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 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 stumbled upon 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). Since Windows 8 adds a few new items to the mix—e.g. the Start Screen and Charms Bar are now accessible through the TeamViewer 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, the 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.