I love my parents dearly, but when it comes to trying to help them with their computer woes, sometimes patience beats out the constant reminders that they raised and supported me for all those many years. Like a good son I call every couple of days and inevitably they have a computer question. Trying to explain simple concepts such as accessing e-mail from multiple locations or having to press the power button to turn their computer back on after a power outage have been difficult at best.
LogMeIn allows you to remotely connect to any number of computers through a web browser. You can see and use that computer just as if you were sitting in front of it. While I had previously tried Windows Remote Desktop Connection, my parents' computer never had the proper version of Windows or their IP address kept changing. VNC required a copy of the installed software. LogMeIn being accessible from a web browser is a huge convenience as I can access their computer from anywhere I have a computer and the internet. There's even an iPad app, although it's expensive at $29.99, especially when the web service is free.
It's simple to install LogMeIn onto your computer and then your parents' machine:
- Create an account on logmein.com and click the "Add Computer" button to install the plugin for your computer.
- Visit your parents' house (and you should!), log in with your account and install the plugin onto their computer(s).
Now when you go to logmein.com you can easily connect to your parents' computer and see exactly what they're doing when they tell you there's a Windows popup that they don't understand but can't tell you what they did to get there or what the error message says because they clicked OK without reading it. I also don't mind so much when my parents call with that dreaded, "Son, something's wrong with my computer."