microsoft windows includes the remote desktop software, but configuring your network to use it is a beast for the newbie. remote desktop itself is easy to configure, but you must configure your router and secure your network before activating it. in addition to configuration hassles, remote desktop (rdp) is a security risk when not configured properly. thatís where logmein can help. this software is a mix between security and convenience for the newbie.

how logmein works
logmein is client-based software combined with a web browser login and user interface. you download the software from logmein.com, and install it on your computer. the software runs in the background and starts up every time you reboot. a password is included, so donít worry about just anyone accessing the machine. only you can use the software remotely, provided you donít share the password with anyone.

next, you create a logmein account. logmein has a free version, which is sufficient for home users. enterprise accounts are available at a cost, and they have a few extras for corporate users. the focus here will be personal accounts and home users.

with the software installed and the website account set up, logmein keeps track of the online status of your computer. log in to the website using your username and password, and click the computer name listed on your account. a browser window opens, and you have complete control of your desktop. you control the mouse and keyboard as if you are sitting in front of the computer.

thatís all it takes. logmein runs on port 80, which is the standard http port. this means that no port-forwarding configurations are needed on the router, and most firewall software will not automatically block the software. some exceptions to the rules apply, and in those cases, you will need to configure firewall software to allow logmein access.

the logmein pros and cons
the obvious pros for logmein are the convenience and ease during setup. rdp is complicated for people new to the process, and logmein takes away most of those hassles. logmein also lets you control your computer from a web browser, so you donít need to install any special software on a secondary machine. additionally, if someone tries to access your account online, logmein sends you a warning email, so you are aware of hack attempts.

the disadvantages of logmein are the platform used to access the computer, and the software running in the background. because you must log in online, users are susceptible to phishing attempts and password sniffing. if the hacker gets your password, he can then control your computer at home without you knowing about it.

secondly, the software loads when you start the computer, and it connects to the internet in the process. these actions slow boot-time and overall performance while playing games or browsing the internet.

finally, logmein is slower than rdp. the interface lags a bit while controlling the pc relative to rdpís speed. the lag can be frustrating.

overall, logmein is a great remote control tool. itís safe, convenient, and easy-to-use for the newbie. if you donít like it, uninstall the software and thatís all it takes to disable access.