Sick and tired of diagnosing your computer problems yourself? Good news: A growing number of computer manufacturers are implementing remote support programs that enable them to tinker with your PC from afar.
How does it work? All it takes is a modem and some remote-control software installed on your machine-and your permission, of course. "A technician can dial right in, search around and make the changes so the user is up and running right away," says Kathy Krais at Artisoft Inc., which makes a popular remote communications software program, CoSession 7.0. "Often, they can fix the problem in minutes or even seconds."
This kind of hassle-free service, which takes the problem-solving out of customers' hands, is what many small businesses lacking on-site computer staff need, says Krais. Most users jam customer-service lines with difficulties that are easily fixed once identified, such as problems with configuration files and printer drivers.
Moreover, you may already have remote access software and not even know it: CoSession 7.0 comes pre-installed in many PCs from IBM, Hitachi, Gateway 2000, NEC Technologies, Zenith Data Systems, Midwest Micro and Data General-and is expected to be included in more than 2.5 million PCs this year.