Citrix GoToMyPC is a service that allows a user to control one computer from another computer. This software, designed as a competitor to Symantec pcAnywhere, was created in 1997. Today, GoToMyPC is one of the best options for remote control.
GoToMyPC is the bestselling software in technical support circles, but for consumer use is far behind. This is likely because it is uses a subscription model with software-as-a-service, and is browser based. This offers a number of positives and a few negative aspects which we will cover in this review.
What are the outstanding features of Citrix GoToMyPC and what are the weaknesses? What features are missing?
- Browser based model for remote control
This is the reason that most people choose to use GoToMyPC. GoToMyPC is the only remote control service that uses a browser model. This means that any operating system that has java is able to control various computers. Furthermore, this means that no software is needed to be installed on the computer. Rather, control is established by logging into an account on the Citrix website and choosing from a list of computers that are available. This makes it extremely easy to add another computer, especially in the case of technical support.
All that a client needs to do is install a thin client on his or her computer and then plug in a code that attaches this computer to the account. In this fashion, a company can control any number of computers, though this does increase the price of the overall service package.
- 128-bit encryption
Given that it is browser-based, GoToMyPC is able to use standard SSL encryption, at 128-bit. While this is very good encryption, it is definitely not up to the standards of many other remote control software utilities. The industry leader, Symantec pcAnywhere, uses 256-bit encryption, and some enterprise software has 512-bit. However, in most cases, 128-bit encryption is adequate.
- File transfer between computers
This is one of the best features of GoToMyPC. This software is able to integrate all of the computers that are being simultaneously controlled wonderfully. The controller can drag-and-drop files between any of the computers, including all of the hosts and clients. If one wishes, he or she can also enable mutual copy-paste, so that what is copied on any computer can be pasted to any of the other computers connected by the network.
- Compression to reduce bandwidth consumption
GoToMyPC uses a proprietary compression algorithm that is able to decrease the bandwidth used. This form of software typically uses a huge amount of bandwidth and the compression algorithm is able to decrease that. It is a solid algorithm, and does reduce data by a decent amount while it does not require a huge amount of processing power. This is good for when you are supporting an older-model computer.
- Performance and graphics tradeoff
This is one feature that no other similar software offers. GoToMyPC has an interface that allows one to choose the level of graphics and performance that are exchanged between the computers. This can speed up the responsiveness of the host computer as well as reduce the amount of bandwidth required. This is an immensely powerful tool.
- Ability to listen to sound on host computer
This feature can be turned on and off to improve performance and decrease bandwidth required.
- Share control with multiple users
This tool is very powerful. One is able to have people log into a single account from multiple locations. If this is done, multiple people can connect with the same host computer, and control it simultaneously. This can allow for collaboration on a single computer and problem.
- Draw Tool
Perhaps the best tool for a technical support expert, the draw tool allows one to “draw” on the host’s desktop. For example, a technical support expert could circle an icon that the computer owner could not find, or give step-by-step directions on how to do something on-screen.
Where can I buy this software and how much does this cost?
Gotomypc is available solely from Citrix and the website gotomypc.com. The cost of the software is perhaps the biggest hurdle most people have with it.
While it is feature packed with automatic updates, as it is software as a service, this also means that it has to be a subscription service and that one cannot make a one-time payment. The product costs $15 per month for the basic pack, or $19 per month for the corporate version. The corporate version includes extra features and the ability to use the thin client, to quickly control any computer.
Are there any free trials or discounts available?
There is a 30-day trial available. Citrix occasionally offers discounts on the software, but only for a few months at a time. There are never discounts for the life of the account available.