Vol. 19, #4 - January 27, 2014 - Issue #964
Remote Login to Desktop PCs
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- Remote Login to Desktop PCs
- Tip of the Week: Fixes for Windows 8.1 Annoyances
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Asia Pacific
- Webcast Calendar
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Syncing SkyDrive Pro with Office 365
- Cloud Computing
- Enterprise IT
- Sharepoint, Exchange, and Office
- System Center
- Windows Client
- Windows Server News
- Is our data center staffing model squeezing out system administrators?
- What to expect from Desktop as a Service providers
- Five ways to push your company toward a 100% virtual data center
- Schedule a software update rather than race automatic rapid deployment
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Solve the problem. Be a hero. Try FactFinder Express.
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about software that allows you to log on remotely to your desktop PC from any other PC anywhere in the universe. Well, maybe not from anywhere in the *whole* universe, just from our tiny corner of it. Yes I know such things can be a little confusing, even Ratbert could get confused sometimes as this classic Dilbert comic strip illustrates:
From the Mailbag
Last week in Issue #963, Are Hybrid Solutions Best? we discussed some of the pros and cons for different businesses of implementing hybrid solutions that combine on-premises computing with cloud-based services. That topic generated some really good feedback from our readers. Here's a short sampling:
Andrew, a reader who provides technology consulting services for the SMB market, said:
With regards to Hybrid Cloud, it is likely to be a major way that cloud is deployed over the next decade, but (as with almost everything) it is not the right solution for everyone.
In most cases, larger organizations will derive more benefit from private and hybrid cloud than will small organizations. Smaller organizations that embrace the cloud will be better off with public cloud in most instances, because they already lack sufficient IT resources on staff.
[You had said] "it's become harder for smaller businesses to build their own on-premises IT solution without also footing the cost of hiring at least one well-qualified tech person to deploy, manage and maintain it." This was still true, even with SBS, unless an organization was performing only the most basic functions. At the end of the day, I know of quite a few consultants who provide support for organizations and their SBS installations, in addition to the support I have provided for SBS over the years, so it's not quite so easy that businesses don't need to have access to technical expertise.
For the most part, Microsoft is simply following the ongoing cloud trend. They're not inventing the push, but they are trying to capitalize on it – especially with smaller organizations that are most likely to buy into a subscription model and stay there.
Most smaller organizations are going to have a hard time tying whatever few on-premises systems they have into the cloud in order to provide a seamless hybrid cloud computing experience. Smaller organizations that embrace the cloud are usually doing so for cost reasons (real or perceived), and will not welcome adding a senior integration type to manage a mixed environment.
Mid-sized firms (300+ users), in vibrant industries, are likely to be the ones that look at hybrid cloud to maintain more control of their technology assets, using the cloud to augment, rather than anchor, their services to employees and/or customers. Large organizations will run a mix of private and hybrid clouds, depending on business drivers.
Of course, some industries will be more predisposed to one cloud methodology (or none, for that matter) over another, but if we limit the discussion primarily to one of business size, then smaller players who embrace the cloud will be more inclined to go public cloud, and mid-sized organizations will be more inclined to go hybrid.
I think you nailed it when you said that Microsoft didn't invent the push towards the cloud and are simply trying to capitalize on it--as are numerous other vendors and services providers, both large and small. IMO the cloud is the natural evolution of IT in an age of (almost) ubiquitous high-speed Internet access. Where things evolve in a beyond-the-cloud future however is anyone's guess.
Another reader named Welmoed from the Netherlands said:
Ever since Cloud became a hype I have been very cautious about that. And with reason. If a company has many employees "on the road", that company may benefit from using cloud services. There however always is a flipside of that coin:
- security issues
- outage of cloud services
- corruption or manipultion of data
Putting all your data in the cloud is a big gamble for all companies, but significantly more risky to small companies. Internet is not always available, as are cloud servers. Power outage can break your connections with both internet and cloud servers. A UPS ony protects local servers and workstations (for as long as the UPS can support these functions).
