Last week I wrote about CrossLoop an online application for connecting remote computers. If you are the person that performs tech support for your family, company or community this application could be of great benefit for remote troubleshooting.
I received a comment on my post from Mrinal of CrossLoop to stay tuned for an announcement very soon. The news is that file transfer is being added to CrossLoop. Now if you have the file to fix the computer, you could just send it to them.
CrossLoop works on a Host / Client system. One computer acts as a host, and the client computer connects to the host. The host computer shares it’s screen with the client.
- Host – The host screen will be displayed to the client computer. The client computer can perform actions on the host computer.
- Client – The client will view the host screen. The client will be able to move the mouse and interact with the host computer.
Read the FAQ for additional information on CrossLoop.
The following is a walkthrough of installing and using CrossLoop.
The installation was very simple. I went to http://www.crossloop.com, and clicked Free Download. I was testing CrossLoop 1.1 Beta, so this pages looks a little different than the home page. Notice Help right under the download - the beta is only valid until Friday 13, 2007, so I am not sure if the link to help will still be viable after that date. I am a sucker for good help, and this help doesn’t let you down. The application is easy to use, but the help system thoroughly describes using CrossLoop with very helpful screen shots.
A little over a 2 MB file is downloaded to your system, and the file is used to install CrossLoop. The same program is downloaded and installed on both the client and the host.
The installation is typical and there isn’t much to explain. Once CrossLoop is installed, the fun begins.
For my test, I used my Windows Vista Desktop as the Host, and my Windows XP Laptop as the Client.
The host computer configures a name, and a unique access code, and then initiates a connection. A name and Access code are automatically generated.
The client will configure a unique name, the login name and computer name are used by default. The client will need the Access Code configured on the host to join.
After the host clicks Connect, a waiting screen is displayed. There is a 2:00 minute time limit for the client to connect. If the time limit expires, the host connection screen will be displayed.
After the client clicks Connect a screen indicates the computers are being connected. When the computers are connected a screen indicating the client is waiting for approval is displayed.
The host is prompted to accept the connection from the client.
After I clicked Yes to accept the connection on my Windows Vista computer, I did receive the following SpyWare warning from Windows Defender. Reviewing the FAQm TightVNC is the application used by CrossLoop to communicate with the remote computer, so I ignored this error and proceeded.
After the client is connected, the Host screen is displayed on both computers:
The following image is the Host Screen, with the CrossLoop manager in the lower right hand corner.
The following image is the CrossLoop client screen, in a window.
Host Sharing Screen
The Host Sharing Screen is displayed in the lower right hand corner of the host. This Sharing Screen is the tool used to manage the connection between the two computers.
Host Sharing Screen Options
- Help / Options – Help, Usage statistics and About CrossLoop
- Send File – Send file to connected computer
- View Only – Only allow the connected computer to view, not interact. The default allows the client to be able to control the host
- Switch Control – Switch the host and the client
- Disconnect – End the sharing session
I found CrossLoop easy to install and use. The most difficult issue is deciding which computer will need to be the host, and communicating the host information to the client for connection. BTW – you want the computer or user having troubles to act as the host.
After installing the program, I had no problem creating a connection between the host and client computer. There aren’t very many controls and I was able to start using the system immediately. This program will be easy to use for anyone with the slightest technical inclination. The hard part will be resolving the problem that initiated creating the connection in the first place.
I tested switching control between my initial host and client, and it performed flawlessly. The new host requested authentication permission, but the new client, encountered no problems connecting.
Sending a file was also easy to do. At this time I was only able to send one file at a time, for this to be a useful option I should be able to send more then a single file at a time. This was really the only issue that I encountered while using this Beta application.
I will admit that I performed all of my testing on two computers on the same network. I am not sure how this application would perform if the two computers are in separate remote physical locations. I would also be interested to know what affect heavy network traffic or congestion has the application.
The CrossLoop includes help for initiating the connection and an FAQ for additional information about CrossLoop. I was able to go the entire session without needing to access help or the FAQ. Help only addresses setting up the connection. CrossLoop is easy to use, but their should be help on the Sharing Screen, and client / host interaction.
The application is easy to use, works quite well, and I didn’t encounter any stability issues. If you do any type of remote technical support, reviewing CrossLoop is in your best interest.