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A proprietary encryption algorithm is employed to make sessions as secure as possible, and it’s possible to manage security centrally, with ReachOut able to authenticate remote users using domain security on NT systems. For Windows 95 and 98, ReachOut provides a User Manager that issues user accounts and passwords for guests. Under NT, ReachOut can use NT’s user manager to set permissions by user or group and allow for maximum password aging, grace logons after password expires and minimum password lengths.

ReachOut boasts many security features. It can require logons; force disconnects after a set time or after a number of bad logon attempts, and requires hosts to call back guests. ItOne option is to configure it to disconnect callers after no activity for a specified time and, after a configurable number of bad logon attempts from all users or one user, it activates an IntruderGuard to deny all logons until the guard resets at the host’s console.

You can now set ReachOut rights for any user group including those you have defined yourself.

The ReachOut Event Viewer installs under WindowsNT as well as under Windows 95/98. The ReachOut log allows some additional information to be included in the events.

It also includes Network Associates’ McAfee VirusScan for protection when transferring files. Windows NT hosts have the options of using either Microsoft’s local security model or ReachOut Enterprise’s. ReachOut supports both Entrust and Entrust/Lite version 3.0, to verify users before allowing them to make remote access connections. Entrust also provides encryption for all communication between hosts and guests. However, this reduces the speed of remote control sessions.


ReachOut is a remote control and file transfer application that can support teleworkers in a number of ways. For example, home users and other teleworkers can use it to access their desktop PCs on the office network, and so run applications remotely, access their email and shared databases, and so on. ReachOut Passport lets users connect to a host over an intranet or the Internet without having the remote-control software installed locally. Instead, a guest can establish a connection via Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator.

A scripting tool automates tasks. This tool is not for novices. ReachOut requires you to create batch files in a separate text editor. Scripting can automate synchronizing files, prompt users, display message boxes, and send keystrokes. ReachOut uses a scripting language similar to DOS batch files. ReachOut’s file-transfer and synchronization utility is easy to use, but there are some bugs.

Although it does not provide for a confirmation box after transfer, it offers a SmartSend feature comparable to LapLink. SmartSend transfers only the differences found between matching files identified in a source and destination folders and updates the files on the target computer. Stac has also added some compelling features for corporate help desks and system administration. If you have Systems Management Server installed on your server and other computers in your network, you can install ReachOut silently on computers without any input from the users.

A new Quick Connect item added to the ReachOut Actions menu prompts you for connection information, but does not create a connection icon. The reason for this is to make a fast connection that you do not need to store in your address book. ReachOut now allows you to specify a set of Hosts as the target for a single connection icon. If a set of computers is ready to receive incoming calls, you can specify the entire set as the target. ReachOut will hunt for any available host from the specified group. You can specify the names as a list or, if they have an appropriate name, or an appropriate IP addresses, use an expression or a range to specify the waiting host computers. ReachOut will start with a random member of the set and continue checking until it finds an available ReachOut computer or has checked all the hosts.

The ReachOut Encryption tool lets you set encryption codes that determine which copies of ReachOut can connect with one another. By default, all copies of ReachOut use the same encryption codes. If you change the encryption codes on one ReachOut computer, only other ReachOut computers with the same encryption codes can connect to it.

The connection icon editor lets you create and edit ReachOut connection icons without running ReachOut itself. This is useful if you want to create icons to distribute with the ReachOut Setup program.

A phone book conversion utility lets you update phone books (or connection icons) from earlier versions of ReachOut to the new connection icon format. You can convert from ReachOut from NT, ReachOut for 95, ReachOut for Windows & DOS.

The ReachOut FTP tools are standard FTP utilities that let you transfer files over the Internet. These programs are not part of a regular ReachOut installation but are included as separate items on the CD-ROM. You can use them to copy files to or from any Internet site, even if ReachOut is not installed at the other end.


ReachOut Enterprise 8.42 costs about $169.

Pricing per seat:

1,000 standard hosts (each) = $28

10 guests (each) = $28

Total $28,280



Symantec?s ?PcAnywhere? version 10

Platforms and protocols supported

Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000

Installation and resources required

pcAnywhere’s installation wizard takes you through an effortless install that provides both guest and host functions in one package. The wizard recognized and utilized all Windows components. We were pleasantly surprised to find a live update utility at the end of the installation that offered to obtain the latest changes to pcAnywhere. The utility found our underlying network connection, accessed pcAnywhere’s FTP site, and refreshed our installation with updated files. However, it did not inform us of changes to our base installation taking up more than 30.8 MB.

