(This is the third post of this series.)

WinVNC (aka RealVNC) was initially developed by AT&T Laboratories. It was created in order to remotely access machines regardless of platform (n.b. VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing). The program is now known as RealVNC. Originally, AT&T made the project open-source and now there appear to be a group of the original developers selling more powerful options — mostly security related — under the new name.

I have worked with the freeware version of the program, back when it was called WinVNC. RealVNC still offers the free version. The program's ability to install on multiple platforms, including Linux is its real strength, aside from being free. Like DameWare, RealVNC is small, about 150kb. Also like DameWare, and unlike Remote Desktop Connection, the actions that are taken by the client on the host computer are completely transparent. This feature can be quite useful if you hope to train a computer user on a problem while you are sitting somewhere else.

RealVNC does suffer from latency, even worse than DameWare. It is not very useable with DOS programs because of the RealVNC's refresh rate and the way in which DOS text appears. That said, who uses DOS interfaces anymore? With all of these programs, it helps to have a fast (10MB+) and reliable connection to the host computer. I have worked in large, older buildings and I have found that Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection is the fastest, but that DameWare comes in a close second, with RealVNC solidly in third place.

RealVNC requires that both a host and a client are installed.

Please note that on May 16, 2006 there was an exploit found for RealVNC and thus any clients/servers should be updated. I have personally seen this exploit occur to a nearly forgotten test machine I had running.