Live Mesh vs. FolderShare and LogMeIn RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi all,
    i have very high hopes for Live Mesh, as it essentially combines much of what I currently do with the combination of FolderShare and a number of free LogMeIn accounts.
    Unfortunately the Mesh remote desktop performance is truly abysmal -- which I don't quite understand, as basically it's using the same "mirror driver" approach as LogMeIn. Part of the problem seems to be that it always runs at what seems the highest resolution (I mean number of colours), while logmein for example automatically falls back to a low colour mode if the connection is too slow.
    "Slow" doesn't quite cover the problem -- It's really absolutely useless. No way you can do any proper work over such a slow connection.
    Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be a way to allow other users to access the remote desktop on one's mesh devices, which isn't a problem with LogMeIn, where a temporary invitation can be sent via mail, but where you can also create additional "administrator" or "secondary user" accounts for other people, then further specify which level of access they get, whether they need permission or not, etc. I'm still talking about the FREE features of course, there's no point comparing a free Mesh service with a competitor's subscription-based services.
    I support a lot of friends, family, and colleagues using this "foldershare + logmein" combination. I can access about 50 different computers from my free logmein account. I cannot use logmein's file transfer, as this is not a free feature, but then i've got a common FolderShare library where everybody has Editor rights, so I can quickly transfer files between computers when I need to.
    I really hope Live Mesh will further improve and extend its services, so that the features I'm talking about here become a reality and the remote desktop performance becomes acceptable. This is quite important for people trying to help others without making money from it. Years ago, I'd have had to fiddle with Remote Assistance and drive around a lot to offer support that I can now do from anywhere 95% of the time now. But the limits of Remote Assistance (especially not being able to log off without losing the connection, and needing approval every time, forcing the other user to remain at his PC, even if I need to work on it for hours with frequent reboots) means Remote Assistance is not an option.
    So please, take some clues from logmein's huge success, and as some people already suggested, integrate Live Mesh with FolderShare, with Skydrive, and especially with the current "production" versions of Live Messenger; make it possible to give other users access to your remote desktop(s) through e-mail invites, and implement this in such a way that we can enable "invitation required" (or not) individually on each device.
    Obviously some new interface will be needed to list all the different computers you have access to as a "secondary" user. Devices should be grouped by "owner", and/or you should be able to group your devices by creating groups (this is also a feature in logmein; it's a bit like the groups in Messenger).

    The day that happens, Live Mesh will be all I need.
    Monday, December 8, 2008 11:13 PM

All replies

  • I've not seen your speed issues with the Remote connections I've done to my few PCs in my mesh.

    I find the other features you describe interesting, though. I can see some circumstances where having someone else being able to look at a remote PC useful. Probably should add that to the Suggestions thread.
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 1:04 AM
  • Hi Zillion,