A recent power outage broke my phone and internet connections, but the UPS allowed working on and shutting down systems without loss of information. That's something a cloud server never can do.
Small companies (there are more of those than there are large and middle size companies) best put there money in local systems and a server. In the long run the money invested will protect the company data more securily than whatever internet/cloud system can do. This is even more true if the company has no employees outside the office! The only extra precautions those companies have to take are making regular backups of their workstations and server drives. The first can be done using imaging software each time changes are made to the OS drive (patch Tuesday updates, program updates). The latter can be achieved using a good tapestreamer (don't laugh, I'm using one for over 10 years now and it saved my server many a time) and good backup software with disaster recovery option.
Over a ten years period the costs of cloud services will be about the same as buying a good performing server and backup material. My two (euro)cents. Regards, and keep up the good work.
On the other hand, there are solutions like the Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan. This includes both the online version of Office and the full Office software which you can install on up to five on-premises devices so you'll have your productivity applications even when your Internet connectivity goes down. In addition, your documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other Office files stored in SkyDrive are always synced and up to date on your on-premises devices, so you can continue working on them even when you lose your connection to the Internet. See here for more info on the Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan:
So broken Internet connectivity doesn't necessarily translate into interrupted work for businesses that use cloud services. See the Tech Briefing section of this issue for links on how you can set up SykDrive Pro syncing for Office 365.
And now on to this week's topic...
Remote Login to Desktop PCs
"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" -- Captain Renault as played by Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca
Lots of users were shocked this week too when LogMeIn abruptly discontinued its free remote access product LogMeIn Free. You can read their company announcement here:
Being able to remotely access your PC over the Internet is one of those things you are relieved you can do in an emergency situation when you absolutely need that report or presentation you forgot to bring to work. There are a number of programs out there you can use to do this, but LogMeIn Free was one of the more popular ones for two reasons: it works great, and it's free.
Unfortunately, the second reason no longer applies, so the question arises, What PC remote access programs are out there that "work great" and are either low-cost or free? I talked with a few colleagues, and here are five that they recommended, listed in no particular order:
Provides fast and easy remote access to your PC or Mac via a web browser or from desktop and mobile devices. Yearly subscription fee:
Also check out other LogMeIn products:
Lets you remote control any PC or Mac over the Internet and do online meetings. Free for private use, available for businesses to purchase at different pricing levels:
2X Client for RDP/Remote Desktop
Provides secure remote desktop and application access for any web-enabled device, including Android and iOS devices.
Download it for free from here:
Lets you share a remote desktop or control a server over the Internet. Free for personal use, one-time purchase for lifetime license for businesses:
Chrome Remote Desktop
A free extension that lets you remotely control a Mac or PC computer from Google's Chrome web browser running on any supported platform:
You can get Chrome Remote Desktop from the Chrome Web Store:
Here's some more info on how to set it up:
Note that by default Chrome Remote Desktop allows anyone who is physically near the computer that you are remotely logged into to see on the monitor what you're doing on the computer (if the monitor is turned on). However, you can edit the registry to enable Curtain Mode for more privacy as this discussion thread explains:
Are you using a different product for remotely accessing your desktop PC over the Internet? Let us know what you use and what you think of it by emailing me at [email protected]
Tip of the Week: Fixes for Windows 8.1 Annoyances
If you've started deploying Windows 8.1 in your environment, you might want to check this post out from TechRadar:
15 Windows 8.1 annoyances fixed
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Here are some new books on information security you might want to check out:
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Cert Guide
CISSP Training Kit
Introduction to Public Key Technology and the Federal PKI Infrastructure
Cloud Storage Forensics
Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux
Microsoft Virtual Academy
New On-demand Windows Server 2012 R2 Courses from MVA
Introducing two new on-demand courses from MVA: Learn about new virtualization capabilities and innovations in Windows Server 2012 R2.
Get an understanding of the end-to-end process for implementing desktop virtualization using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.
Quote of the Week
Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick: That's so long ago, I don't remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.
--From the movie Casablanca
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Server performance problems? Find out why with FactFinder Express. See whether the issue is a slow app, slow SQL requests, or a CPU/Memory/Disk bottleneck. 30 day free trial.
