March 14, 2006 11:53 AM PST

AOL service aims to 'untether' desktop PCs

America Online on Tuesday launched a new service designed for Windows users with a hankering to access, say, their entire home computer from work--or vice versa--without lugging any cargo.

The service, called Link2PC, is billed as a way to "untether" one's desktop computer. For $6.95 per month, AOL members and nonmembers alike can register and download the necessary software onto two Windows-based "host" computers, which they can then access from any Internet-connected Windows machine by logging their account information into a Web browser.

Through a password-protected, 128-bit encrypted virtual desktop, customers can gain full access to all their applications and documents; view, edit and share files; and print those files to a local printer without having to install extra drivers.

Link2PC is not exactly a novel idea, though similar offerings, such as Citrix Systems' GoToMyPC and 3amlabs' LogMeIn Pro, appear to carry a higher price tag (LogMeIn also has a free version). AOL's version is intended to be simple and affordable enough for all "mainstream consumers," Senior Vice President Ed Fish said in a statement, adding that many existing remote-PC access programs are geared toward "'road warrior' business travelers."

Right now, the program is available only for Windows 98 and newer versions of the operating system. AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company had not announced any plans to develop a Macintosh-compatible version.

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LogMeIn, America Online Inc., Time Warner Inc., desktop computer, Microsoft Windows


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LogMeIn IS cheaper
Anne -- actually, LogMeIn offers a free version -- NOT a free trial -- free, period, and the annual cost of the "pro" version is lower than the AOL offering. I guess it's why we now have more than million users of our service.
Posted by Jeckertny (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks for pointing that out...
It's been corrected in the story.
Posted by LeslieKatz (143 comments )
Link Flag
free service
Funny the article says logmein is more expensive, it's free. Also, tried to sign up for a trial of AOLs new service and got the following error - We're temporarily unable to complete your order...
Posted by Rerun101 (1 comment )
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What about a Linux version?
Who cares about BigMac and Winblows.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
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I care about Windows...
... not LinSucks.

So, you use a different OS? That's your choice. But, is it really necessary to ridicule other OS's, especially ironically enough, when you're complaining that an application isn't readily available for that OS?
Posted by TMB333 (115 comments )
Link Flag
LOGMEIN - $69.95/year
If you want to print locally, $69.95/year, otherwise free. Works perfect, my child could set up software, which you download. Works perfectly everytime.
Posted by Mtnsummit (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
AOL @ $6.95 a month...
.... comes out at $84 a year. Thus even the expensive LogMein is
cheaper than AOL.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
RDP + DynDNS Updater
these two things is all you really need to get an instant remote desktop from anywhere in the world. RDP is built-in any windows and is supported by most other OSes, and DynDNS updater is a free utility that makes it possible for you to refer to your computer using a domain name (even if your ip service is dynamic, as with most dsl users)... who wants to pay for something that can be free?
Posted by vindimy (1 comment )
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RDP is only built into XP Pro and above.....XP Home users (as well as 98 and Me users) are SOL with this technique.

However, they could use a free VNC program like TightVNC or UltraVNC and a dynamic DNS updater to get a somewhat slower, but acceptable, remote connection.

The problem is that these techniques require a minimum standard of technical proficiency that most home users (especially AOL home users) don't have.

Simplicity. That's the allure of the AOL service.

But, I bet I could offer a $19.95/year service for unlimited number of PCs that would be just as easy.

I just don't know if anyone would bite.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
What did you expect???
Has AOL ever come up with anything worthwhile?

You have to be pretty dumb to still be on AOL, dial-up or
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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Next thing you know, they'll try to sell us "access by the minute."
....oh wait....
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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