IDrive RemotePC review

Simple, secure and effective cloud-hosted remote support at an unbeatably low price

IT Pro Recommended
  • Great price; Excellent security options; Unbelievable value
  • Not quite as fully-featured as some rivals

IDrive has been our cloud backup provider of choice for many years, as it's been ultra-reliable and excellent value. The company recently moved into remote support and its RemotePC is designed to be a simple cloud-based service that requires virtually no training to use and has the same sharp focus on low cost.

IDrive is currently running a promotion with a 90% reduction on the first year subscription so the SOHO package for 10 computers that we're reviewing costs less than a fiver. After the first year, it goes up to 49 per year which is still a mere bagatelle.

Along with remote control access to Windows, Mac and Android devices, RemotePC offers chat facilities, file transfer, remote printing, session recording and collaborative sessions. Also included in the price are apps for iOS and Android mobiles allowing IT staff to provide remote support on the road.

Deployment is simple; each computer downloads and installs the 31MB RemotePC app and logs it into the main account. We loaded it on our Windows 10 desktops and MacBooks running macOS High Sierra and then decided what level of access we wanted for each one.

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The app runs as a service and you can set a computer to be always available by entering a personal key which must be supplied to the remote guest for them gain access. Some businesses may not want their computers always available for unattended access and those that prefer tighter security can use the one-time access method.

On the computer that wishes to grant remote access, select the 'Provide One-Time Access' option in the app and make a note of the unique ID and key generated. At the guest system, select 'Connect using One-Time ID' and simply enter these details to create a connection.

The remote session window opens with a view of the host's desktop and presents a menu bar at the top for accessing various support tools. File transfer opens a new window which displays local and remote drives allowing files and folders to be copied in either direction via drag and drop.

Chat opens another window where participants can have text-based conversations while 'Sticky Notes' allows you to make notes and save them to the host computer for later reference. You can blank the host's screen, lock it to bring up the login screen and take screenshots on demand.

Choose 'Record Now' and the ensuing action on the host will be saved as an AVI file on the guest computer -- perhaps for use in future training sessions. Support staff lucky enough to have dual monitors can also choose which one they want the remote session to be displayed on.

General security is tight as all communications are TLS v1.2/AES-256 encrypted and without knowing the user's personal key, no-one can access a computer with RemotePC loaded. The app can be disabled from its System Tray pop-up menu, always-on access can be denied instantly from the client app and host users can close a remote session at any time they want.

RemotePC provides a simple web portal which displays all logged in computers, their status, when their last remote session was and which IP address it originated from. You can't start a remote session from the portal but any that are active can be disconnected from here, and you can view session and web activity logs for selected time periods.

We also tested the iOS RemotePC app on our iPad, which only displays clients that are always available. After tapping on a client, we entered its personal key and could remotely control it, load a virtual keyboard and use either mouse or touch interaction.

RemotePC is a great choice for small businesses that want a cloud-hosted remote support solution that's exceedingly easy to use. It may not have the bells and whistles of some competing products but at this unbelievably low price, you won't hear us complaining.

Verdict

RemotePC is a great choice for small businesses that want a cloud-hosted remote support solution that’s exceedingly easy to use. It may not have the bells and whistles of some competing products but at this unbelievably low price, you won’t hear us complaining.

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