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By Olivia Cross

As anyone with any computer experience knows, that knowledge can make you the go-to guy or gal for every family member and friend you know when it comes to troubleshooting their computer problems. In many instances, you can find yourself repeatedly assisting the same people. That assistance often needs to be provided at their homes, which means you have to drive to their houses every time they have problems. Remote PC assistance software can eliminate that travel.

Naturally, you may not need any software if the only time anyone ever asks for help is when you happen to be in the vicinity of the problem computer. Still, when you're being called to help friends and family on a regular basis, chances are that you'd benefit from being able to remotely access their system without ever leaving your own house. Before obtaining software to make that possible, however, you need to understand the key features involved.

The first thing to consider is price. Now, there are some fine paid options out there, and some of them have a variety of additional features that are perfect for professional technicians who earn their living troubleshooting problems. For casual troubleshooters, however, free is always best. There are a variety of these free options out there, including the built-in Windows software.

You also want something that is easy to install. The last thing you need is to have to travel to help a friend install a program for remotely accessing his or her system at the very moment when they need you troubleshooting some other problem. Simple installations are available, so those concerns are easily addressed. And, for those family members who are truly clueless about computers, you can always install it for them well in advance of their next troubleshooting need.

Cross-platform capability can be a boon as well. While Windows systems remain the standard for business and most personal use, there are many people using systems operating on Mac or Linux platforms. There are a number of software programs out there that can enable access between two computers using different operating systems.

Another feature is the ability to set up permanent access options. If you have a family member in need of help with basic maintenance and other critical needs, permanent access can be tremendously helpful for running virus checks, updates, and other tasks. This option is often only used with the most inexperienced computer users.

Temporary portals with strong security measures are usually preferable though. Many casual computer users have some serious reservations about security, imagining that any outside access could pose a threat to their system. They see it as a potential security breach, and thus prefer temporary access so that they can see what is being done. Obviously, you want to help them feel that their systems are safe and secure.

Now, you may be one of those people who loves being summoned to friends' houses at all hours to deal with seemingly simple computer issues. Chances are, though, that these summons are more than a little bit annoying. The good news is that you can avoid them by remotely accessing those computers using this type of software.

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