Ammyy Admin is a free remote computer access tool that offers quick, easy, and reliable connections with nothing to install, no accounts to sign up for, and no technical configuration or messing with IP addresses and routers. It offers file transfers and desktop sharing, and can be used to connect with unattended machines.
I’ve written about remote access/desktop and file sharing programs similar to this in the past, but this one has the distinction of being the simplest and lowest-involvement in terms of the steps required before getting connected.Have you ever been on the phone (or IM) with someone and wished that you could see their screen and/or access their computer or that they could see yours? I recently was helping a friend set up a Google Adwords campaign for his business and needed him to see what I was doing on my screen; however, I wanted something quick that would not require us to waste a lot of time registering accounts, installing software, and then spending more time trying to configure it on both ends. Ammyy Admin would have been perfect for such a situation.
More notes on this program as follows:
- Ease of connecting: both users need to run Ammyy Admin, a 128K no-install
executable. The program will display ID numbers for each machine. To access the other PC you will need the ID number provided on the other side; it’s literally as easy as pressing a button (on both ends). There are no accounts to register, no messing with IP addresses, no ports or routers to configure. The ID seems to be fixed per machine rather than per session, which means that, for example, your PC at home will always have the same ID and can always be accessed at will.
- Services: screen sharing, remote access of windows and applications, and if file system access is enabled, file sharing as well. For file sharing the person who is accessing the other machine can copy files back and forth straight to the hard drive of the PC being accessed.
- Performance: was actually quite good in that it got the job done competently, although other solutions I’ve written about (e.g. GBridge, Remobo) seem to offer faster performance overall.
- How it works: Ammyy Admin accesses public routers, but offers you the option to use private routers if you prefer. For the latter you will need to download and use Ammyy Admin’s sister product called Ammyy Router. Unlike some similar programs Ammyy Admin is not browser based.
- Permissions: the program will ask for permissions on first connection or otherwise it is possible to pre-assign certain sets of permissions for each connecting computer ID.
- Note on wallpaper images: desktop backgrounds are disabled on remotely accessed desktops by default to enhance performance. If you must have them though (as the case for my screenshot above) they can be enabled in the settings.
- “No Install” revisited: note that Ammyy Admin does write data to in “All UsersApplication DataAMMYY'”, which somewhat belies it’s no-install status.
Wish list (or how this program can be even better)
- Saving the settings and other files in the same folder where “Ammyy Admin.exe” resides, rather than in “All UsersApplication Data”. This would make this app much more transparent to work with and less likely to leave files behind (even if these files are benign and insignificantly small).
The verdict: this product is perfect for quick screen shares on an ad-hoc or spur of the moment basis, with a very minimal level of commitment and time spent on getting the connection to happen.
If you are going to be doing a lot of remote accessing and/or need more services (e.g. synchronization, media streaming, running 3rd party applications, etc.) then you might want to look at a more advanced product (e.g. Mikogo, gBridge, Remobo, TeamViewer, and Crossloop to name a few). Of these Mikogo comes close to the ease of use that Ammyy Admin provides but requires an extra step initially to create an account.
Having said that I am certain that Ammyy Admin will be a breath of fresh air for many people who would like to do remote PC access at the press of a button but have been prevented from doing so by all the steps that are typically required by remote access clients. If this describes you then by all means try this program you will like it.
Version Tested: 2.5
Compatibility: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista.
Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 128K).