To be sure, we have no shortage of remote assistance/remote desktop software products. Perhaps you're accustomed to Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Connection in Windows. Or maybe you use the remote desktop capabilities built into your service desk solution.
Devolutions, the maker of Remote Desktop Manager, has released a new remote desktop/remote support product called Wayk Now that attempts to make remote assistance as clear and simple as possible. Here's the elevator pitch:
- Simple client/server app that requires no local installation
- Cross platform - runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux
- Can be used without elevated permissions
- Employs TLS 1.2 for connection security and (basic) authentication
According to Devolutions, Wayk Now is currently and will remain free in the future for personal/non-commercial use. To be able to use it in a commercial environment, you can expect to pay $59.99/user/year. A Site license (unlimited users, single location) is also available at $1249.99/year as well as a Global license (unlimited users, multiple locations) at $2499.99/year.
Go ahead and download the product. On Windows, you'll get a single executable weighing in at 1.7 MB that runs in-place with no persistent installation footprint. The executable includes both the server and client capabilities in a single image.
That said, upon first launch Wayk creates a directory in the path %appdata%\Wayk that contains the following assets:
- WaykNow.cfg: Application configuration file
- WaykNow.crt: TLS certificate for incoming connections
- WaykNow.key: Private key for the certificate
- known_hosts: List of known host for certificate exception handling
- logs: Log file repository
Before we get into using Wayk Now, please remember that we're dealing with a first release and the program has ways to go before it can be called fully functional remote assistance software. Read the online help, and check the user forum for developments.
Using Wayk Now - a case study
Let's imagine we're a systems administrator for a medium-sized medical office. Pat, one of your users, sends you an e-mail letting you know that she's having problems with her computer.
Because you're too busy to leave your desk, you decide to use Wayk Now to perform a remote assistance connection to Pat's Windows 10 Enterprise Edition computer. You begin by sending Pat a copy of the WaykNow executable and asking her to start the program.
Remember that Wayk Now doesn't require administrative credentials, so Pat is able to complete this action successfully.
As you can see in the previous screen capture, the Wayk Now program displays the server side (Allow Remote Control) on the left, and the client side (Take Remote Control) on the right. In this case, you instruct Pat to choose her computer's IP address from the Source ID drop-down list box, and to tell you the automatically generated password.
Note that the Password field has a Regenerate button to make it easier to refresh the connection password.
On your system, you start your Wayk Now program, type Pat's IP address into the Target ID field, and press Connect.
Upon first connection, you'll be asked to create a certificate exception for Pat's computer. Check out the following screenshot to see what's going on with the underlying TLS 1.2 authentication and encryption.
If I accept this self-signed digital certificate, then Wayk Now stores Pat's IP address and a hash certificate in the known_hosts file on my system.
With connection authentication and data encryption out of the way, you're then prompted for the connection password that, in this case, Pat provided to you. By default, Wayk Now uses Secure Remote Password (SRP) for password security.
Once you're in, you have full remote control of Pat's system!
So...this isn't Windows Remote Assistance. Wayk Now is meant to be a quick, lightweight, and remote assistance tool, so we have no chat panel or other remote support niceties. However, what we do have is file transfer and clipboard sharing. You can access the File Transfer tool from the Wayk Now control box, as shown in the following image.
When Wayk Now is running, its icon shows up in the notification area of the Taskbar, as shown below. In this case, we'd instruct Pat to open the fly-out menu and click either Disconnect Client or Exit Wayk Now to kill the remote connection and return her system to single-user mode.
Preferences and wrap-up
From the Wayk Now interface, click Options to invoke the application preferences window. I've created a four-panel composite in the following image so you can see every option in one view.
- General: Application startup preferences
- Security: Static or generated password; password policy
- Advanced: Connection video quality and logging verbosity
- Access Control: Configure default access levels
According to Devolutions, Wayk Now communicates over TCP port 4489, so this means that you should be able to forward that port and use Wayk Now over the Internet. However, the developer says that the Internet scenario (including stuff like NAT traversal) is in progress and will be added to a later product build.
From what I've used of Wayk Now, it's a decent tool for the price (free for non-commercial use). I like the fact that the program runs without need for either administrative elevation or local administration.
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Moreover, you can use Wayk Now within Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager as part of your arsenal. You will need a valid license and have Wayk Now installed and running on your remote machine/server.