TeamViewer is one of those applications that some people have heard about and love, while others have no idea what it is. At its core, TeamViewer is a remote control utility for Windows and OS X computers—and unlike Windows Remote Assistance (WRA), in my experience it works well and it’s extremely easy to get connected.

I first stumbled on TeamViewer when I couldn’t get WRA working to help my mom with a computer problem; trying to explain to a computer neophyte how to start WRA, save an invitation file, find the file they just saved, then email the file is not exactly a simple process. What makes it truly frustrating is when you go through all the steps and then the connection still doesn’t work. When WRA does work, I have no complaints, but my experience has been very hit or miss.

After trying for a few hours to get WRA working, I gave up and started looking for other options, and that’s when I found TeamViewer. Literally 15 minutes later, I had connected to the other laptop, fixed the problem (which involved making some registry edits), and we were done. The quick connect options on TeamViewer was particularly handy, as it skips past the installation process and lets you get straight to helping someone.

Long story short, after having used TeamViewer to help several friends and family members over the past month, I received a press release announcing the new TeamViewer 8 with Windows 8 support (available as of December 4). With Windows 8 adding a few new items to the mix—e.g. the Start Screen and Charms Bar—TeamViewer has been updated to provide access to these items through its menus. It might seem like a minor thing, but given the UI overhaul in Windows 8 it’s something that will likely prove necessary. Windows 8 isn’t the only OS with new features; on OS X, Retina displays are now supported. TeamViewer also has their remote access app available on iOS, Android, and Windows RT

The above features are available in all versions of TeamViewer 8. For the non-free (e.g. Business, Premium, and Corporate) versions, other new additions include an improved user management interface, connection reporting of all sessions, browser-based connections, session handover, improved remote printing (VPN is no longer required), deeper MS Outlook integration, transmission of remote sound and video (video will require a fair amount of bandwidth, naturally), and enhanced session recordings.

TeamViewer’s Magdalena Brzakala (Public Relations Manager), Andre Schindler (Business Development Manager), and Tom Carpenter (Account Manager) took some time today to run me through some of the new features, and basically everything worked as expected. The fully licensed version, while expensive, also adds some functionality that I can certainly see as being useful for IT shops in particular, as well as telecommuters or those who need access to their home data and documents. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest TeamViewer is unique in any of these areas, but I can say that it has worked well when I needed it and it’s definitely one of those utilities I now keep in my software toolkit.

Source: TeamViewer

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  • Smultie - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Nice update, but a bit of a let down that they still haven't integrated an auto-update feature on Mac OS X.
  • janderk - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    I have switched to Google Chrome Remote Desktop these days.

    No expensive licenses and works like a charm to help out mam or to access you own home computer from a remote location. Highly recommended and (ok, I am Dutch) zero license fees.
  • zilexa - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Teamviewer is always free for personal use.. so I don't see your point?
    As every free software, its paid for commercial use (duh).
  • janderk - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Google Remote Desktop is free for commercial use too.

    Google Remote Desktop commercial use: $0
    Teamviewer commercial use: $499-$2694

    For personal use there are no license costs for Teamviewer, but features are limited. Like no audio and you get nag-screens. Teamviewer is a fine product, I just wanted to point out that there is a very good alternative. Disadvantage for Google Remote desktop is that you need Chrome installed on both ends.
  • Camikazi - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    Audio works fine on free account with TeamViewer 8 and the nag screen you talk about is one screen when you disconnect. I don't like Chrome and would not like having to install it on every computer just to use their remote desktop (which didn't work as well as TV last I tried it). I also like the fact that I can install just a host program on computers which let me connect to them without them being able to connect to my computers. For personal use and more than a few computers I see TV as more useful.
  • maxxl - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    Of course there's PRO version with some extended capabilities. Some time ago I used Team Viewer free, but is has couple not friendly things:
    - you need to remember numbers for clients
    - Team Viewer is limiting connections, or even blocking free version if someone is using it too frequently.
    I found Logmein the best solution for me by now, because I have quite lot friends which need my support from time to time. The only disadvantage is that you have to pay for Logmein client called "Ignition" for mobile devices if you want to use them to give support. Even though, It is worth to pay for it IMO.
    I'll try Google Chrome Remote Desktop, but requirement to set up Google Chrome as the main web browser will be unacceptable for some, so it'll disqualify it as wide support tool.
  • Camikazi - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    You don't have to remember client numbers if you add them to your account and they only limit your connection if they beleive you are using the free account for commercial use and then you can just send them an email explaining your usage (using it to help friends and family is fine BTW) and they will unlock your account. I have about 25 computers on my account ATM and it works perfectly.
  • MartinAston - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    To my mind Google Chrome works like a turtle, and it's not the best options for spontaneous tech support.

    If you're looking for a free teamviewer alternative that allows commercial use you may want to try Aeroadmin

    Hope it helps.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    .. But damn Windows 8 is so ugly. Those thick borders and flat ugly.. everything.
  • LauRoman - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    As in Windows 7 those can be modified:

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