamViewer because it's quick, easy and gets the job done. Even users who are new to this tool can set it up (as setup is practically non-existent) and a lot of users are already familiar with the tool from previous support/troubleshooting experiences. 

Please note that TeamViewer is free for personal use, but requires a license for professional use.


How does it work?
  1. Visit www.teamviewer.com and download the installer. Fun fact: You can even download TeamViewer without accepting cookies, they have a direct link for download in the cookie banner.
  2. Start the installation and go for the third option "Run only" which allows you to use TeamViewer without actually installing it. Of course, if you prefer to actually install it, that's possible too, I just like the run only option.

    TeamViewer installation wizard

  3. Once running you will see a dashboard that contains a menu on the left, a section with your  own information to allow remote control in the middle and a section to control another device on the right.



  4. The principle is that both parties open TeamViewer and exchange the details accordingly. If I want to help a friend, then the friend should give me their ID and Password from the middle of their screen which I can enter on the right side of my screen. I enter the ID first and click "Connect", I will then be prompted for the Password.

  5. On the screen of the person whose device is being controlled, in the example above "my friend" :) will see a panel typically on the bottom right-hand side of their screen. The panel can be moved around so if it blocks the view you can easily drag and drop it somewhere else. Note that both parties can do so. This panel has a a lot of goodies:
    1. x at the top of the panel - this closes the remote connection, use this to end the remote control session
    2. camera icon - start webcam session
    3. headset icon - start audio session
    4. chat icon - start chat session
    5. document icon - start file sharing, you can drag and drop files in the File Box widget
    6. brush icon - also known as "how to mess with the other person"-tool, allows you to draw on the screen
    7. >> icon - will show you the active connections and allows to control mouse and keyboard input and switch the session around (only if it was previously intiated)

That's it! Or at least, that's the basics that should allow you to setup a remote control session.


Disclaimer

Just note that if you use this tool or you recommend it to somebody else to make the impact clear; by passing on your passcode, you are essentially giving this person full access to your device. TeamViewer, but any similar type of tool is commonly used in phishing attacks so make sure to only give the passcode to people you know and trust. Don't give this information to anybody else, even if they tell you they work for a bank, or the government or Microsoft. This is also part of the reason why I recommend running instead of installing, in the hope it makes the threshold to use the tool in incorrect circumstances higher.

Do you like/use TeamViewer? Do you prefer other tools? Let me know in the comments!

Could be useful, right?


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