– LapLink 2000 review

remote PC management
Photo of – LapLink 2000
£159.99 (£49.95 rebate for existing users via the Web)

Do you remember when LapLink came in the shape of a single .exe file, just over 100KB in size? You’re in good company; so do we. At that time, the program was solely for file transfer between two machines, using either serial or parallel ports. It’s moved on since then, but the core principle remains the same – remote access for support staff.

Initially launched at the end of last year, LapLink 2000 replaces the previous ‘Pro’ (which we reviewed here) and ‘Tech’ versions of the LapLink line-up, from which you can guess that this product is aimed at people who know their TCP/IP from their RAS. The usual connection methods are present, including serial, parallel, USB and modem, but you can also connect via DUN, TCP/IP, IPX and infra-red or wireless networks. This means that you can use the software to connect to other machines over the Web, trouble-shooting user problems or reconfiguring remote servers. Software clients are supplied for Windows 95/98/2000 and NT 4.0, plus Windows 3.1, allowing you to control applications on remote PCs with different operating systems to that of the host.

The user interface is pretty straightforward, and includes some new features such as voice chat, allowing you to talk to the person whose PC you’re fixing while simultaneously accessing their data. More conventional text chat is available too, and the company has gone some way towards making the whole package more safe, with better encryption, case-sensitive passwords and lock-outs on multiple password guessing. The scheduler has been retained, making it convenient to access host systems while in another time zone, and to save transmission time, only the changed portions of files are sent during ‘update’ transfer.

Also in the box is a copy of LapLink FTP. Not hard to guess what that’s for, and it does the job pretty well, bearing up to comparison with CuteFTP, Magellan and others, although lacking some of the advanced features of such packages. Serial and parallel cables are also included – the USB cables are optional.



Contact: 0800 374849

And what happened to the old Traveling Software name? Gone, in a scramble to jump onto the Dotcom bandwagon, cries a cynic. Not that it matters, as this is a respectable, practical and apparently stable incarnation of an age-old product that has proved its usefulness to many network managers, Webmasters and other IT staff time and again. Worth having for the peace of mind offered by the increased security features over the previous version alone.