Monitor and report on Remote Desktop & XenApp sessions on your network. Audit teleworkers, licensing/app use, performance, & more. Perfect for corporate networks, MSP/Cloud Providers, & SaaS vendors.
Windows Server 2012 introduced many changes to the way we think about OSes, storage, Hyper-V, networking and clouds. R2 preview continues on that path. Download this ebook to learn about the new features of Windows Server 2012 R2 preview.
Quest Free Network Tools (QFNT) includes 16 individual feature sets providing dozens of network troubleshooting capabilities:
Project Conference, 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California
Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada
SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada
TechEd North America on May 12-15, 2014 in Houston, Texas
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
TechEd New Zealand on September 9-12, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand
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We'll start off this week with some links to where you can find more info about setting up SkyDrive Pro to sync to your Office 365 subscription:
Syncing SkyDrive Pro with Office 365
What is SkyDrive Pro? (Microsoft)
Office 365 Tip: Set Up SkyDrive Pro on Your PC (WinSuperSite)
How to use SkyDrive Pro to sync document libraries for local/offline use (Office 365 Community Blog)
Office 365: How to sync with local file system? (SlideShare)
Skydrive Pro: Make your documents available offline (Office 365 Tip of the day)
VIDEO - Work on documents stored in the cloud, even when you're offline (Office Blogs)
Now let's see what else is worth reading in the IT universe...
Verizon cloud will let you buy your Oracle by the hour (GigaOM)
2014 Forecast for Cloud Computing (ComputerWorld)
Dell announced support for System Center 2012 R2 with their Management Packs (Flo's Datacenter Report)
Hypervisor 201: The 2014 Market Update (Data Center Knowledge)
Product Review - ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer (WindowsSecurity.com)
Secure File Transfer with Microsoft FTP over SSL and Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 (ISAServer.org)
SharePoint, Exchange and Office
Product Review: DirectRestore for Exchange (MSExchange.org)
Step-By-Step: Migrating from Exchange 2007 to Office 365 (CanITPro)
Windows Azure Pack Remote Console with the RD gateway in a DMZ (Hyper-V.nu)
New Tool to Scan System Center 2012 R2 for Problems (WindowsITPro)
Enable Kiosk Mode in Windows 8.1 (InfraTalks)
Top 4 Windows 8.1 Useful Hotkeys and Hidden Features (CanITPro)
Is our data center staffing model squeezing out system administrators?
With the expansion of virtualization and automation tools, the conventional data center staffing model is changing. How is the modernized data center impacting IT employment? Find out today.
What to expect from Desktop as a Service providers
Before you consider hosting your virtual desktops in the cloud, be sure you know what management and support options your Desktop as a Service vendor can – and should – provide. Learn how to effectively evaluate DaaS offerings prior to subscribing.
Five ways to push your company toward a 100% virtual data center
Right now roughly 51% of x86 servers are virtualized, but achieving 100 % virtualization is possible – and our experts will show you how. Review 5 techniques to help guide you as you maximize your virtualization potential – even for the most business-critical systems.
Schedule a software update rather than race automatic rapid deployment
No admin wants to deal with the hassle of updating software every few weeks, or even every few months – and handing over the reins to the end user is not likely worth the risk. So, how are IT professionals dealing with rapid deployment of software updates in the enterprise? Read on to find out.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
These amazing pool trick shots are only possible if you are a master of concentration, physics, geometry, and magic.
British sports commentator Anthony Richardson is back to announce this year's Superbowl Semi Finals between Alabama and Notre Dame.
Adventurous cat 'Didga' rides on her skateboard through the streets of Coolangatta, jumping on, off, up and even over obstacles - including a Rottweiler dog.
YouTube user melkiy582 captured a rare and stunning atmospheric phenomenon known as sun dog - created by ice crystals suspended in the Earth's atmosphere.
A caracara falcon is intrigued by the egg-cam, flies off with it and captures the first ever aerial footage of a rockhopper penguin colony shot by a flying bird.
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com