back to article TeamViewer is going to turn around and ignore what you're doing with its freebie licence to help new remote workers

Remote control and support outfit TeamViewer is turning off connection checking for its freebie product as more and more of its customers find themselves suddenly working from home. TeamViewer is a handy tool that allows users to take control of a remote machine for purposes of support or remote working. Of course, the …

  1. Spanners Silver badge
    Happy

    There's always Google.

    My Chromebook has acquired such apps. It had Google Hangouts and Skype already, it has now got Teams for work and Zoom for some voluntary activities. Telegram has gone on for some secure stuff.

    I think the big problem is that there are now so many of them. I used to have several IM apps and an application called Pigin on my PC that pulled them all together. We need something similar for video chats.

  2. mhoneywell

    Times like these, the good will be remembered

    Well done Teamviewer.

    Brands that show heart will be remembered for their support in these times.

    The ones that hide will be forgotten.

    1. Robert Moore
      Thumb Up

      Re: Times like these, the good will be remembered

      I have been pleasantly surprised how many companies are being socially responsible. Places closing their doors. A local drug store that has made the first hour of every day seniors time. With only seniors allowed in the store, and the (Normally one day a week) seniors discount applied as well.

      People will remember.

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Times like these, the good will be remembered

      Yes indeed. For example, I've always tried to support Timpsons since I heard a radio programme a few years ago where I learned they give jobs to ex-prisoners to help them back into society. Yesterday their owner said they've sent staff home on full pay for as long as they can do it.

      Also Cisco are offering a free AnyConnect, unlimited user, 13 week license for people: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/security/anyconnect-secure-mobility-client/215330-obtaining-an-emergency-covid-19-anyconne.html

      I know many folks here loathe MS but they're giving free Teams licenses to the NHS. Yes, they can afford it, but no they didn't have to do it.

      There are others and I'd like to believe that they are remembered and supported after this finally blows over.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Times like these, the good will be remembered

        All except Pulse Secure. They sent out a luuvy-duuvy email about how they would support customers and provide ICE licenses blah blah. We investigated this to find the shysters charging insane amounts, no discounts, nothing. They have an excellent product but I suspect many will dump it as it is cheaper to use an alternative than pay the ransoms they are asking.

        Utter tossers.

    3. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Times like these, the good will be remembered

      The bad will be remembered too. "Lifetime" to Teamviewer means something different than it does to me. I bought a "lifetime" license of Teamviewer and I was told recently that it may stop working. Turns out, lifetime to Teamviewer means until they end support. I won't forget that. As much money as I paid for the product, I expect it work longer than it did.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TeenViewer you say?

    1. wolfetone

      Calm down Prince Andrew

  4. Steve Foster
    Linux

    Apache Guacamole FTW

    For those who have virtualisation capability or spare hardware, Apache Guacamole is an excellent open-source remote access gateway (supporting VNC, RDP, and even terminal options).

    It does take a little bit of work to build (on a Linux base), or can be downloaded as a virtual machine appliance (if you're prepared to trust VMWare's Bitnami tentacle).

    It means no reliance on a 3rd-party intermediary (like MS or TeamViewer), and the client is sandboxed within a browser at the remote endpoint. Oh, and it can optionally do 2FA (Duo or TOTP).

    1. IGnatius T Foobar !

      Re: Apache Guacamole FTW

      Yes. Guacamole is mind-bogglingly useful and incredibly underrated for what it can do. I advocate its use everywhere it can be used.

      Of course, it is not something that an ordinary user can set up.

  5. Snake Silver badge

    TeamViewer detection,

    in my experience, seems to be based upon detection of the name of the executables running on the systems, absolutely the host but maybe even the guest as well. If you get a 'commercial use' warning and shut down all applications (any maybe even reboot) then reconnect, you can often avoid the warning.

    Problem is that you may get the warning after you reopen the required app that got you to use TV in the first place.

    But an executable rename *may* help here.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: TeamViewer detection,

      They base it on external IP addresses as well. They have a tendency to treat static IP's as commercial but also have a list of known companies IP's.

    2. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: TeamViewer detection,

      I don't believe that it is just IP address. I use it to help a number of friends and was cut off with a "Commercial Use" warning. Switching to another client got it working again. Uninstalling and reinstalling, cleaning everything out did not work. I suspect it takes a MAC address or something in the OS as well.

      After a load of mucking about with there "Pardoning" service I eventually got it working with the warning that they could stop it at any time if they thought it was commercial.

      1. PeterM42
        Facepalm

        Re: TeamViewer detection,

        I thought it was if one of the machines was on Windows Pro (vs Windows Home).

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: TeamViewer detection,

        If you have the TV issue and need to bypass quickly, I've always found success by correcting via a mobile guest - connect to your host using your phone. That usually seems to bypass the block and, sometimes, resets the detection for all other guests as well. YMMV.

    3. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: TeamViewer detection,

      I ditched TeamViewer and it’s half-arsed installer that always force installs a 5 minute time limited free, give us some money version which is a huge pain in the ass to remove both ends.

      AnyDesk is a much more pleasant solution.

      Simple, and works.

    4. Irongut

      Re: TeamViewer detection,

      Whatever their detection methods, they don't do it very well. I've been using TeamViewer for the last week and ticking the Commercial Use box when I run it. Yesterday I found out we don't actually have a license, ooops! So far TV hasn't complained or locked me out.

  6. Martin Summers Silver badge

    "As other services (*cough* Teams *cough*)"

    Is this a new and persistent cough? Do you have a fever?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Is it a dry cough? are you tired?

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Feeling a bit warm in here...

  7. jason 7 Silver badge

    I switched to Zoho Remote Support for my business.

    Works just fine and costs far less than Teamviewer.

