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LogMeIn Pro Review - Remote Access Made Easy

written by: Bill Bunter•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011
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LogMeIn is web-based remote access solution that enables you to easily access and control your home or office computer from any Internet-connected computer. With LogMeIn, your programs and data will always be within easy reach.

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    Introduction

    LogMeIn Pro is an online remote access and control solution that enables you to easily access your home or office computer from any Internet-connected computer anywhere in the world. Unlike some remote-access solutions, such as VPN products, LogMeIn does not require that an application be installed on the computer for it to be remotely accessed (the “client”); instead, a small application is installed on the computer to be accessed (the “host”). To access the host, you simply enter the credentials that you created during the installation into the LogMeIn website, and presto--you’ll be able to access and control your home or office computer. This means that you can use LogMeIn Pro from any Internet-connected computer, even public-access computers on which software installations may be blocked.

    LogMeIn also provides another major advantage over traditional VPN solutions: it works through most firewalls. If you’re attempting to remotely access your computer from a hotel with a VPN product, you might well find that the local firewall will block the protocols that the client-side application needs. Not so with LogMeIn. LogMeIn will work through the majority of firewalls without the need to create or amend rules. But note that if you have a personal firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, installed on the host, you’ll need to configure it on order for LogMeIn to work. Helpfully, LogMeIn provide tips for configuring your firewall on its website.

    LogMeIn can be installed on any Internet-connected computer that runs Windows 98, ME, 2000, or XP; or Windows Server 2003. The host can be accessed from any computer running Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT, XP, or Vista; Pocket PC 2000/2002; Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003; Linux; or Mac OS X. Note that in testing, LogMeIn did not function correctly when a Mac client was used. The developers know about this problem and state that it shall be fixed “very soon.”

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    Product Features

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    LogMeIn is the only remote access solution to enable you to email a download link to a file on your computer. It's an easy way to share files that are too big to email and can be an excellent time-saver. LogMeIn enables you to do much more than simply remotely access and control your home or office computer. You can also invite another person to either view your desktop or remotely control your computer, enabling you to easily obtain technical support, run an online demonstration, or to work collaboratively on a project with a friend or colleague. The File Manager allows you to transfer files between, or synchronize folders on, the host and the client--which is a really useful feature if you regularly use more than one computer. LogMeIn also has a handy File Share feature that enables you to easily share files too large to be sent by email. File Share can be accessed from either LogMeIn’s website or from its system tray icon (so you can you share files from both the host and the client computer) and works by creating a link that can be sent by email. When the recipient clicks on the link, the file will be downloaded directly from your computer. One really useful of LogMeIn is its ability to reboot the host computer from the client. You can either make Windows reboot in the normal manner or force a hard reboot. The latter option enables you to remotely push the reset button--something that most people will have had to do at some point in order to overcome a problem with Windows--and then resume your remote control session. Remote printing is another nice
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    Installation & Setup

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    Installation is easy and straightforward. Simply visit the LogMeIn website using the computer that you want to be able to remotely access and enter your email address and a password. You’ll then be prompted to download and install the LogMeIn software on that computer. Additional host computers can be added just as easily.

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    Performance

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    LogMeIn works by sending screen information from the host to the client computer, and keystroke and mouse move information from the client to the host computer. The fact that only relatively small amounts of data are transferred between computers helps avoid lag during remote control sessions. Passing screen information in True Color can impact performance; to ensure optimal performance at all times, LogMeIn enables you to adjust the color quality to match your needs and connection.

    Because all applications are run on the host and use the host’s processing capabilities, the specifications of the client computer are unimportant. This means that you can use whatever applications are installed on the host even when you are accessing them from a relatively low-powered client, such as a Pocket PC. This also avoids compatibility problems. You can use a Mac to remotely access a PC and run its Windows applications--or vice versa.



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    Security & Privacy

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    With any remote access solution, security is of paramount importance. LogMeIn has a selection of options and features designed to ensure that your remote access sessions are safe and secure. The data that is passed between client and host is secured with 256-bit end-to-end encryption--as is the data that is passed when the File Share feature is used. Additionally, you can block or permit connections from specific IP addresses, block IP addresses after a specified number of invalid connection attempts, blank the host’s monitor or disable its keyboard and mouse, set the host to lock at the end of a remote control session, disable remote printing, and specify that one-time passwords be used. When you select the one-time password system, you are provided with a list of eight passwords, each of which can be used only once. To be able to connect to your home or office computer, you must enter a password that has not been previously used. The one-time password system is particularly useful if you intend to use LogMeIn from an Internet café or other public-access computer.

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    Conclusion

    There in one drawback with LogMeIn. While some remote access solutions enable you to start a computer via wake-on-LAN, LogMeIn does not. You can only remotely access a computer that is switched on. For most people, this will not be a problem--but if you are likely to be away from your home or office computer for an extended period of time, you might find it an inconvenience.

    In tests, LogMeIn performed perfectly--except for the previously mentioned problem with a Mac client--and its extensive set of features make it an excellent choice for any home user or small business looking for an easily implemented and inexpensive remote access and control solution.

    LogMeIn is a subscription-based service. To license a single computer to be remotely accessed costs $12.95 per month. To license two to ten costs $9.95 per month per computer. Discounts are offered if you license more than ten computers or if you pay annually. LogMeIn is less costly than some competing products and represents good value for money. Watch the LogMeIn website as deals for license bundles are often offered - for example, as at the time of writing, you can pick up a bundle of 5 licenses for only $19.75 per month or $199.00 for a year.