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Reviews

z2 Remote2PC v1.0

By Russ Smith April 4, 2005, 12:00 am

INTRODUCTION

    Sooner or later, all of us have the
experience of being somewhere away from the desktop system and wishing
we were not.  You might be on a business trip and need a file that
is inconveniently only available back on your desktop.  Worse yet,
you might have the file, but it needs just a bit of tweaking.  The
program you need to use is — you guessed it — back on your
desktop.  The annoying thing
about desktop systems is that they stay at your desk and you do not.
    There are a variety of solutions that try to deal
with these situations.  There are web-based services that allow
you to work with your desktop from any other web-connected
computer.  Unfortunately, all of these systems have an on-going
cost per month or per year. In this review, we’ll take a look at z2’s Remote2PC.

WHAT’S HOT

    z2 Remote2PC allows you to view and
control your Windows desktop system from your Pocket PC.  Your PPC
can be connected via LAN, WLAN, phone (modem), or any Internet
connection.  Remote2PC also provides means to emulate
double-clicks and right-clicks, upload and download clipboard contents,
and send Escape, Return, and CTRL-ALT-DEL key sequences to the remote
PC.

SETUP

    z2 Remote2PC has two parts: 
There is a server application that runs on your Windows desktop and a
client application that runs on your Pocket PC.  The initial setup
takes place on the desktop.

You
have to set up at least one user both to set the server “helper” and
to log in remotely.
Each user has a user name and password which you use to log in.

z2
provides a secondary level of security.  If you enable device
access control only recognized devices will be allowed to connect.
The Device List dialog also provides the registration function. 
The [Send register email..] button sends the serial number and purchase
information to z2.  They respond with a registration code which
you input with the [Register…] button.

z2
also provides a “call back” function to aid in working though
firewalls.  When your Pocket PC attempts to connect, the server
application reverses the connection preserving your firewalls
protection against unauthorized incoming connections while still
allowing Remote2PC to work.

The
Options panel allows you to control various server aspects like
DNS resolution and whether the remote system is accessible locally
when you are operating it remotely.

Once
you have created a user on the desktop, you set up your Pocket PC to
connect as that user.

The client application
starts with a log in screen that also allows control over encryption,
color depth, and cache memory.

The client application also
has an Options dialog that gives you control over the look and feel and
other internal functionality of the application.

   
As a relative expert in networking and computers, I had no problem
setting up z2 Remote2PC.  I thought, however, that an average user
would probably find the configurations and options a bit
daunting.  This is where a more extensive manual would come in
handy.  If each of the configuration options were explained in
more detail and, particularly, if several examples of common scenarios
were shown with the appropriate configurations, this would help the more
novice user through the setup process.

PROGRAM
FEATURES

Once
the server application is installed and configured, you can start
the “Server Helper” application by clicking on the taskbar icon (shown
on the left above).

On the Pocket PC, a similar icon on the taskbar gives you access and
control over the client application when it is running in background.

The
client application shows the remote PC’s screen surrounded by buttons
that allow additional control.
(Click the picture above for a full VGA-resolution image.)

The Remote2PC Client can
also rotate the screen to landscape orientation even if your Pocket PC
does not normally support screen rotation.
The client can also set the color depth from full color all the way
down to monochrome.  Lower color depth allows faster response with
slow connections.

In
addition to being able to transfer information using the clipboards
of the Pocket PC and desktop, Remote2PC can also transfer files directly.

A file
transfer is initiated by “adding” the file transfer specifics.  Once
added, a specific file transfer can be re-initiated, in either direction,
without re-entering the information.

During
a file transfer, the dialog shows progress.  Unfortunately,
the file information (near the top of the dialog) is not formatted
to show the information very well.

While
running the Remote2PC client, you have full access to all the software,
in exactly the way you set them up on your desktop system.  Above,
you can see Microsoft Word (the full desktop edition) running within
the client window.

