Use Lync Meetings to Control PCs Remotely
Chances are you’ve used LogMeIn at some point. The remote-login software made it easy to provide remote support and find out what you needed from someone else’s PC.
In January, LogMeIn increased their fees–dropping their free option in favor of making all users pay. A choice which backfired into a lot of angry users ceasing to use it.
In the past, we too used LogMeIn for remote support. Taking control of a client’s PC and troubleshooting their issues, while talking with them on the phone to explain our actions and receive feedback. The problem was, with so many clients requiring remote access for support? We’d need to switch to the highest LogMeIn subscription option. And that gets expensive fast!
For a while, we paid for a LogMeIn subscription. It allowed us to continue with remote support uninterrupted…while we investigated alternatives.
LogMeIn Alternatives: Teamviewer, VNC…Lync?
Other remote access solutions do exist: Teamviewer, Chrome Remote Desktop, VNC, etc. We tried out a couple. But they didn’t quite meet our needs, or felt clunky.
While investigating these alternatives, one of the IT team members noticed something. He saw that signing into a Lync Meeting is similar to the LogMeIn remote login process. And a Lync Meeting allows for sharing – sharing applications, whiteboards, even desktops.
Could we use Lync Server as a LogMeIn alternative? If it could facilitate remote support, we wouldn’t need a solution like LogMeIn at all!
We did some research and some testing. It turns out that, while the process is a little more complicated than LogMeIn or Teamviewer…it DOES work. Remote access through Lync Server is possible.
How to Use Lync Server for Remote Login
Step 1: Create a Lync Meeting
Click “Meet Now” in Lync. (It’s under the Settings menu; click the arrow next to the gear.)
Mouse over “Invite More People”, and then click ACTIONS in the window.
Step 2: Invite a User to the Meeting
In the Meeting window, click “Invite by Email”.
Enter the email address of the user you want to connect to, and send the message. Wait for them to accept the invitation.
You may need to invite them in from the lobby if they are using Lync Attendee (i.e. they do not have Lync 2010 or 2013 installed).
Step 3: Have the User Present
Once the user enters the Lync Meeting:
Direct them to hover their mouse over the “Present” icon (fourth from the left in the lower-left corner)
Direct them to click Desktop in the popup window.
Accept their invitation to present.
Step 4: Request Control
Now the user is presenting their desktop. You should see it, but you can’t control it yet.
Click the “Request Control” button.
If necessary, direct the user to click Yes.
You now have remote control of the user’s desktop!
Perform whatever support tasks are necessary. Be aware that, just like with LogMeIn, the user can see what you’re doing.
Step 5: Disconnect Remote Control
When you’re done, click the “Release Control” button to release your control of the user’s PC.
Direct them to click the “Stop Presenting” button.
End the meeting.
- This may not work 100% in all situations. LogMeIn doesn’t work 100% either, so that’s not really a limitation. I just want you to be aware.
- Our office uses a Lync Server 2013 Standard installation, with Edge Server and Reverse Proxy. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work for Enterprise Edition either. But as with all software implementations, your results may vary depending on configuration. (If you do experience an issue, please send it to me! I’d love to hear about it.)
- This remote login method was NOT tested on all phones & tablets, so I can’t guarantee it’ll work there either. I was able to access an iPad remotely, which had Lync installed.
Test Lync as a Remote Access Option – and Tell Us About It!
If you have Lync Server 2013, you should be able to use this method in a remote support situation. Without disabling any existing remote access solutions.
Try it out! And if you do, please tell us how it worked. Please comment below or email me.