GoToMyPC was one of the first applications to provide remote desktop access technology on Windows computers when it was launched in 1998. The original authors where a business called ExpertCity, that is now owned by Citrix Systems.
The developers of this solution are LogMeIn after a recent merger. A business that also has a branded remote access product that competes with this tool, interestingly.
So does being in this game for such a long time give GoToMyPC advantages in the remote access sector?
- Want to try GoToMyPC? Check out the website here
Most remote access tools require software at both ends, and GoToMyPC works in the same way.
After you install the remote system with a software app and link it the to a web portal, and then you can install the ‘Opener’ on the system you intend to work.
With all those hoops jumped through, the remote system can be controlled as long as you have the account details and the unique system password created during the install.
The functionality isn’t anything remarkable, but it is a dramatic improvement over Windows Remote Desktop.
One especially useful feature is that files can be symbolically dragged from a remote system to the controlling computer and vice versa. We liked this feature, but it won’t work if the remote system is an Apple Mac, regrettably.
For those needing to move many files and folders, a transfer tool can be activated that can move and sync larger file collection.
And, for those connecting regularly, remote systems can be saved as shortcuts on the desktop for rapid access.
A rudimentary chat window is also available, allowing interaction with someone sitting at the remote system. Unfortunately, GoToMyPC didn’t include a means to talk via an audio channel using VoIP.
When the two systems are linked, they share a common clipboard, allowing commands, URLs or whatever to be copy/pasted into action the remote system.
By default, the keyboard and mouse remain functional on the remote system, although you can choose to lock those, and even blank the screen while you are connected.
The interface is very simple, as what you mostly do is use the remote system through a window. The default is for the session to be displayed in a 1:1 ratio, but it can be scaled if you want to see more remote desktop.
On each remote session is a typical Windows application menu, where you can find preferences, printer options and initiate some of the sub-functions. These include the chat tool and file transfer apps.
Each session has a brightly coloured border, and you can change this for each remote system, so it is easier to identify which system you are interacting with.
The web portal has a very lean web interface that resembles the sort of thing you might find on a router. It has been hardcoded to work at 800 x 600 resolution, making it appear very small on a system that uses a screen mode greater than 1080p.
Here you can find all the registered systems on the account, and also billing and access to the help system.
There isn’t much more to say about the interface, other than it successfully avoids getting in the way of actual use.
As remote control applications go, GoToMyPC is more security minded than many.
Each remote system must have a unique password, used with each access. Or, you can create a printed list of One-Time Passwords that will provide entry, but only once.
Those users wanting to know more about One-Time Passwords will find a link in the preferences offering to explain them, but it takes you to a page on the LogMeIn website that no longer exists.
This broken link wasn’t the only example of this disconnect between the app and web services, as the entire help system seems broken. As all the links point to support.gotomypc.com, but the pages are now located at support.logmeininc.com, until those developing this solution make the obvious adjustments. Oddly, the web portal has the correct links that work.
While demanding two passwords for each access might seem demanding, but you can use a two-factor authentication option, via SMS messaging.
Connections are automatically disconnected after 15 minutes of inactivity, but you can extend this to 9999 minutes if you find you need more away time.
The host computer can be locked on connection and disconnection, but this isn’t the default and must be configured via the preferences.
What can be an issue is that should a remote PC be shut down, either because of an automated update or by accident, then it can’t be woken up remotely unless you have purchased the Corporate plan which has the WOL (Wake-On-LAN) capability.
Pricing for GoToMyPC is very simple. There are only three plans; Personal, Pro and Corporate.
Personal is for a single user and computer and costs an eye-watering $35 per month per computer, and that’s a 20% reduction on the previous pricing.
The Pro plan is meant for between 2 and 50 users, and for $66 a month you can use it on two computers. With this version, you get user admin and more sophisticated reporting.
And, Corporate has quote based costs that start at £140 per month and offers Wake-On-LAN, multiple Administrators and a dedicated account manager at GoToMyPC.
However you look at these numbers they’re high, and that you don’t get some of the standard features provided by lower-tier plans on other products unless you have a corporate account is especially annoying.
Also, some customers have also taken to various review platforms to complain about how difficult GoToMyPC makes it for customers to cancel. And, paying a year in advance is a mistake if you decide to cancel part way through, as it won’t refund any of that money.
Much of this aggressive stance and significant price hikes have accompanied the merger with LogMeIn, some have noted.
What can’t be as easily criticised is the basic functionality and ease of use. The interface is straightforward and logical, and the feature set includes a few things, like multi-monitor support that aren’t commonly provided.
It is also missing some commonly provided features, like voice communication.
Even with this missing, most IT staff should find it does what they need, most of the time, as long as they don’t need more sophisticated interactions with the remote user.
Where it will struggle is in an environment that uses a mix of Windows, Apple Mac and Linux. Because while it does support Mac OS X, that software hasn’t all the features of the Windows app. And, it doesn’t support Linux at all.
That last limitation excludes GoToMyPC from being useful to many larger businesses that use a mixed environment where server technology is often likely to be Linux or Virtual platforms.
This solution is good at what it does, but it operates within a narrow corridor of usage, and those behind it appear reticent to explore wider markets.
With other solutions offering event wider feature sets on all platforms, pushing the cost of this solution up is a remarkably aggressive stance for GoToMyPC to take.
Only a couple of years ago, these costs were substantially lower, and 400% increases on some plans recently are likely to convince people to look elsewhere quickly.
- We've also highlighted the best remote desktop software