This is the control set on
the left side of the display.  The controls, from top to bottom,
are:

  • Pin button — shows or
    hides this toolbar; also indicates on-going downloading and uploading
  • Options — hides the
    remote view and shows the configuration dialog
  • Zoom In / Zoom out —
    6 level zoom up to 125%, down to full display of the remote screen
  • Rotate left / Rotate
    right
  • Show soft input panel
  • Download remote
    clipboard to Pocket PC clipboard
  • Upload Pocket PC
    clipboard to remote PC
  • Send a left button
    double-click at the current cursor position
  • Send a right button
    click
  • Increase / Decrease
    screen color depth — 2 colors to 65,536 colors.
  • Scroll the toolbar to
    show the remaining buttons

This is the right side
toolbar.  From top to bottom, the controls are:

  • Send close window
    command to the remote desktop
  • Send minimize/maximize
    command to remote desktop
  • Vertical scroll bars
  • Send “ESC” key to
    remote system
  • Send “Return” key to
    remote system
  • Send “Up” key to
    remote system
  • Send “Down” key to
    remote system
  • Send “Show Desktop”
    command to remote system.  This button also indicates on-going
    download or uploads

This is the bottom control
set.  From left to right, they are:

  • Scroll left toolbar
    items
  • Send “Copy” command
  • Send “Paste” command
  • Send “Delete” key
  • Send “Backspace” key
  • Horizontal scroll bars
  • Send “Left” key
  • Send “Right” key
  • Send “Show desktop”

 

HELP SUPPORT

    The installation routine also places
a user manual (in PDF/Adobe Acrobat format) on your desktop system and
even places a shortcut to it in your Start Menu.  The manual is
terse, but adequately covers what you will need to know to work with
both the server and client applications.  In addition, you can
send an e-mail to z2 to
request further information or assistance.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

    The Remote2PC Server runs on Windows
98SE, Me, NT 4.0 (SP6), Windows 2000, and Windows XP Home and
Professional.  The server application requires about 1.212MB of
memory while running on the desktop.
    The Remote2PC Client runs on Windows CE Handheld Pro 2.11
(on ARM, MIPS, SH3, and SH4 processors), Pocket PC 2000 (on ARM, MIPS,
or SH3 processors), Handheld PC 2000 (on ARM and MIPS processors),
Pocket PC 2002 including Phone Edition, Pocket PC 2003 including Phone
Edition, Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition including Phone Edition, Windows
CE.NET 4.1 and Windows CE.NET 4.2.  The remote client takes about
49.42MB of system memory to run in full color mode and 39.13MB to run
in black and white mode.  Even in black and white, this is a
significant memory footprint.  You’ll probably need a 128MB Pocket
PC to run the program.  z2 Remote2PC also takes a much smaller
682KB of storage to install, which can be on a storage card or file
store.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
The program ran almost flawlessly during my tests
.  The one
exception was the file download dialog.  The download process
worked as it should, but, as shown earlier, the progress dialog was not
formatted in a readable way.

The
File Transfer progress dialog displays information on each file, but,
unfortunately, not in a readable way.

   
I could also wish for a smaller memory requirement.  It is
understandable why the program needs that much memory to run, but it
puts the program out of consideration for Pocket PCs with smaller
memory.

PURCHASING

   
z2 Remote2PC is available for purchase from
the pocketnow Store for $36.95.  You’ll also find a
free trial version link there as well.

