Enterprise Software

Video: Take control of any Windows PC on the Internet with CrossLoop

If remotely controlling PCs across the Internet is a support headache, CrossLoop might be the cure. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler shows you how to take control of Windows PCs using the free CrossLoop remote control application.

Remotely controlling an end user's PC across the Internet can be complicated. Remote support tools, like Windows Remote Desktop and VNC, simplify the process, but even these programs can trip up a frustrated, novice user. Add firewalls and routers to the mix, and remote support becomes a real headache. CrossLoop might be the cure.

CrossLoop is a remote control application that distills connecting two PCs via the Internet into a simple one-button interface. The program works through firewalls and routers, making it easy to connect two computers on different networks. CrossLoop uses GPL-licensed TightVNC, which protects all transferred data with 128-bit encryption

In this IT Dojo video, I demonstrate how easily you can establish a remote connection with CrossLoop. To run CrossLoop yourself, you'll need a machine running Windows 98 or later, with a Pentium 500 MHz or better processor, at least 128 MB of RAM, 2 MB of free hard drive space, and a high-speed Internet connection.

CrossLoop is one of the best remote support tools I've used. It's not perfect, and it sometimes drops connections, but it works as well as any remote control application on the market--only without the hassle. I frequently use CrossLoop to support my technically-challenged friends and family.

For more information on using CrossLoop read Mark Kaelin's article, "Take control of any Windows PC on the Internet with CrossLoop." From the article page, you can print Mark's review, save it to your TechRepublic Workspace, e-mail it to a friend or colleague, and even Digg it.

For more remote support and system administration advice, check out the following TechRepublic Resources:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

106 comments
davew
davew

One of the best remote control programs that I use all the time is Logmein! It's free and I even have advanced users use it to work from home.

fred64
fred64

This article and comments from the developer indicate the free version of crossloop allows unlimited file transfers. Well I downloaded the free product a few minutes ago and found no way to transfer files. Their site indicates file transfer is a feature of the paid version. If so, then this article needs to be updated accordingly.

SuperC2615
SuperC2615

Oh....Bomgar lets you connect to a PC and or a Mac....it is also available from my laptop from where ever I am....in the mountains, by the sea...in Europe....really worth the cost! Also, you can purchase additional "seats" and other techs can use it with your license. With recording of all that occurs in a particular session....just good software...!

SuperC2615
SuperC2615

I don't see anyone mentioning Bomgar remote software....it does have a cost, but I have been using it for 5 yrs and find it very easy for both myself and my client to log on. It is also encrypted and the company is growing and improving their product !

padilla_melvin
padilla_melvin

It's the same as using a Team Viewer Application

salasreyesllc
salasreyesllc

I don't know if any of you have experienced the same problem but I tried using this software from my home in Brooklyn, NY, in order to connect to a friend in the Bronx and the connection kept on failing. Like every other minute. Seriously. On top of that, it seems as if it fouled up my firewall (Zone Alarm). I had to do a system restore and uninstall the fire wall.

medcombwb
medcombwb

I have been using LogMeIn for about 2 years now. It has been awesome. They have a web page where you can choose from several varieties of the service including LogMeIn free. No Firewall hassles or anyothers as far as it goes. I support all of my clients remotely using it.

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

Hi. Who is the Host and who is the Client? Both machines must have the software, right? Does it need to be differently configured on each end? Kindly clarify and elaborate, thanks. :0)

bill.folger
bill.folger

Will log-me-in scout detect CrossLoop on your network?

Dusterman
Dusterman

We set up a couple machines here and watched from bench to bench ........... . Was very interesting ! ! . We did a mass AV run on both machines .......just to see what might have came in with this program...... . Kaspersky was the only one to come up and claim we had any thing going on !? ?! ?! ?! . I am "assuming" after talking to several others that, the VPN part is the only thing triggering the AV. . Ran a similair VPN program [ POS ... so I will not mention its name here ] and came up with the same .... virus found VPN yada yada yada ........ "stuff" . BTW .... sent a blurb to CrossLoop and got a reply from a person a few days later .....saying that they appreciated the info .......hmmmmm....... the "other guys" sent me nasty grams back asking why I was second guessing them, bothering them and so on. . So I guess that this was a blatant info mercial as someone said ....... that's ok ..... I learned sumptin :-) . As my 103 year old grandmother would say ....... it's a good day ...... when you learn something new ! . Mike

paulo.larisch
paulo.larisch

McAfee av simply does not allow to run it in our LAN. Even if I could possibly allow it as a local exception using my admin rights users cannot. I will use it for home and friends :-)

Zenith545
Zenith545

Does TR own stock in CrossLoop???

