Control remote computers without leaving your desk

NetOp 5.4 for Windows, a remote control utility for Windows-based systems from CrossTec, can run on LANs and WANs. NetOp lets you control hosts remotely using IPX, TCP/IP, NetBIOS, direct cable connections, and serial modem links. The software consists of two components: Host and Guest. The Host component waits for connection requests and lets remote users access your system. The Guest component establishes a connection to the Host.

Installation and Use
To test NetOp, I installed the software on two home-built dual Pentium systems (a Micronics-based NT server and an American Megatrends MegaRUM NT workstation) and a Windows 95 host (an Acer America Pentium system). I accepted all the default options and had no problems using the software.

To use NetOp, users must first launch the Host component on their workstations and program the software to listen for an inbound call. A remote user running the Guest component can then connect to the Host. For my test, the Win95 machine ran the Guest component and NT server ran the Host component. I used the Start menu on the NT server to launch the NetOp Event Viewer and check for error messages, as Screen 1 shows.

Special Features
NetOp includes several features that enhance its remote control capabilities. With the program's Chat feature, Guest and Host users can communicate in realtime, which is especially helpful if one is providing the other with technical support. NetOp has built-in file-transfer capabilities so that you can retrieve files from the Host and send files (e.g., a configuration file update) as necessary. Using NetOp's phone book, you can store the names of systems you commonly access to save time when you connect to those systems in the future.

NetOp also offers security features. You can set default and individual Guest session access privileges and require users to enter passwords to log on to the system. Initiating chat sessions, sending and receiving files, letting the Guest user use the keyboard and mouse, and booting the Host are several access privileges you can set. If you are concerned about security over a serial connection, you can implement a callback plan using fixed or roving telephone numbers.

The Glitch
NetOp's Guest component can run as many as 10 simultaneous sessions (e.g., connection, chat, or user sessions) between your local system and a remote system. When I had an active connection to my NT server, I easily connected remotely to my NT workstation. However, when I ran two connection sessions concurrently, I found NetOp cum-
bersome. To navigate through the remote systems' screens, I had to use the scroll bars to access icons and the Start menu. The software has a Screen Scaling feature to help alleviate this problem, but I couldn't activate it. For me, the easiest way to use the software was to maximize the client screen when I ran multiple sessions simultaneously. That way, I didn't have to frequently use the scroll bar.

Pricing
As a remote control program, NetOp contains features and functions similar to those in Artisoft's CoSession Remote 32, Symantec's pcANYWHERE, and Microsoft's System Management Server (SMS). However, NetOp costs almost twice as much as CoSession Remote/32. CrossTec prices NetOp by component: Each Guest and Host requires one license. One major difference between NetOp and CoSession Remote/32 that might make the added cost worthwhile is that with NetOp, your Guest can be another Windows client (it doesn't need to be your NT server). In addition, NetOp is a great troubleshooting tool.

NetOp 5.4 for Windows
Contact: CrossTec * 561-391-6560 or 800-675-0729
Web: http://www.4ctc.com
Price: $135 (for one Guest or one Host component)
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 3.51 or 4.0, NT Workstation 3.51 or 4.0, Windows 3.1, or Windows 95