Administrators won’t be cringing when it comes time to roll out this product on the network either. pcAnywhere has a custom-configuration utility for network installations. You simply pop in the corporate CD, which gives you a graphical utility to select and manage host and guest options for installations–even silent installations. This utility eliminates the need to master a script file for automatic installations. Both NetOp and ReachOut Enterprise require script files for automatic installations. With pcAnywhere, installing multiple users almost as easy as installing one user.

Windows 2000 Professional

o 133MHz Pentium or higher processor

o 64 MB of RAM

o 30 MB of available hard disk space

o VGA or higher-resolution monitor

o CD-ROM drive

Windows Millennium Edition? and Windows? NT?4/98/95

o Pentium or higher processor150MHz (Pentium or higher processor for ME)

o 32 MB of RAM

o 30 MB of available hard disk space

o VGA or higher-resolution monitor

o CD-ROM drive

Use as Diagnostic Tool

Connect to a remote host PC and its desktop appears in a window on your remote PC. From there, you can launch applications and open files on the host PC just as if you were sitting in front of the computer itself.

One of its best features its crisp, clutter free interface. Its four large toolbar icons let you designate your office PC as the host, so you can connect to it remotely or connect with and control another computer. These icons also let you set access options and (for Windows NT/2000 users only) build installation packages that add PcAnywhere to other systems.

Although the default connection items allow for remote control sessions and add a minimum level of security, pcAnywhere really shines in the array of configuration tasks available from the Tools menu. A user-defined computer name can replace the default Windows computer name. The default video mode can be adjusted, color scale can be set from two to 16,797,216 colors, and cache file size can be manipulated. In addition, one can allow connections to multiple hosts and optimize the desktop for remote control using discreet selections.

You solve user problems directly by remotely controlling their systems. OLE, automation allows VARs to integrate PcAnywhere functionality into custom solutions. Both IT groups and VARs will benefit from the new PcAnywhere Packager utility, which lets you produce customized installation sets to decrease installation size and enforce corporate security and access policies.

One pcAnywhere has is that no longer has the integrated virus checking such as for instance, DOS and Windows 3.1. Therefore, if those operating systems are used, one should use the previous version, 9.2.


Once pcAnywhere installs, a graphical utility an administrator can enforce network policies, distribute, and maintain applications. Note that the host administrator requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later. Windows integration is a good thing, but it should not be a constraint. Symantec should add other browsers to support host administration in the enterprise. You can link host and remote PCs within your organization over whatever connection you wish, including LAN, VPN, and dial-up, through a special code that prevents hackers from using other copies PcAnywhere to gain access.

pcAnywhere also provides a mechanism for hosts to search LDAP directories for connection information. This functionality utilizes a Netscape Directory Server 4.0 or Novell NetWare 5x LDAP modules.


PcAnywhere’s greatest downfall is that it still does not let you password-protect individual folders or files. You can limit access only by drive–an all-or-nothing deal.

Other than this minor glitch, the software gets rave reviews for security performance. It offers more security features than any other remote control application, outdoing itself in previous versions. Mandatory passwords stop unauthorized users from accessing a PcAnywhere host, and authentication options now consist of FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, generic LDAP, ADS, NDS, Novell Bindery, and NT domains. You can use these new authentication options to verify the identity of the remote caller via Windows 2000?s Active Directory, HTTPS, and Novell Directory Services. By doing that, it allows companies the option of choosing what method best suits its network setup. In addition, for additional protection, PcAnywhere creates a log of every file accessed, every application launched, and all of its own activities.


PcAnywhere 10.0 includes an optimization wizard to help you accelerate user sessions. It suggests various ways that performance can be improved, such as reducing the number of colors on the host?s screen or removing active desktops, screen savers, and wallpaper. Surprisingly simple changes such as these can dramatically increase the speed of your remote control sessions.

If fast downloading is of primary importance, this software finds, downloads, and uploads the files rapidly. The Goto, Tag, and directory history features let you quickly navigate directories on both machines. SpeedSend? technology expedites file transfers by only sending the sections that have changed since the last time someone transferred the file. In addition, improved AutoTransfer technology makes it a breeze to transfer and synchronize files automatically.

It’s easier to move multiple files with PcAnywhere’s file-transfer utility than with the Windows Explorer because it provides a history of recently accessed directories in a small, drop-down menu under the toolbar. One click on any of the folders in the list immediately brings up that directory in the file-transfer window so that you can easily move files to another directory from your remote desktop to the remote PC.



Pricing per seat:

1,000 standard hosts (each) = $45

10 guests (each) = $61

Total $45,610



Timbuktu Pro Enterprise 2.1.2

Platforms and protocols supported

Through Netopia’s patented technologies, Timbuktu Pro is the only remote control software that supports inter-connectivity between Windows NT 4.0,Windows 9x,Windows 2000,and Mac OS.