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I got the Radio Shack digital TV converter box.Connect the antenna wires,TV to channel 3,run the update channel scan,and it works.It gets the city's local channels and some cable like stuff,if there's more than one ch4 it numbers them.The TV remote power switch has a type in numeric series that matches the Radio Shack remote to your TV.Keep going till you have on and off both working.I had to update scan several times.Digital TV is digital TV.You just might be able to hook the converter box up to your cable system and get digital cable.

dgs010243
dgs010243

I think it is a better solution than nothing. The 128 encryption method is a controversial one. http://dansomnea.tripod.com/diary. However you must protect your computers by good Internet security suites like: NIS 2008, NIS 2007, Norton 360, McAfee, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, ZoneAlarm and so on. The directory of bookmarks http://dan.somnea.free.fr/ was deleted. Sorry! Sincerely, prof dr ing Dan Gheorghe Somnea

jzou
jzou

the cross loop website says the system requirement is windows 2000, not 98 as shown in the video.

sjnelson
sjnelson

it looks to not be a point to tpoint connection. Does all traffic go through the company's servers and thus own the data?

sameg14
sameg14

Nice video Bill. I prefer using logmein.com They have a free version that does the exact same thing and more. You can also add all the computers you want to administer to your list so all your clients would have to do is leave their internet connected PC on for you to be able to remotely administer it. www.solutionsamir.com

pdf6161
pdf6161

I am an alchemist, and I wish to work for DuPont . . . no, no, I have some Win98 machines I still want to support, but the download at Crossloop says that the minimum is Win 2000. You say it works with Win98. Has this changed since you made the video?

wkorfhage
wkorfhage

http://www.skyfex.com. It uses an ActiveX control and your browser. Obviously, it is Windows only and requires IE. I've used it a few times and it has worked quite well. It has a limited free version and an paid version.

dstreifling
dstreifling

Grrrreat tip, Bill. Thank you. Just happened to watch the video to the end. Looks like making a video is not as easy as it looks. ;-)

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

I'm not necessarily speaking directly about Crossloop here (Crossloop has made an attempt to make it somewhat more secure by requiring that the remote connection be initiated and approved from the local computer). I am speaking more toward the many users or proponents of Logmein, GoToMyPC or other remote access software that is designed to bypass firewalls, has no monitoring or controll capability and made easy for the end user to install. I cringe in my seat everytime I see one of those commercials for these programs on TV. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Any program that can be installed by an end user and is designed to bypass a corporate firewall and give total access to the internal network is just plain bad security practice. This is the stuff root kits are made of. As an administrator if you can't make a "CONTROLLED AND MANAGED" remote desktop connection to a computer on your network from anywhere in the world without using firewall defeating, end user abusing, piece of software such as Logemein or GoToMyPC you are seriously missing the boat. As far as being able to provide remote assistance to someone accross the Internet, use a managed VPN connection that allows you to connect to the remote network. Once connected through the VPN use the Windows XP Remote Desktop Assistance Program to offer help to the end user. For the professionals at Tech Republic to tout these types of software without pointing out the obvious security ramifications is down right irresponsible.

techrepublic-com
techrepublic-com

goto assist from gotoassist.com will allow you to do the same things including using code based connections, the only draw back with this is that it is a pay for service. But it is much better in the fact that both client and host do not have to have the software already, the client starts a session and generates a code for the host, the host then goes to a website puts in the code given them and the magic begins, in the back ground a host application is downloaded and run, the client can choose to install the software as a service allowing for remote logins, and also reboot reconnects. for more information on this email me at rmiller@dnetpa.com and i can give you more details.

Chipv
Chipv

GotoAssist Beta from Citrix is far superior than both Logmein and Crossloop. it too has 128 bit encryption and gives you the option to launch from their website(fastsupport.com)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Hehehe.. I couldn't resist the joke. It was there, it was obvious but I took it. More seriously, I tend to just use the desktop sharing though VNC was my preference before that and Remotely Possible before VNC (but that's a long while back now). I think the newer VNC also uses encrypted connections. I can't bring myself to include a third party beyond a dynamic DNS provider. I do have some questions that keep coming to mind and this may be the least off topic place to ask. (Rickk, if your out there, you usually know the Windows stuff down cold) - what encryption CrossLoop using using between client and remote system? - The native Telnet deamon is plaintext. If one uses the native remote admin console instead, does that use an encryted connection and if so, which? Not completely on topic but I keep wondering and figured someone here was likely to know.

k0xv.00
k0xv.00

This promises to be a great utility. I'll need this to calm the technophobes in my family. On has to admit that Bill-san's out-takes are the best part of the video. I'll be a student in this dojo for many moons.

wfsaccounting
wfsaccounting

What a great video. My question is this, can I copy files from my computer to a remote computer using CrossLoop. We have a rather large company software program that needs regular updates to offices across the country and this could be the solution for me.

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

I'm using LogMeIn (www.logmein.com) for my remote controlling and I love it! You don't need to type in the computer's name or an access code. It's great! The only thing you need is a web browser. Also it's cross-platform, which, by the look of it, CrossLoop isn't.

