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UltraVNC SC - Easier Remote Tech Support with Reverse VNC Configuration

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Published on June 28th, 2007
Category: Cool Stuff, Utilities

Being the most computer savvy one in the family is a tough life. Sure, it has its advantages like usually being the smartest one and feeling validated by the fact that your loved ones “need” you. However, that need should only go so far. Friends and family tend to solely rely on the computer guy for their technology needs that they never try to actually do the tasks themselves. Their computer skills stagnate and they turn into technology babies. Did I mention that I hate kids and babies?

Imagine receiving late night phone calls with vague questions like, “Where did my music go?” or “Why can’t I connect to the Internet?” I don’t know how those technical support agents do it, but kudos to them. I am in awe at their patience in diagnosing and fixing problems over the phone without even being on site (or seeing the computer screen for that matter).

Well, I’ve had enough! I just don’t have any time or patience for that. I’m tired of people asking me, “Does this sound like a good deal on eBay?” I’m tired of people requesting me to remotely diagnose their computer problems over the phone. At the very least, I need to see what you are seeing. First, I need a screen!


A couple months ago, I wrote about VNC, an open-source remote PC control application. It is a free alternative to the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol. VNC and Remote Desktop seem like perfect solutions to this remote technical support and assistance dilemma. The problem is who wants to teach their grandparents over the phone to install VNC or activate Remote Desktop? By the same token, who wants to walk their mom through opening ports in the firewall and/or forwarding ports in the router? It sounds like a nightmare.

For Mom - Bypass Firewall Port Opening and Router Port Forwarding

Luckily, there is a function in the VNC protocol that lets servers directly connect to a client. This means that your mom’s can just input your IP address and the VNC server will establish a session with your VNC client. At the same time, it bypasses her firewall and router since the connection was initiated from the inside of her network. Therefore, you don’t have to go through explaining port opening and forwarding to your mother.

For Grandma and Grandpa - Provide an Easy One-click Solution

But, what about your clueless grandparents? How are you going to tell them to install VNC? There is a version of VNC called UltraVNC Single Click. Basically, it is the VNC server and a script wrapped in one simple executable file. All you have to tell your technical support “clients” is to download the program you email them and open it. The embedded script will take care of the rest. It will automatically connect their VNC “server” to your IP address, where you can easily setup a VNC listening client.

Customized Support Center

Read the instructions on the UltraVNC SC website for details on how to customize your script. For the lazy, I’ve written basic instructions on how to get a quick and easy executable file without any bells and whistles.

  1. Change the IP address in this sample script to your IP address. You’ll have to open/forward port 5500 if you have a firewall or a router. Save the script as “helpdesk.txt”
    CODE:
    1. [TITLE]
    2. artisan applications tech support
    3.  
    4. [HOST]
    5. art-app Support Center
    6. -connect 123.123.123.123:5500 -noregistry
    7. [TEXTTOP]
    8. Please Choose
    9. [TEXTRTOP]
    10. artisan applications tech support
    11. [TEXTCLOSEBUTTON]
    12. Disconnect
    13.  
    14. [TEXTMIDDLE]
    15. Double click the support center that you want to
    16.  
    17. [TEXTBOTTOM]
    18. establish a session with above.
    19.  
    20. [TEXTRMIDDLE]
    21. Visit us on the web at http://www.art-app.com
    22. [TEXTRBOTTOM]
    23. http://www.art-app.com
    24. [WEBPAGE]
    25. http://www.art-app.com

  2. Zip the text file and name it “custom.zip”
  3. Go to the UltraVNC SC Online Creator. In the first form, use the handle “foo” and the password “foobar.” They might have changed the login. But, they should have it revealed on the page, so don’t fret. Upload the “custom.zip” file.
  4. Download your executable file.
  5. Launch an instance of VNC Viewer in “Listen Mode” and shoot the file to your distressed caller.

My Experience

This past week was the first time I used this program “on the job.” My friend called and asked me to walk him through buying a plane ticket online; he had never done something like that before. I wasn’t about to guess what he was seeing so I fired him the UlatraVNC Single Click executable file. It worked perfectly and he purchased his airfare successfully. After that experience, I decided that I will never remotely help anybody again … until they download this program first.

Your Experience

Please leave any questions, comments, or suggestions below! Have fun helping!


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3 Responses to “UltraVNC SC - Easier Remote Tech Support with Reverse VNC Configuration”

  1. Mark Says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for this information. I have been needing a remote software tool, but the prices people charge is stupid.

    A gret solution. Thanks

  2. Ben Says:

    Really cool article! Nice flawless article.

  3. Rob Says:

    Sounds like you need linux. Your posts are consistently trying to find windows workarounds for natural linux functions.

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