High Speed Communication: Timbuktu Pro 2000 works over Internet, LAN, WAN, dial up, DSL or RAS connections. Incorporating new remote control advancements Timbuktu Pro 2000 is supposed to be faster than ever.

Installation and resources required

Timbuktu has an automated network installation that can be complicated by using scripts to refine installed features. Timbuktu requires:

o 16 MB Ram

o 20 MB hard disk space available for Win 9x

o 50 MB hard disk space available for Win NT/2000

Use as Diagnostic Tool

Computer support personnel who currently must run all over the building to correct problems can sit in one location, and either observe the end-user demonstrating the problem or take control of the end-user’s computer, correcting the problem remotely. You can add or delete missing or extraneous files from other computers without FTP, AppleShare, or File Sharing. Simultaneous multiple networking protocols are supported, so Macs on LocalTalk, NT servers on TCP/IP, and Windows 95 stations on Novell networks can all connect, observe, or control each other.

With Timbuktu Pro 2000, you can now take advantage of new communication features such as voice over IP and a new chat feature, which will allow for high-speed text based communication for those of us without soundcards and speakers on our workstations.


Unlike many of the other RC applications available for Windows only, Timbuktu Pro allows you to control an office PC from your home Mac or PC, and allows you to control a remote NT server as well. Through Netopia’s patented V-wedge and IntelliScreen technology, Timbuktu Pro is the only remote control software that supports inter-connectivity between Windows NT 4.0 & 3.51, Windows 2000, Windows 9x and 3.x, and Mac OS. Timbuktu Pro’s remote control technology is device independent and does not replace video drivers or load TSRs. This results in a higher performing, more stable, and less intrusive remote control solution.


Timbuktu Pro now integrates directly with Windows NT security allowing administrators to leverage the security already deployed within their environment. Timbuktu Pro also provides separate user defined and administrator defined options to virtually guarantee the integrity of the enterprise Intranet.

Timbuktu Pro?s ironclad security provides state-of ?the-art secure screen blanking, password encryption, user level defined privileges, password ageing, event logging, master password protection, and more. The attended access feature prompts users to ask for permission before attempting to control your computer or admission as a temporary guest. Timbuktu Pro 2000 integrates with NT Security lists to help ease password management and administration.

NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 systems can employ secure screen blanking. This feature freezes the screen on the host system with the display of a “Workstation Locked” or “Begin Login” dialog box. No one can look at the screen of your server or workstation while you are away.

In addition, if your dial-up connection to the server is severed, Timbuktu Pro automatically “locks” the NT system to prevent unauthorized access.


With Timbuktu Pro 2000 you can access the hard drive of any remote machine and transfer to or from it. If you cannot find the file, let Timbuktu Pro 2000 find it for you with its file find feature built right into Timbuktu Pro?s exchange.

Webmasters can directly control their Macintosh or NT web server from their office or home computer. Edit web pages on your computer at home or work and use Timbuktu Pro’s file transferring to put the new or edited pages in place. Checking the web server logs from home is simple, and setting up new users and other server maintenance chores can be performed from your home, office, or while you’re on the road at a web conference. People who use desktop AFS and web authoring software on their PCs can extend this functionality to their home computer (i.e., by writing the web pages on the home machine and using Timbuktu Pro’s file transfer software to place the pages on your AFS-based network drive on the office computer.)

Road warriors can connect to their office desktop systems for file retrieval, presentation creation, and working with colleagues on collaborative projects. Checking client/server databases from the road or checking LAN-based or protected e-mail is quick and easy from your laptop. Timbuktu facilitates printing reports on the office laser printer from the road. FlashNotes pop-up messages can get your notes on your colleagues’ screens immediately, when waiting for them to check their e-mail will not do. You can send files to users without tying up the e-mail server at the office.


$ 145.00

Pricing per seat:

1,000 standard hosts (each) = $40

10 guests (each) = $55

Total $40550





Platforms and protocols supported

NetOp scored well in this area. It supports all platforms except Macintosh or Windows Me.

Funk?s ? Proxy software was deficient in the protocols and platforms supported. It would not operate on Macintosh, DOS or OS2 platform.

As with NetOp, Laplink would not work on Macintosh platform but unlike NetOp it did work with Windows Me.

ReachOut does not support OS2 or Macintosh platforms.

PcAnywhere does not support the OS2 or Macintosh platforms.

Timbuktu Pro is the only remote control software that supports inter-connectivity between Windows NT 4.0,Windows 9x,Windows 2000,Windows Me, OS2, and Mac OS.

Installation and resources required

NetOp had one of the highest grades in this area for its capabilities to start operations without rebooting and the ?read me? file that showed all installed files. In addition, you can install NetOp programs on targeted remote computers.

Proxy had best installation.