PROS


  • Connects via
    virtually any type of LAN or modem connection

  • Connection is secured with sophisticated
    cipher algorithms

  • Provides right-click
    and double-click emulation


  • Can transfer
    clipboard information up or down


  • Can remotely reset
    the desktop


  • Can “scale” color
    depth for slow connections


  • Supports
    VGA-resolution on Pocket PCs that support it

CONS


  • Can not do remote
    access via laptop or other desktop system

  • Configuration can be a bit daunting
  • Does not display downloaded file
    information readably
  • Takes a considerable amount of memory to run on PPC
Value
Ease of Use
Features

Overall

OVERALL
IMPRESSION

    I was quite impressed with z2
Remote2PC.  In my tests, the program performed exactly as it
should, allowing me very good control over my remote desktop and full
access to files on both the remote and local machines.  The only
thing that would keep me from whole-heartedly recommending it for
everyone is the memory requirement.  If you have the need to fully
access your desktop system remotely and have a large-memory Pocket PC,
then, by all means give z2 Remote2PC serious consideration.  If
you have a smaller-memory Pocket PC or want to occasionally access the
remote PC from something other than your Pocket PC, you will need to
consider other, subscription/web-based solutions.

 

HELP SUPPORT

    The installation routine also places
a user manual (in PDF/Adobe Acrobat format) on your desktop system and
even places a shortcut to it in your Start Menu.  The manual is
terse, but adequately covers what you will need to know to work with
both the server and client applications.  In addition, you can
send an e-mail to z2 to
request further information or assistance.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

    The Remote2PC Server runs on Windows
98SE, Me, NT 4.0 (SP6), Windows 2000, and Windows XP Home and
Professional.  The server application requires about 1.212MB of
memory while running on the desktop.
    The Remote2PC Client runs on Windows CE Handheld Pro 2.11
(on ARM, MIPS, SH3, and SH4 processors), Pocket PC 2000 (on ARM, MIPS,
or SH3 processors), Handheld PC 2000 (on ARM and MIPS processors),
Pocket PC 2002 including Phone Edition, Pocket PC 2003 including Phone
Edition, Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition including Phone Edition, Windows
CE.NET 4.1 and Windows CE.NET 4.2.  The remote client takes about
49.42MB of system memory to run in full color mode and 39.13MB to run
in black and white mode.  Even in black and white, this is a
significant memory footprint.  You’ll probably need a 128MB Pocket
PC to run the program.  z2 Remote2PC also takes a much smaller
682KB of storage to install, which can be on a storage card or file
store.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
The program ran almost flawlessly during my tests
.  The one
exception was the file download dialog.  The download process
worked as it should, but, as shown earlier, the progress dialog was not
formatted in a readable way.

The
File Transfer progress dialog displays information on each file, but,
unfortunately, not in a readable way.

   
I could also wish for a smaller memory requirement.  It is
understandable why the program needs that much memory to run, but it
puts the program out of consideration for Pocket PCs with smaller
memory.

PURCHASING

   
z2 Remote2PC is available for purchase from
the pocketnow Store for $36.95.  You’ll also find a
free trial version link there as well.

PROS


  • Connects via
    virtually any type of LAN or modem connection

  • Connection is secured with sophisticated
    cipher algorithms

  • Provides right-click
    and double-click emulation


  • Can transfer
    clipboard information up or down


  • Can remotely reset
    the desktop


  • Can “scale” color
    depth for slow connections


  • Supports
    VGA-resolution on Pocket PCs that support it

CONS


  • Can not do remote
    access via laptop or other desktop system

  • Configuration can be a bit daunting
  • Does not display downloaded file
    information readably
  • Takes a considerable amount of memory to run on PPC
Value
Ease of Use
Features

Overall

OVERALL
IMPRESSION

    I was quite impressed with z2
Remote2PC.  In my tests, the program performed exactly as it
should, allowing me very good control over my remote desktop and full
access to files on both the remote and local machines.  The only
thing that would keep me from whole-heartedly recommending it for
everyone is the memory requirement.  If you have the need to fully
access your desktop system remotely and have a large-memory Pocket PC,
then, by all means give z2 Remote2PC serious consideration.  If
you have a smaller-memory Pocket PC or want to occasionally access the
remote PC from something other than your Pocket PC, you will need to
consider other, subscription/web-based solutions.

 

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