  8. jockmcthingiemibobb

    Anydesk.com is my goto these days.

    1. Steven Raith

      I tried this yesterday and it's really not bad at all. Found privilege escalation to be a bit confusing but that's probably just a case of me having never used it before and not knowing some little tricks (every time it popped up a UAC prompt, I'd lose control until the end user agreed to it, etc).

      Cross platform and works out the box for the most part, I like it.

      Steven R

  9. moiety Silver badge

    "Turning off commercial use checking" = "First hit is free"

    Don't think altruism comes into it all that much.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Really free for commercial use

    DWService and MSP360 Remote Assistant.

  11. Radfiregore

    This is great Teamviewer. Really kind of you.

    http://radiantfire.org/teamviewer-locked-out-for-personal-use

  12. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Facepalm

    More Tales Of The Totally Expected.

    Colleague receives a message from a member of the accounting management team.

    This employee is working from home*, is not showing as on-line & is not responding to my e-mails. Ring them up & ask why!

    Please put a ticket in (Rather than why don't you try & ring them yourself).

    IT Director see's the ticket & rips the manager concerned a new one, to the tune of its not my teams job to do your job, which is namely to supervise & oversee your teams adherence & comprehension of the concept of actually working from home.

    *Said employee logged on via VPN at 7.45am & having "Clocked on" thought that was good enough to show presence & then proceeded to treat it as a holiday.

  13. idoxde
    Thumb Up

    Anydesk

    Anydesk is just as good. No hassle. I said my goodbyes to Teamviewer a couple of years ago and never looked back.

  14. JulieM Silver badge

    You have to pay for it?

    It sounds a bit like ssh -X ..... Only with a hefty price tag and without the customary Source Code or modification rights.

    They might have chosen temporarily not to prosecute people for taking Freedoms Zero and Two by force, but they are still actively denying you Freedoms One and Three. These people are not your friends.

  15. G2

    too little, too late TeamViewer... i got infected by their 'commercial use detected' on my home pc that i mainly use to play world of warcraft and check up on my work computer and the connection was timing out in less than a minute... decided to try Google Remote Desktop instead... and it's much better imho... a lot less latency and also, since it's tied to a Google Account with OAuth, it can be configured to use FIDO U2F two-factor authentication hardware security keys for accessing the remote desks.

    Thanks, TeamViewer, for forcing me to move over to Google Remote Desktop with FIDO U2F.

    /sarcasm.

  16. Cynical Observer

    Screams......

    Looks like every man and his dog has flocked to Teamviewer.

    Have historically used it to provide remote support to MiL.

    Totally Borked this morning.

  17. steviebuk Silver badge

    Ironic

    We have the paid for version at work. It's ironic as it's now spamming me "An error occurred while retrieving your license. Please restart the application or contact our support." Restarting it isn't helping.

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Ironic

      Uninstall it and put Anydesk on.

  18. DrBobK

    Well done! Good company.

    That's a great move. I like them. I (genuinely) only use TeamViewer for home stuff. At one point, not because of usage, but because I clicked a button to try some new feature for free, they decided I must be using it commercially. I emailed them. They checked their records. I was put back to 'free' and they even apologised. All also done very quickly. Quite amazing.

  19. JMiles

    I used TeamViewer to let a friend view my screen while we worked on a hobby project - entirely non-commercial. TeamViewer slapped the 'suspected commercial use' message on us. We filled out the form and emailed it to them as instructed, never heard a peep. This was pre-coronavirus.

    I tried contacting their sales and they claimed they don't provide support for the 'free' version. Well if there's no support and they're happy to lock it down to prevent it being used with NO recourse then what do they expect when people leave? I setup WireGuard and used Remote Desktop instead. Good riddance to those clowns.

    Totally understand their need to make money, but why not offer a paid personal edition instead of making people suffer for a free version like that? How does it do their business reputation any good?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of free alternatives out there

    Hats off rather to those companies that are already offering free alternatives even before this covid crisis took offer remote working. NoMachine, Anydesk, Zoho. Smaller companies and better customer service.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    Its a bit of a mess at moment

    For us that paid for a licenses as they don't appear to be honouring the same for people with a licenses. We have two agent licenses which it thinks are both in use so we now can't use it.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Its a bit of a mess at moment

      I can only suggest I was panic posting that last one due to all the mistakes.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy theory: one reason TeamViewer may now be 'ignoring' free use is that support people in organisations which are already using Office 365 are very rapidly waking up to the fact you can do this 'remote support' thing inside Teams *for free*, especially to 'home workers' who are not using corporate laptops. In the last few minutes I have just finished a remote-support session via Teams with a user who is having to use their home computer - and it actually worked (I was mildly surprised, I confess!)

    A/C because I'm not admitting to using Teams in a public forum. ;-)

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Similar here with Screen Share in Ring Central Meetings.

  23. AJames

    Not an easy company to deal with

    Our small company has had an expensive Teamviewer commercial license for many years, and paid to upgrade it a couple of times because we use it for customer support. But while Teamviewer makes their software free for personal use, they seem to punish their commercial users. Their licences are tied to server hardware, and difficult to move. There are a host of obscure limitations that you have to pay for individually to expand, and it's virtually impossible to find information on what all the restrictions are for your current license. Worst of all, in spite of you having paid a lot of money for an up-to-date license, within a few months they will start nagging you and your customers who connect to you via Teamviewer to do an expensive update to the latest version. That's just bad practice.

  24. DeeCee613

    Teamviewer is down for us ATM - too many free users?

    Mar 24, 11:29 CET

    Investigating - A subset of our users are currently experiencing a connectivity issue when accessing our services. Our engineers have not yet confirmed the underlying root cause and they are working on the identification. We will update our status page with new information as soon as possible.

    New connections are affected. Existing connections are not affected.

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