Do you have technical support for your friends and family? TeamViewer makes cross platform remote support very easy, and it’s free for personal use. Here’s how to install and use it on Linux.
Cross-Platform Family Technology Support
Are you the right technician for friends and family whenever they experience computer difficulties? It’s always fun to help, but anything that makes work faster and easier is very welcomed. Trying to talk to someone who does not understand technology through simple procedures can be frustrating. Even worse, it could prevent the person from adopting new technology in the future.
Seeing the problem firsthand always helps, but, sometimes, it’s impossible. That’s where remote access software comes in. This allows you to control the machine remotely and use it, more or less, the same as you do if you sit in front of it.
Obviously, you can’t do physical things, like inserting or removing a USB drive, but you have an assistant in place that can do those things for you, if necessary.
TeamViewer is a well-known remote-access and desktop-sharing application. This is a closed source commercial product, but is also free to use in non-commercial settings. You can use it on Linux, Windows, MacOS, and other operating systems.
Install TeamViewer on Linux
We tested the TeamViewer installation on Ubuntu 20.04, Fedora 32, and Manjaro 20.0.1. TeamViewer provides binary packages for Ubuntu and Fedora. If you use Manjaro, you can install TeamViewer from the Arch User Repository (AUR).
To install TeamViewer on Ubuntu and Fedora, start your browser and navigate to the TeamViewer Linux download page.
There is a link to download the Ubuntu DEB file and the Fedora RPM file.
Download the appropriate package file. After the download is complete, look for the package file on your computer (it will likely be in the “Downloads” folder).
This is an Ubuntu package, so the file names on your system might be different. Double-click the package file and when the application is launched, click “Install.”
At Fedora, your package will look like the image below.
Again, because the file name reflects the version of the TeamViewer application, your name might be different. Double-click the RPM file to install it and when the application is launched, click “Install.”
At Manjaro we have a little work to do because we have to install the following dependencies:
sudo pacman -Sy qt5-webkit
sudo pacman -Sy qt5-quickcontrols
After you install the above, launch the pamac software manager. If you haven’t activated AUR support, open the application menu, navigate to Properties> Preferences, then click the “AUR” tab. Toggle-On slider AUR.
Close the preferences window, click the Search icon in the main window, then type “teamviewer.” Select the version you want to install from the results list.
We download and install the version at the top (15.5.3) on Ubuntu and Fedora because it is best to install the latest release.
The person you are helping might use a Windows computer, Mac or Chromebook. In all cases, the simplest thing to do is ask them to download the TeamViewer software. They can go to the TeamViewer website, click the appropriate operating system at the top of the screen, and then download the TeamViewer QuickSupport utility.
On Mac and Windows, they don’t even need to install this – they will just launch the downloaded file. On a Chromebook, it must be installed.
After the client is launched, it looks like the image below. In the center of the screen, under “Your ID,” is a number.
Ask your friend or family member to give this number to you. The character sequence below is the password, which everyone also needs.
To connect to a remote computer, launch TeamViewer on your computer. In GNOME, press the Super button (usually located between Ctrl and Alt, on the left). Start typing “teamviewer” TeamViewer icon will appear.
Click the icon to launch TeamViewer. Click “Accept License Agreement.”
The main TeamViewer window appears. Type the ID number of the person you are helping in the “Partner ID” field, then click “Connect.”
Type the password for the person you are helping, then click “Enter”.
Other people’s desktops appear in the window, and now you have full access to that computer. When you move the mouse to the window, the mouse pointer on the remote computer will do the same thing.
In the image below, we are connected to a Windows computer.
To reduce network traffic and speed up connections, you will not see desktop wallpaper – the wallpaper will be black.
You can access menus, run applications, and use the keyboard as you would if you sat in front of that computer.
There are several settings that need attention. If you click “View” at the top of the window, a menu will appear. You can choose the display that best suits a combination of two desktop resolutions, and the window size that you want to use. The “Scale” option is a good starting point, and it works best in most situations.
Click “Actions” to open the menu. If you enable “Send Key Combinations,” your key combinations are then sent to the remote computer, and not yours. For example, if you press Super + E to open a file browser window, this will be activated on the remote computer, but not yours.
When the mouse pointer is outside the TeamViewer window, your key combination will apply to your computer.
Less Stress, Faster Repair
Remote technical support can be challenging. However, remote access packages allow you to find and fix problems in the shortest time possible. Hopefully, you can get more back from your day, and, maybe, your sanity.