NetSupport Manager 11 review
NetSupport Manager sets the standard for remote control, and this latest version delivers even more valuable features ideally suited to support departments
Review Date: 29 Jun 2010
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £34 (£40 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
There may be a plethora of remote control software available but NetSupport Manager (NSM) has always stood out with its keen focus on remote support functions. The latest v11 continues in this mold and adds plenty of new features including a redesigned management console, auto-dynamic grouping, support for systems with Intel's vPro technology and easier access to managed systems.
Installation is swift: you load the main NSM control component and use the deployment tool to install the client on your networked systems. Profiles determine how NSM functions on each client system, a configuration tool is used to customise silent installations, and you can limit user interaction by stopping the client icon appearing on their desktop.
For testing, we used a mix of Windows XP, Vista, 7, 2003 and 2008 systems, and NSM had no problems picking them up and deploying the client to them. NetSupport also provides clients for Mac, Linux and, uniquely, Windows CE devices.
The management console sees a minor redesign, but it's always been very easy to use. Groups of systems are maintained in a tree view in the left pane, which now includes an entry for the auto-dynamic grouping function. This worked perfectly, with it placing our various test clients in the correct groups based on their OS.
Selecting a group shows all its members opposite and the monitor mode displays thumbnails of their screens so you can see easily what each user is up to. Views can also now be customised to show client details such as their wireless status, battery charge levels and installed OS.
Firing up a remote control session doesn't get any easier, as you can just double-click a client's thumbnail. This loads the main View window which shows their screen along with a toolbar across the top to access other features including file transfer, text and audio chats, inventory and sending keyboard commands.
The new quick-access toolbar is available on recently accessed systems, where the client's thumbnail has a bunch of icons beneath allowing you to quickly fire up view, file transfer, registry edit, chat or inventory tools. Integration with Windows Explorer also means you can view the network on a Control system and directly run remote control, chat and inventory.
Security is good, as for client connections there's a choice of four encryption schemes and you can use Active Directory policies. NSM also integrates with NetSupport's Protect software, which prevents unauthorised changes being made to client systems.
NSM can search for and control vPro-enabled systems even if the client isn't installed. We tested this with a Dell Latitude XT2 tablet PC that NSM spotted and loaded into its new vPro group. From a dropdown menu we could remotely power it off and on, reset it and boot it into its BIOS menu.
We could also access the Latitude's vPro web interface directly from NSM and view all of its hardware settings, remotely control power and apply power policies. KVM wasn't a vPro option on the Latitude XT2, but with the client installed we then had access to all the standard NSM features.
If you're in the market for a remote support solution, we'd strongly recommend NetSupport Manager. It's very easy to deploy and use, offers an unbeatable range of features and is competitively priced.
More price details: typical 100 user-licence, £33.60 exc VAT per user up to 100 users. Website: www.netsupportmanager.com
Author: Dave Mitchell
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