NetSupport Manager makes remote administration simple.
If you’ve ever been in the business of providing tech support, you most
likely have your share of amusing (or frightening) stories of walking
people through procedures over the phone. Because you can’t see what the
user’s seeing, even something as simple as getting the user to click the
Start button can be time-consuming. This is why NetSupport Inc. developed
NetSupport Manager version 7 is a handy tool that not only allows you
to see what users are doing, but allows you to take control of their systems
and perform tasks for them. You may think this sounds like run-of-the-mill
remote control software, but there’s more to this product.
First, the remote control feature is lightning fast. I was controlling
a machine over a 100MB/second network, and there was no delay between
the machines. There’s also a handy function that allows the client machine
to request help from a controlling machine. All users need to do is right-click
the icon in the system tray and select Request Help. A message is then
posted at the controlling machine the next time it connects to the calling
Another nice feature is the hardware and software inventory capability.
Imagine never having to ask, “How much RAM does your machine have?” again.
Just by right-clicking a system in the control program and selecting hardware
or software inventory, you can get a complete listing of everything on
Manager also has a built-in scripting language that looks suspiciously
like VBScript (but that’s good, as it makes it easier to learn). With
this language, you can automate just about anything on the remote systems.
There are only a few minor drawbacks to the software. First, the monitor
blacks out for a second or so during installation. (I thought my machine
rebooted right in the middle of installing, which was kind of spooky.)
Second, the hardware and software inventories are referred to as separate
functions, but they’re the same thing. Regardless of whether you select
hardware inventory or software inventory, you get both. The final issue
is that when you close the remote control window, you expect the controlling
system to disconnect from the controlled system, but that isn’t the case,
by default. You must close the remote control window, then disconnect
from the client by right-clicking the client icon and selecting Disconnect.
|NetSupport allows administrators to
take control of a client’s system and perform tasks for them.
If you’re working for a small company just looking to control one or
two machines, this software may be a little pricey, but if you’re in a
large organization that really wants to streamline tech support operations,
this is definitely worth investigating.
Joseph L. Jorden, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CCDA is Chief Technical Officer for Dugger & Associates (www.Dugger-IT.com). He was one of the first 100
people to achieve the MCSE+I and one of the first 2,000 to become an MCSE under Windows 2000. Joseph frequently contributes to books from Sybex and various periodicals.