Any IT representative or system administrator worth his or her salt is always as available as possible, even off-site. When trouble arises and you need to step a client through a complex software problem interactively or troubleshoot a remote server graphically, and whenever a Telnet or SSH session is insufficient, it's important to have a VNC client handy to give you the power to access any other machine over an intranet or the regular Internet. Of course, it's assumed that you have a VNC server process running on the destination machine beforehand in order to facilitate in the proper handshake and connection. Here are five apps that will work well for connecting into a VNC server remotely.
Although a paid app with a price tag of $99.99, VNC Viewer Plus might very well be worth every last penny. In addition to the bog standard VNC connection capability, you can also communicate with Intel hardware, powered by Advanced Management Technology, literally giving you complete control over an entire PC, versus control at the operating system level alone with VNC.
If you are looking for a remote desktop tool with quite the history to back it up, TightVNC is most certainly worth a look. With the older version 1.3 provided on the site, the server and viewer software can be used on versions of Windows as far back as 95 and NT 4.0. You can also utilize JPEG compression in order to conserve bandwidth and cut down on render lag for remote sessions. The source code is licensed under GPLv2 and is available as freeware.
Originally conceived as a direct continuation of the unreleased TightVNC v4 branch, TigerVNC became its own animal as it were (pun intended) and delivers a more modern interface in concert with improved security and bug fixes from the development side. Aside from that, TigerVNC behaves much like the project it spawned from, and as a result, is also available under the GPLv2 as freeware.
When it comes to a remote desktop tool that consolidates all display options right at your fingertips, UltraVNC is quite nice here. Before you pop into a session, you can choose from a series of pre-defined connection quality settings, allowing you to jump right into work without having to mess around with the settings menu later. There is also a chat feature where you can send text messages across the network to the destination machine for others to see. UltraVNC is available for free as donationware.
If you'd rather not deal with a dedicated software VNC viewer client, SmartCode Solutions has an ActiveX-powered VNC viewer which works a lot like regular viewers do, albeit with less features. You are also limited to Internet Explorer 8 and up, due to the fact that ActiveX is required, and not something more ubiquitous like a Java applet. This web service is available for free.
An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.