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

....contact me at mrinal [at] crossloop.com and I will introduce you to our customer service person. Thank you for sharing this issue since it is rare and it helps us learn

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

We updated our UI based on user feedback and now use Share and Access - those who are going to 'share' their desktop and those who are going to 'access' their contact's desktop. Those on the 'Share' tab, get a randomly generated unique access code that needs to be shared with their contact (phone/im etc). the contact then has to enter that access code on their 'Access' tab's empty access code field. Both parties need to click on 'connect' within 2 minutes. We keep it within 2 minutes since our product is for a remote support session between 2 people and not remote access. Thanks

mtaule
mtaule

Did anyone tested this other similar software www.visualuser.com ? Thanks in advance for your replies

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

We do get false positives with some AV guys but when you click on 'allow', 'unblock' etc - it works fine If you are using it only on an internal LAN with no Internet, we wont work. Internet is a must - you may already know that but just making sure.

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

You are correct - I just clarified that above in this discussion. We used to support Win98 until recently since we had a very very small Win98 user base which added a lot more payload to our software.

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

As per my response above in this discussion, we use our servers to certify the two parties and then had it off to keep a peer to peer session. Very very occasionally, as a fallback if the peer to peer connection fails, it goes through our server, completely encrypted. More details here: http://www.crossloop.com/ipage.htm?id=security

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

We did support win98 but since we had a negligible user base with Win98 and we had to add on a lot more code for that, we decided to keep it small and support Win 2000 and later Apologies for any confusion

The DOBC
The DOBC

Teamviewer says it still supports win98.

The DOBC
The DOBC

These progs aren't for a corporate access strategy. These are designed so Joe home user can help his mother in Florida fix a simple problem so she doesn't have to spend $$$ she might not have calling Geeksquad. A corporate IT department will have secured VPN's and more tech savvy people on both ends.

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

CrossLoop has the file transfer feature (drag and drop as well, if you wish) with no limits. You can use multiple files or folders. Hope that addresses your questions I am one of the Co-Founders of CrossLoop so please feel to ask me more questions, if needed.

TechRepublic
TechRepublic

Crossloop does allow file transfer. Chris

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

You are correct that CrossLoop is only for Windows today but we plan to port it across platforms by Fall this year. We are primarily focused on remote support and not remote access and hence the need for a person to be at both computers - within 2 minutes.

The DOBC
The DOBC

The last time I used logmein, it was an activex app. Not cross platform unless they changed something.

tomurich
tomurich

I came across LogMeIn by accident over a year ago and when I found Symantec using it for their own tech support I was totally convinced.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've only recently started contacting developers in the FOSS world after years in the culture mostly due to growing up in the proprietary world with innaccessible developers. It's good to see a responsive development house especially outside of the open source lisenced world.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

I would agree with your assesment that it should only be used by a home user accessing another home user's computer, but no where does it address that it is for the home user. Look at all the responses of people (net admins/Tech support) who say they use it on their company network. These are the people I'm addressing.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I love when the developer has a chance to respond diretly. Thank you. I was more curious what Windows Admin Console uses between remote system and local administrator but I can have a look at that on my own wire since my title seems to have misdirected most people. 128 Blowfish is a nice solid encryption choice in your case. (one of pgp's first algarithms if I remember correct)

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

I'm glad to see you built some security into the program like this. The other remote access programs don't require an end user to be present at the local machine and that is just plain dumb.

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

I use logmein om my mac and pc. Haven't tried it out on linux but it should work. I think it's flashbased but I could be wrong.

TechRepublic
TechRepublic

Both applications will let you view desktops remotely and use an external server to facilitate getting through firewalls and the like. LogMeIn is great if you are setting up a machine and need to remotely view it when there is nobody on the other end to read you the access code and enable the connection. On the other hand - having a program that allows remote connections when nobody is around makes some of my clients squeamish. They want to know who is accessing their desktop and want that extra layer of control without the extra layer of complexity. Crossloop is very good in these cases. Like Bill said, it's not perfect, but for the clients I have that use it, it is a very nice and straightforward tool and saves a lot of driving to fix stupid stuff on remote users computers. Chris

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

Its such a small thing when you come to think of it but its BIG for us to be accesible, listen, learn and improve .... plus we are just doing what we would like to experience with others :) Thanks for recognizing it!

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

....and be available as people first, company later! Its a core philosophy of CrossLoop. Thanks and feel free to email me directly as well if you have questions at mrinal [at] crossloop.com

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

I don't think so. I have one computer at my father's home that's always on and if I forget something or need to check if the webserver is up it would be stupid if he'd to be there just to confirm. He's not so "techy" either ;) Besides, I don't think he'd like to go up 1 am to accept the session. But security is good for most cases but in this it's not, or at least not for me.

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

... but I was wrong. You can't install logmein on a linux, but maybe later =) Still logmein covers mac which crossloop doesn't now.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

when did they start a Linux client? I thought they only had Mac 'n Windows?

perpetualjon
perpetualjon

QFT, each platform has it's advantages and disadvantages. Logmein is what I've been using for several years now and couldn't be happier but I can see where someone might not want to allow access to a system without their supervision (although my support services only work that way considering I'm usually working on my client's machines in the middle of the night). I will admit that it is nice to be able to access any machine on my network from anywhere with a browser though! No special software to install!