Review: GoToMyPC - Access Your Home or Office Computer Anywhere, Anytime
GoToMyPC is a web-based service from Citrix that enables you to easily access and control your home or office computer. To start using GoToMyPC, simply create an account on the Citrix website and install a small application onto the computer you need to access remotely (the “host”). You will then be able to access and control the host from any Internet-connected computer running the gamut of operating systems from Windows 95 to Vista, as well as Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC Phone Edition, Mac OS, Linux, or Solaris (see the GoToMyPC website for details of which versions or editions of each operating system are supported). Note that while the client can be running virtually any operating system, the host must be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista. If you are looking for a way to remotely access a Mac or a Linux computer, you’ll need to look for a solution other than GoToMyPC.
To remotely access the computer on which you’ve installed the GoToMyPC application, you simply need to enter your email address and password on the GoToMyPC website (www.gotomypc.com). A small session-specific Viewer automatically loads via the client’s browser and displays the screen information from the remote computer.
Because GoToMyPC is a web-based service that, unlike VPN remote-access solutions, does not require that an application be installed on the client, it can be used from any location, even public-access terminals where you might not be able to install software. Another advantage of GoToMyPC is its ability to work through most firewalls. If you have ever attempted to use a VPN product in a hotel or an airport, you may well have found it difficult to establish a connection because the local firewall is blocking the protocols needed by the client-side application. With GoToMyPC, this is not a problem. It works through just about any firewall. That said, if you have a personal firewall installed on the host, you’ll need to configure it in order for GoToMyPC to work. But this is extremely easy to do and you’ll find the instructions on the GoToMyPC website.
GoToMyPC supports multiple operating systems, so, of course, it supports multiple browsers, too. GoToMyPC works with Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, and Safari. This means virtually any computer can be used as a client.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
Installation is easy and straightforward. Simply visit the GoToMyPC website using the computer you want to be able to remotely control, create an account, and accept the download.
It’s just as easy to install GoToMyPC on another computer. All you need do is log onto the website from that computer and select the “Install on this PC” option.
You’ll then be asked to specify a nickname for the computer and an access code (which must not be the same as the password you used when creating your GoToMyPC account).
That is all there is to it. You will now be able to remotely access your host computer from anywhere in the world via the GoToMyPC website.
Price to Value (2 out of 5)
GoToMyPC is a subscription-based service and you pay per (host) computer. Each computer costs $16.95 per month to license, or $12.95 per month, if you take out an annual plan.
GoToMyPC is more expensive than competing products, such as LogMeIn and NTRconnect, but it offers no extra features and even lacks a key feature. Therefore, it is difficult to justify the additional cost.
Product Features (4 out of 5)
Like other remote access solutions, GoToMyPC works by passing screen information from the host to the client, and mouse movement and keystroke information from the host to the client. It eats up more bandwidth to pass screen information in True Color, so to help ensure optimal performance over any connection, GoToMyPC enables you to adjust its display settings. The Performance slider (shown below) allows you to easily refine the display settings to match your needs and connection speed.
When you run an application remotely, it’s actually run on the host computer as the client computer simply displays the host’s screen information. This means you can run any application that is installed on the host, even when you’re remotely accessing it from a client with a low specification, such as a Pocket PC, or a computer with a different operating system.
Because GoToMyPC’s options and settings can be accessed from either the host-side application or the website, you don’t have to be in front of the host computer to alter your preferences.
GoToMyPC enables you to do almost anything that you would be able to do if you were actually in front of your home or office computer. You can install or uninstall software, send email, and work with your documents. But GoToMyPC lets you do much more than simply remotely control your computer. You can also invite another person to remotely access your computer, either with view-only access or with the ability to remote control. This is an excellent way to run an online demo or to obtain technical support.
With GoToMyPC you can copy files from the host to the client computer, or from the client to the host computer. You can also synchronize directories on multiple devices, which is particularly useful if you regularly need to work on more than one computer.
GoToMyPC also supports remote printing. Remote printing allows you to easily and quickly print a document on the host computer.
As mentioned earlier in this review, GoToMyPC lacks wake-on-LAN support , a key feature you’ll find in other competing products, like NTRconnect.
Security & Privacy (4 out of 5)
When choosing a remote-access solution, security must be a primary consideration. Like other remote-access solutions, GoToMyPC has a broad array of security measures to ensure that your remote access sessions are secure and to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. To remotely access a computer, you must provide two passwords: your account password and the password specific to the computer you want to access.
Communication between the client and host computers is secured using 128-bit, end-to-end AES encryption. Additionally, you can blank the host computer’s monitor during the remote session, lock the keyboard and mouse, and set GoToMyPC to automatically disconnect after a specified period of inactivity.
Wake-on-LAN support , as featured in NTRconnect, would be a welcome addition to GoToMyPC.
GoToMyPC Pro is an excellent product. It’s easy to use and install. The GoToMyPC website contains a comprehensive FAQ and knowledge base that will provide you with the answer to most questions.
The only minor drawback to GoToMyPC is its lack of wake-on-LAN support (a feature that is offered by competing products). To use GoToMyPC, the host computer must be switched on; it cannot be started remotely. However, unless you’re likely to be away from your home or office computer for protracted periods of time, this will not be much of a problem.
NTRconnect Pro, LogMeIn Pro