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Communication Software - Norton pcAnywhere

Symantec’s pcAnywhere is best described as a communications tool that allows its users to communicate with remote PCs as well as transfer files and synchronize folders between two machines. The two machines can be connected using any standard method, including telephone, normal network connections, as well as parallel and serial cables. The only condition is that both machines run the pcAnywhere software.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the pcAnywhere software is more than just a terminal program for Windows. Instead, when the modem connected, it is as if you’re actually working on the remote computer. In addition, you can control the remote machine even if someone is currently working on it. However, the prerequisite is that they let you.

This function is an excellent tool for users on the road as well as for your help desk. Users can be shown the necessary steps to perform desk different functions, even though the help desk might be on the other side of the world. Users on the road could access their desktop machines and even start programs as if they were logged on locally.

You can also use pcAnywhere to transfer files between two machines. You have a choice of either doing this automatically each time you log on, or you can do it manually as needed. One important aspect of this is that directories can be synchronized to ensure both sides have the most recent version of particular files.

Figure 11-1 shows the connection and configuration screen for pcAnywhere. You select whether your machine will act as a host or if you want to remotely control another machine. In addition, you can also select to have your computer serve as a pcAnywhere gateway. This allows multiple machines to share communications devices. In addition, the gateway provides both dial-in and dial-out services.

Figure 11-1. pcAnywhere connection window.

One of the most amazing things about the connection is that it is fairly close to real time. Unfortunately, communication between the two machines does take a certain amount of time. Therefore, there is a delay between the time you do something locally, it is actually done on the remote machine, and the time you see the results on your monitor. Despite this, the process is very fast, especially when considering the alternative would be to either have nothing at all or actually go to that remote site.

If a user is currently working on a machine you connect to, they will still be able to work on the machine. However, any time you input something on the keyboard for moved amounts, it will end up on the remote machine, which might tend to get away of the user doing network. However, this can be a good faint, particularly in a help desk environment where you are watching the steps a particular user is taking before the certain action, so you can see where they are actually making the mistakes. If you want, you can also "lock" the remote keyboard, so the user cannot input anything.

There are a number of useful tools that you have access to during your session. pcAnywhere Chat is used to communicate with the person on the remote end. This has a slightly different behavior thea the standard WINChat. First, the text is not transmitted until you press the Enter key. Second, the complete dialog is written to a single window. This allows you to save the complete transcript of your communication.

AutoXfer is a utility that automatically transfers files to and from the remote machine. The files you wish to transfer and a number of other options can be stored in a file and used repeatedly. Files can be compressed prior to transfer, thus speeding up the transmission. In addition, AutoXfer has a "crash recovery" option, which will take up where it left off if the connection is broken for some reason. You can also select to have all downloaded files be automatically checked for viruses.

You also have access to the clipboard on both systema and can transfer it in either direction. That is, you can transfer the local clipboard to the remote machine or transfer the remote clipboard to your machine.

If you regularly perform tasks on a remote system, it would be nice to be able to automate those tasks. To do so, pcAnywhere provides a well-equipped scripting language. Essentially, all functions that are normally available can be accessed using a script. You can then automate any task, such as starting specific applications or even transferring files in the middle of the to avoid unnecessary burden under network.

Although the script must be written within add or their that can save ASCII files, the script is actually compiled before it is executed. This increases the speed of execution even more than what is possible by inputting the command manually.

Basically, the scripting language is as complex as that of many other communications tools. That is, not only can you send text, but you can also wait for particular output from the other side. In addition, you have complete access to all of the functions you would normally have when making a pcAnywhere connection.

You can also create scripts by putting pcAnywhere into "learn mode"; it will then record all of your actions and save them into a script file. Should you need to, the script file can be edited or simply run as is.

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