    Thank you for the detailed suggestion.  I've passed your feedback on to our developers; hearing from customers helps us prioritize what to work on, so we really do appreciate you taking the time to let us know what you'd like to see from Live Mesh in the future.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 4:48 PM
  • yes please allow us to share desktops like you can folders with other mesh members.
    I should be able to rdp into my girl friends mesh computer without havign to have her in my mesh.
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:13 PM
  • If we could connect to devices NOT in the mesh then it is NOT a mesh.  We should keep the main functionality as is.  I don't see the big deal in adding to the mesh a device that you want to remote desktop into.  My 2 cents.
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:42 PM
  • the big deal is that machine can then see all the devices in the mesh.
    you should be able to rdp between meshes just like you can with files.
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 10:56 PM
  • I'd have to add a +1 to that - it would be cool to be able to add a "bridge" between meshes which would allow you to access only a specific machine similar to what happens when you share only a specific folder from your mesh.
    Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:52 AM
  • Personally I don't want to go into a discussion of what does or doesn't constitue a Mesh.
    Fact is, Microsoft currently doesn't have a workable, perfomant, and free offering for what many of us do every day: helping out friends and family with their computer issues.
    The days of having to go to their place for every little problem are thankfully gone, thanks to the Internet and a number of excellent free tools.
    Having a single interface where you can view all computers to which you have access is quite essential. It absolutely has to be free, installation on the client side has to be dead simple (because "dummy" users on the other side need to do the install themselves and somehow "invite" us to access their computer), has to be 100% UPnP compliant so that it can cross standard routers & firewalls without intervention, and it has to be fast enough to be workable.
    So I'm not including VNC here -- too complex to install, no free interface to access all computers, no proper "invitation" system, complicated firewall setup for end users. It has to use a system service, because it must be able to start automatically when the PC reboots, and it must work without needing a console logon on the remote computer, so that the PC can be accessed -- if permitted -- without user intervention.
    So I'm also excluding Windows Remote Assistance here -- no access without permission, no access without a user logged on to the computer needing assistance, and it has trouble with many firewalls and often doesn't work when mixing XP and Vista clients.
    I'm also excluding CrossLoop for the moment -- the authorization process is cumbersome, and the performance is pretty bad (sort of like VNC). And yes, VNC's performance is not good. Anybody who'd object to this: give LogMeIn Free a try and you'll see what I mean.
    @GuyWithDogs above: sorry, but you just cannot be right. Probably you've never compared with another product. Maybe what you find "ok" is unacceptable to me. I don't want to wait 2 to 5 seconds for a screen refresh when i'm controllling a remote computer. Same remark as above: try LogMeIn and compare.
    LogMeIn -- to which I'm not affiliated, I'm just a fan -- has been giving us that for quite some time. All it misses in the "free" version is file transfer (only available to subscription users). I'm absolutely not trying to convince people to use LogMeIn -- rather, I'm challenging Microsoft to produce something as good, as functional (or even more) and free, and crush the competition :-).
    Microsoft could, and really should, offer such a tool
    . I'd love to be able to stop using LogMeIn. I'd love to be able to use my Windows Live ID for this. I'd love to see this integrated in Windows Live Messenger, in Mesh, and in SkyDrive, and even in Windows Live Sync, so we'd have a platform to quickly transfer files between the "helping" and "helped" computer. It should be simple to invite someone to assist you -- again, Messenger and Windows Live ID integration is critical. There should be a simple interface, that's presented to the user who's in need for help, to specify "This user can access my computer without first asking for permission" and "This is a one time only invitation" or something similar. Once the connection is made, the "helping" user should be able to find more options, where more detailed permissions can be set permanently, like "Ask for permission every time", "Automatically accept after a 'x' second timeout", etc. There should be several "levels" or "profiles" for the users with remote access: "administrator", "standard user", etc. There should be an option "Administrators always have access without permission" which you can enable or disable.
    Also, there should be an interface to do remote reboots, logoffs and shutdowns without needing to actually log on to the remote computer. The "helped" user should be able to find a clear and easy setup screen where he can see who as which access to this computer. The current permissions screen for libraries in the new Windows Live Sync could be a good start, as it's actually quite nice.
    Just my two cents and a little more.... :-)
    Any way, keep up the good work guys, we're getting there...
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 1:41 AM
  • Zillion_ said:

    It absolutely has to be free, installation on the client side has to be dead simple (because "dummy" users on the other side need to do the install themselves and somehow "invite" us to access their computer), has to be 100% UPnP compliant so that it can cross standard routers & firewalls without intervention, and it has to be fast enough to be workable.

