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Remote Computer Help With Easy Setup: Copilot and CrossLoop

May 20th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Here’s an amazing example of how the same thing, or almost the same thing can come in various shades of free. I have been looking high and low for software that helps me help family members without their having to jump through firewalls, setup VNC and play with port forwarding setting on the router.

Fogcreek’s copilot is the first candidate for such a remote desktop solution. See the demo. It helps you help someone over TightVNC. The copilot website acts as a go-between helping you connect your desktop to that of the person you are helping. The downside is price – copilot is not free, though it is built upon TightVNC which is free – both in terms of price, and the freedom to build on. Fogcreek’s copilot costs $5 per day (if you buy their daypass). I can pay for it, no problem, I thought, but then I found crossloop.

Crossloop is the free equivalent of Copilot, as it is free for use. You ask the person you are helping to download the software and install it, by clicking “Next” a few times. Then you ask them to be the “Host”. The UI can’t be simpler – it has two tabs – “Join” and “host”. So after they setup their machine as a host, you get a number/code to enter in the “Join” tab and you are connected. It uses TightVNC too, as listed on the page about Crossloop’s technology, so it is essentially the same as FogCreek’s Copilot.

CrossLoop promises much, and I can see myself promoting this among my own little circle of friends and coworkers. It is ideal when you want to connect to a friend’s PC. I wish it worked on Linux/Mac systems though. Copilot works on Macs too. Of course, if anything I said above is incorrect, or if there are any better tools, please let me know.