A quick guide to Deskhop: Enjoy worldwide remote control with this self-destructing Facebook app

Last summer RealVNC released Deskhop - a free remote control app for Facebook. Deskhop has the following benefits for consumers and support people alike. Deskhop

  • Enables a billion plus Facebook users to use remote control
  • Enables users round the globe to teach one another how to use a variety of applications (for example how to merge Excel contacts into Outlook)
  • Enables users to dynamically share and create content with one another (for example you and a friend can edit and change the same document together).
  • Enables power users and support people to quickly repair computer issues
  • Enables multiplatform, multi-operating system support (for example a Windows system can take remote control of an apple computer)
  • Enables easy bypass of many complex Firewall settings

Common questions regarding Deskhop, tends to surround security and application trails.

Although Deskhop will bypass many complex firewall settings, in its current version, you can only use Deskhop with a Facebook friend so hopefully they are a trusted friend with no malicious intent – it is best to chat with your friend first before agreeing to a remote control session and either end can terminate the remote control session at any time.

At present Deskhop is a self-destructive remote application. In other words, once the remote control session has ended the Deskhop application removes itself from both computers. If a new remote control is then re-initiated, both computers will need to download Deskhop which is a relatively small 776Kb application. To show you how easy Deskhop is to use, below is a screenshot step by step guide on how to install and use Deskhop.

In our scenario, Rebecca starts a Facebook conversation regarding a Bluetooth connected mouse with her Apple computer. After some discussion, Rebecca and I agreed for the Apple user team at ITProportal to see if we could remotely repair the problem. However your friend's may just want to be shown how to use an application or to share a business document to work on together. If you're in one of these situations, once you’ve agreed with your Facebook friend that you’d like to initiate a remote control session do the following:-

1. Put Deskhop into your Facebook search. The Deskhop welcome and greeting shown below should then appear.

2. Once you've agreed with the RealVNC policy. Click on the Start Deskhopping button at the bottom of the welcome screen. A screen will appear that displays a list of your Facebook friends.

3. If the friend you would like to connect with is not visible, scroll through the list or type your friend's name in the Deskhop search bar.

4. Click on the friend that you would like to initiate the remote control session. A screen will appear asking whether you would like to share your screen or take remote control of your friend's screen.

5. Click on the 'Control their screen' button to take remote control. A dialog box will appear asking you to send a Deskhop remote control request.

6. Click on Send Request. A screen will appear asking you whether you would like to download the Deskhop client on your side.

7. Click on the Download now button. A screen will then appear to ask you to install the Deskhop 776kb client application on your computer.

8. Click on the Run button to install Deskhop. Should your friend have installed Deskhop on their side you will now see their screen.

In the example shown, I’ve taken over a friend’s Apple computer from a Windows 8.1 system. The operating system is not relevant as the common platform being used is Facebook. In the example session, my good friend Rebecca had an issue with Bluetooth and her Apple mouse. You can see from the following screen shots that I was able to remotely access her Apple computer to check the configuration settings and after some adjustments and phone calls. We ended the remote control session.

Rebecca could take control back at any time. Being able to take back control at any time is useful for dynamic editing of the same document which is incredibly useful for document collaboration.

A Windows system taking remote control of an Apple system using Facebook Deskhop. This screen shows the hardware settings (mouse) on the apple being reconfigured.

The Deskhop connection is terminated once the session is completed.