Laplink is the only product that does not have an automated network installation.

ReachOut conducts an automated network installation and there is a small memory footprint.

PcAnywhere installation is quiet simple. It has an automated network install. The Only problem is that it uses too much memory space.

Timbuktu has a automated network installation that can be complicated by using scripts to refine installed features.

Use as Diagnostic Tool

NetOp?s ?Help Desk? feature, the ability to conduct audio and video chats, scripting utility and the file transfer interface, make NetOp the best in this area.

Proxy seemed to have a good array of diagnostic tools but file transfer was slow and problems in deletion of files caused low score.

Although Laplink is, slow in transferring screen displays and keyboard and mouse controls the software has very useful diagnostic capabilities. One of these is the ability to log all transactions.

ReachOut offers a host of tools to make diagnostic activities easier and more effective. These include: simultaneous chat with remote operator, the zero admin host service, and remote control through a web browser to name a few. If there were not problems with the file transfer capabilities, it would have rated tops in this area.

PcAnywhere really shines in the array of configuration tasks available and OLE, automation allows VARs to integrate PcAnywhere functionality into custom solutions. These factors and others combine to put pcAnywhere in a tie with NetOp for first in this area.

Timbuktu has features similar to NetOp.


By itself, NetOp has very good capabilities for interoperability. However, the ?Gateway? module interacts with NetOp to provide an extremely high level of network interoperability. The only trouble is that it is a different program.

In this category ?Proxy ?did not do well. It has no capabilities for working out of the windows environment. On top of this, the software has no enterprise wide user administration capabilities.

Laplink?s ?Link to Net? and ?Internet Directory? options help the interoperability scores. But the inability to perform NT network integration detracts from the score.

ReachOut does well in this category but we think it fails to completely live up to its name ?Enterprise?. With automated network installation, remote control through web browsers, NT network integration it is still a formidable tool.

Use pcAnywhere in a variety of network and enterprise situations. It integrates well with NT and

Timbuktu does extremely well in this area also. High speed connect ability, and the ability to deal with every type platform makes it the choice for this area.


NetOp has some very good features. The ability to allow guests to have a default set of privileges or users receive individual privileges. Its only major drawback include the inability to centralize security and authentication administration

Security for ?Proxy? seems to be adequate. We saw problems with the host having the capabilities to deny permission for the guest to take over the host.

Laplink?s security is adequate but not as extensive as the NetOp features.

ReachOut has some of the same security features that pcAnywhere has but does not quite match its level of security.

PcAnywhere’s greatest downfall is that it still does not let you password-protect individual folders or files. Even considering this it still outshines the competition in this area.


NetOp has a full array of services that makes it one of the leading competitors in this area. We especially like the guest tool bar and the marker function.

Proxy services are adequate but still do not compare with the other software.

Laplink has a good amount of services but does not compare to NetOp.

ReachOut had an impressive amount of services and came in second in this category.

PcAnywhere?s has a full menu of services. It ties for second place in this area.

Timbuktu has an impressive list of services also, but they seem to be geared to a remote user having access to the home office?s services.


In the area of costs the software packages ranged from $130 to $175 dollars with Laplink being the cheapest. When you take into account the price per seat costs, you get quite a different story.

Table 1 Costs of Software and Licenses

Final Results

Overall, our testing of remote control software revealed a field of well-matched players. The order in which they finished was:

1. NetOp with 62 points

2. ReachOut and Timbuktu tied for 2d place with 60 points each

3. pcAnywhere came in 3d with 60 points

4. Proxy came in 4th with 55 points

5. Laplink brought up the rear with a total of 53 points.

The Problems

When we have the capabilities to monitor the activities of anyone on a network, the first problem that most American people think of is invasion of privacy.


Morris, John. 1998. Remote control software: You can?t get there from here.

PC Magazine, 1 September, 58-70.

Doherty, Sean. 2000. Remote Control Saves Steps. Network Computing

Magazine, 7 February, 35-48

PC Magazine Labs Report. Teleworking ReachOut Enterprise 8.


Reachout Enterprise. User’s Guide Supplement Version 8.42.


Kawamoto, Wayne. New! Software.Stac ReachOut 7 vs. MicrocomCarbon Copy 32.


Table 2 Software Characteristics

Morris, John. 1998. Remote control software: You can?t get there from here.

PC Magazine, 1 September, 58-70.

Doherty, Sean. 2000. Remote Control Saves Steps. Network Computing

Magazine, 7 February, 35-48

PC Magazine Labs Report. Teleworking ReachOut Enterprise 8.


Reachout Enterprise. User’s Guide Supplement Version 8.42.


Kawamoto, Wayne. New! Software.Stac ReachOut 7 vs. MicrocomCarbon Copy 32.


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