Remote control with pcAnywhere
by Alan Zisman (c) 1996. First published in Computer
Player, May 1996
Symantec pcAnywhere-32 for Windows 95 or NT
Santa Monica, Calif.
Do you need the advantages of your business network
when you?re not
actually connected? Maybe you?re at home, but need a data file on the
at work. Or need to run a program off your office computer. Maybe
on the road with your laptop, but want to print using your office
Or maybe you just want to connect your laptop and
and transfer files between them, using the serial or parallel ports. Or
run an application?s Setup program from the desktop?s CD-ROM,
the program onto your laptop?s hard drive.
If you have MS DOS 6, you can use the almost secret
for serial or parallel connections between your two machines, or with
95, you can use the much more capable Direct Cable Connection
a sort of mini-network, limited by the speed of your parallel
and cables. That won?t help when your two computers aren?t in the same
Win 95 users could always purchase the Microsoft Plus!
try that utility?s Dial-up-Server.
For all this and more, however, a better choice could
pcAnywhere-32. It offers all the features of Windows 95?s Direct Cable
Connection and Dial-up-Server, and more, and allows connections between
computers running Windows 3.x, Win 95, Win NT, and even plain old DOS.
pcAnywhere-32 even includes a parallel cable, for
connecting a pair
of computers ? parallel connections are typically several times faster
than serial port connections, but you can?t just use a spare printer
for this. (For even faster results, Symantec recommends a special
cable from Parallel Technologies, and includes a coupon for its
(Still a pricy $69 US)... with this cable, and fast, enhanced parallel
ports on both machines, direct connections can approach network speed).
Some of the features of this program include remote
connection and remote
node?your off-site machine can connect and log onto the office network
just as if it was a (slow) on-site workstation, accessing network
data, and printers. Even without a network, you can setup your
home or office machine to allow remote connections. You can
files between the two machines, keep directory contents and individual
data files in synch, and even use the included Norton AntiVirus module
to check for viruses, automatically, during file transfers.
It can also be used for standard modem connections to
including a range of standard file-transfer protocols. A built-in
language makes it possible to automate frequently-repeated sessions,
you can also record a session?useful for training or problem-solving.
If you need to update a data file or folder, you can
choose to only
download changes?potentially saving a considerable amount of time. As a
fully 32-bit program, it can run happily in the background, allowing
to carry out other tasks while carrying out sometimes tedious file
A wide range of network protocols is
TCP/IP. NetBios, and WinSock remote Internet connections. Because it
Windows 95 TAPI telephony standards, your modem is automatically
As a 32-bit program, it can be installed onto computers running either
Windows 95 or NT, and can be used to connect to computers running those
operating systems, as well as DOS alone or with earlier versions of
A single package can be used to connect two computers.
When viewing a remote computer?s screen, pcAnywhere
tries to optimize
transmission time by reducing the number of colours sent. It is
fast and efficient at sending files back and forth, and can be set to
transmit the differences between files residing on both machines.
Password security can be set, to minimize unwanted
intrusions onto a
machine set up for remote access, as well as limiting the drives that
be accessed. You cannot set access controls on individual directories,
however. A log of accesses can be kept, showing who has connected to
computer, along with what files were accessed.
The printed documentation is full of step-by-step
examples, along with
separate documentation for the scripting language. There?s online help
for the main program and the scripting language, along with reasonably
useful wizards, and ?How Do I...? tips, making the printed
unnecessary for many users. A full installation requires 16
a bit much for some users with limited drive space on a laptop. As with
all well-designed Windows 95 products, an Uninstall option is added to
Users with limited needs (and limited hard drive
space) will find this
product overkill?especially if they only need to connect to other Win95
machines, they may be able to make do with that operating system?s
Direct Cable Connection, or with the Dial-Up-Server added in the
(about $60) Plus Pack.
Frequent users of either parallel/serial connections or remote access,
however, will find this a powerful alternative.