Enterprise Software

Five power tips for using TeamViewer for remote support tasks

TeamViewer is a versatile remote support and desktop sharing program -- and it offers some features that other tools lack. Jack Wallen looks at a few of the best ways to put TeamViewer to work.

TeamViewer is one of those tools that quickly becomes indispensable. Not only is it a reliable tool for handling typical remote support, it also includes a few features that other remote support solutions don't have. Of course, you can go your entire career using the bare minimum of TeamViewer features and options. But if you want to get as much as you can out of the experience, you're in luck. TeamViewer has plenty to offer. It's only a matter of knowing the features and options are there.

Here are five power tips for those who need more from TeamViewer. And if you're trying to decide between TeamViewer and another remote support tool, maybe this will help tip the scales.

1: Record your actions

I have found this feature to be an amazing help. You can use it to send clients a video of how something is done (when an issue is a common end-user error that you don't always have time to deal with). It can also help you remember how you did something, when it was a little off the beaten path. TeamViewer makes recording sessions simple. Just click Extras | Record | Start (during a remote session) and then Extras | Record | Stop. TeamViewer will prompt to save the file. For the client to view the recorded file, it must be copied to the client (they can't access it from within TeamViewer itself).

2: Take advantage of the Partner List

If you have clients you frequently connect to, I highly recommend using the Partner List. With this list, you can quickly connect to a client, so long as TeamViewer is installed on their system. The Partner List also allows for connection with a client even if the user is not present. A couple of notes: Make sure the client is set up to retain their password; otherwise, you will have to constantly ask them for it so you can connect. Also, you will have to sign up for a TeamViewer account to make use of this feature.

3: Use the VPN tool

TeamViewer has a built-in VPN tool that lets you create a VPN tunnel between the two connected machines. Once these two machines are connected via the VPN feature, you'll have access to the client's network and networked hardware. This can be handy when you're trying to troubleshoot connections to printers or other hardware a client might be having problems with. This also allows for the easy sharing of files. To make use of the VPN feature, first make the connection to the client and then click Extras | VPN | Start. Once the VPN is no longer needed, click Extras | VPN | Stop.

4: Set up Windows authentication

Yes, it is possible to authenticate to a Windows domain through TeamViewer, even though it is not terribly obvious. First, the client must have Windows Logon enabled in TeamViewer (done by clicking Options | Security and then selecting the type of logon allowed from the Windows logon drop-down). Once this is set, just click the Advanced button in the TeamViewer Authentication window and select Windows from the Authentication drop-down. Authenticating this way is the only means of getting around the Windows User Access Control, should the action on the client machine require Administration authentication.

5: Reboot client machines

If you're managing a session where the client machine requires a reboot and you reboot through the standard method, you won't be able to retrieve a connection to the machine without user interaction. To reboot the machine remotely, the Remote Reboot button must be clicked. To find that button, click Action | Remote Reboot | Reboot. There is also an option to remotely reboot into Safe mode. Only one thing can block this process: If the client machine requires user logon to get to the Windows desktop, the machine will halt at that point until the user logs on to the machine. But other than that, using the Action menu is the only safe way to reboot a TeamViewer client machine.

More tips?

These are just a few of the cool features and advanced options for TeamViewer. If you have a TeamViewer power tip you'd like to share — or you've encountered a problem using TeamViewer and you could use some help — join the discussion.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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