My organization uses Symantec's pcAnywhere as a support tool. As our dedication to remote support and administration technologies has grown, we have encountered some connection-management problems with pcAnywhere. We have several technicians who use pcAnywhere to access a large number of clients, typically over TCP/IP. (This technique doesn't work with pcAnywhere modem connections.) Over time, multiple pcAnywhere users build up numerous redundant or inaccurate .chf files. (.chf files are the files pcAnywhere creates for new remote control items.) We have found two tricks for simplifying and speeding up connecting to hosts.

First, we centralize and share connection files. When you create a .chf file, pcAnywhere stores the file in a central directory, such as C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\data for default installations. We simply copy group-usable .chf files to a shared directory. Because pcAnywhere automatically associates the .chf connection with the pcAnywhere client, users can just navigate to the desired connection and double-click it to launch.

Second, we use batch files for on-the-fly pcAnywhere connections. When you use the pcAnywhere GUI, you always need a new .chf file to take over a new host. However, you can use command-line options to bypass this process. Create a new remote control item and call it template. Specify that the item will use TCP/IP, and enter a legal IP address (e.g., 127.0.0.1). Next, create a one-line batch file such as the following.

Start "C:\Program Files\SymantecpcAnywhere\AWREM32.EXE" "C:\Program
Files\SymantecpcAnywhere\data\template.CHF" /C%1

Using the Start command in the batch file frees up your command window. The next part of the batch file is the pcAnywhere remote control executable's location. If the path contains spaces, you must put quotation marks around the path. Next is the full path to the template you created. Again, use quotation marks if the path contains spaces. Finally, /C%1 tells pcAnywhere to substitute the IP address you supplied as an argument for the batch file for the IP address in the template file.

Put the batch file you created into your path. When you need to connect to a random pcAnywhere host, instead of going through the connection-creation process, you can simply go to a command prompt and enter

pca