    Pardon me for dropping in. But Windows Live Messenger and the built-in Remote Assistance works excellent. No worries about Firewalls and Proxies. I know that many people don't even think about that the Windows Live Messenger can be used as an assistance tool. But believe me - it works!
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 10:21 AM
  • Sorry but please at least take the time to READ the subject matter and the complete posts before replying.
    I exclude Remote Assistance as a support tool because it requires presence of the "assisted" user on the remote pc, and it cannot be used to access the logon prompt. You cannot logoff a windows session while connected through RA and log on again. (Note: ok on a Domain there's a GPO allowing admins direct access to remote PCs through RA without prior invitation, but that's only for businesses, while i'm talking about a tool for community-based support here).
    Furthermore, RA fails very often when connecting from a Vista PC to a Windows XP PC, especially if both PCs are behind routers. haven't tried it the other way around, I don't even know if it's possible.
    The major issue of RA is that the "helping" computer must directly connect the computer where help is needed. Services lig LogMeIn and Mesh rely on a local client which connects to a central server, so that connections can be established initially on this central server, which overcomes many router / firewall problems, as the pc where help is needed already has an outgoing connection to that server, which the "helping" PC will use to access it.

    (that didn't come out as clearly as I intenden, but I think I got my point across).
    Sunday, December 14, 2008 2:15 AM
  • To me (and yes, I read both posts, in full) the functionality you are describing sounds exactly like a Mesh application, rather than an actual feature of Live Mesh. In fact, I would go so far as to say that including the functionality that you are talking about would totally change the direction that Live Mesh is heading in, from a personal tool for syncing one's life to a support tool. Most of the options that you are describing are highly specialised and while would make an awesome app, do not seem to be directly related to Live Mesh itself.

    That said, there hasn't been a lot of clear discussion around where Microsoft intends to take the Live Mesh client in terms of functionality - i.e. what will be left to the "application" layer and what will actually be implemented as part of the official Live Mesh client.

    All together, all of the features that you have mentioned sound like an awesome tool for someone to create, based on the Live Mesh (depending on framework restrictions) framework. Don't know what the incentive would be for a free tool though? :(
    Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:25 PM
  • implementing it into what's already there seems trivial from the outside.
    remote desktop is there.
    the sharing folders part is there, so extend it for remote desktop sharing.
    Sunday, December 14, 2008 4:01 PM
  • Trolane said:

    the big deal is that machine can then see all the devices in the mesh.
    you should be able to rdp between meshes just like you can with files.

    If you add your girlfriend's computer to your mesh, can she really see all the devices on your mesh (assuming that she doesn't know your LiveID password, and you have a separate user account on her computer)?
    Stefan Krueger, Microsoft Windows Installer MVP, www.InstallSite.org
    Monday, December 15, 2008 3:07 PM
  • That's fine if the other users don't want there own mesh, actually i don't know if it is because is the mesh installed on all profiles?
    this isnt a shared machine, its her machine anyways.
    I already have her on her own mesh.

    Monday, December 15, 2008 3:11 PM
  • On one of the computers in our house, my son and I both use Live Mesh. Each of us has his own user account on the computer (he as a restricted user, I as admin user), and each of us has his own Live Mesh account. He can't see the devices on my Mesh, so it works as I expected. Do you get different results? Should I expect any problems (security, privacy) with our setup?
    Stefan Krueger, Microsoft Windows Installer MVP, www.InstallSite.org
    Monday, December 15, 2008 3:44 PM
  • I think that the request is more for the ability to share remote desktops between meshes so that if your son's account was on a separate machine but he still wanted you to have access to his machine, he could share his Remote Desktop with you, like a folder, but not actually give you access to any other aspects of his mesh (so you would either have shared devices or like a link to someone else's Remote Desktop on your Live Desktop.

    At least that's my understanding...
    Monday, December 15, 2008 4:10 PM
  • Yes, sorry for driving this thread a little off topic. But I was confused by Trolane's post.
    Stefan Krueger, Microsoft MVP - Windows Installer, www.InstallSite.org
    Monday, December 15, 2008 5:55 PM
  • I'm completely agree with Zillion.
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 3:11 PM
  • I have to agree that:
    1) Mesh is a great concept.
    2) Remote control is an absolute must (remote assistance doesn't cut it).
    3) mesh's current remote control performance is terrible....bordering on the unuseable.

    With all of Microsoft's RDP experience, they should have a decent remote desktop implementation with mesh.  As it is, I can't really recommend mesh as a solution.  I guess it's back to logmein

    Friday, June 12, 2009 9:48 PM