AnyDesk in competition with TeamViewer

The Right Settings

Working with AnyDesk is pretty easy. In Windows, all you need to do is run the 1.7MB EXE file. At the end of the session, the software will ask whether you want to install the program. If you copy it onto a USB flash drive, the software can be used anywhere. However, according to the developers, such a standalone version will not be available for Linux in the foreseeable future.

After starting up the interface, open the Settings (Figure 1), which are hidden in the top-right corner behind the horizontal lines. Here you can activate the password-protected silent mode, which allows you to access an unattended PC remotely – the only requirement is that AnyDesk is running on both machines.

Figure 1: The settings allow silent remote access to the computer – in theory. This often fails in practice, because the software doesn't always note the access password.

The software also lets you log in to the computer without entering a password. This is an option when first starting in silent mode when entering the password.

The Interface

AnyDesk's main window appears self-explanatory at first glance and is divided into two areas: This Desk and Remote Desk (Figure 2). The former is usually the host name of the computer at which you are sitting.

Figure 2: AnyDesk's main window is essentially limited to input on the computer to which you want to connect.

To establish a connection with another computer on the LAN, you need to enter its hostname or IP address in the second input field. This creates a direct session via the 7070/TCP port without the need to go through an external AnyDesk server. On the other hand, AnyNet (AnyDesk's network) handles sessions outside the local network. To do so, the software on the other side generates a unique key when started, and you can enter this key in the input field next to Remote Desk.

Once the connection is established, a window opens on the computer to be administered that indicates the connection request. The other side can then also specify the permissions (Figure 3). The functions that are always available are controlling the remote computer, using the clipboard, and file sharing. A small symbol next to the settings icon also makes it possible to exchange text messages (Figure 4).

Figure 3: AnyDesk requires explicit approval of the connection setup on the remote computer. This is where the permissions granted are specified.
Figure 4: The integrated chat function makes it possible to exchange messages directly.

Mainly Bright

AnyDesk left a mixed impression during testing with the beta version for Linux. The good news: In terms of security, the tool uses TSL 1.2, better known as SSL, in the latest version. The program cryptographically verifies all connection participants. Both the speed and the quality of the display were impressive with limited strain on bandwidth. Basic access to computers worked reliably in the test, whether on remote PCs or on the local network.

However, several errors currently affect working with AnyDesk. For example, I recorded several disconnections in the Linux network, after which I had to terminate the AnyDesk process using the kill command before I could restore the connection.

It wasn't possible to use silent mode on the LAN, either – apparently because AnyDesk hadn't saved the stored password. These errors occurred more frequently in environments based on the Qt framework; GTK environments had significantly fewer errors.

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