How ScreenConnect saved my business!
Updated October 23, 2017

How ScreenConnect saved my business!

Sam Segura | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

I run an IT business as an Independent Consultant - I service my own clients. I collaborate with another IT pros on machines spread across Dallas/FT Worth.

OS: Server 2012R2 / SBS2011 / 2008R2 / DietPi - Linux (phone systems, PBX management, music on hold players) Windows 7/8.1/10 Pro desktops. Little VMWare. Working from a single location, I need to be able to manage many machines remotely and at the same time.

Functions: Remote to the console, run commands on, get some hardware/software inventory data, some alerting on servers, chat with users. Cost must be low enough allow me to work my clients hourly.

  • Cost is low (fraction of LogMeIn and AVG Managed Workplace).
  • I'm using a cloud account. Machine are listed and grouped - major plus.
  • I like the email alerts of when a user sends me a chat message. They simply click on their ScreenConnect task tray and I get the email.
  • Email alerts using flexible and comprehensive criteria. Alerts can be configured so that machines in specific groups will send an email to specific users.
  • I can easily write scripts that can be run on multiple machines.
  • User management is excellent. Giving me very comprehensive flexibility on what groups and functions users have. E.g. I have clients that may do some of their own IT work - I can limit access to specific machines. This lowers their costs and can still use me as an escalation to resolve more critical issues and projects.
  • Storage of passwords for each machine is vital. Makes it quick to log back onto the same servers. Also, I often need to log back onto a machine as the same user - I simply ask them to type their password and can come back in off-hours to finish a job.
  • Once the client is installed, I can start to manage it immediately - BIG PLUS. SC does not force you enter credentials unnecessarily.
  • I'm still getting to know the Report Manager extension, from the Admin page. What I've learned, I like. However it does not have some clean inventory features. Or some other examples I can use. Inventory data is there since it does show up in the General tab when a machine is selected.
  • Tools Manager. When I upload a tool (script) I can run it directly on the machine if the user is logged in or not. But behaves differently if the user is logged in. If logged in, it uses that user's security context. It needs to run behind the scenes w/o the user's knowledge and in an administrator's context.
  • http://status.screenconnect.com/ - only tells me something I already know. If ScreenConnect is working, then I don't need to look at this page. If it's not working, just says it's not (I already know that). We need some more detail about current issues and past issues. If it were to have a history of what is happening then we can have something more to go back to our customers with.
  • There was some maintenance being done on my SC cloud instance. I was not aware of that (at 5.45am granted). But still was in the dark and offline. I was looking on the Amazon Web service status pages (if the N. Virginia data center had an issue) to try to figure out what was happening. It came back online by 6.10am. But I ended taking the next hour or so working on the issue - reason is the tech working my trouble ticket was only told by his escalation "there was a glitch" on my instance. That was pretty worthless information to me. After some arm pulling he was able to get back to me - they were moving my instance to another server that was having some issues.
  • We need a platform that has some more interaction with techs at different levels - very similar to how a forum would work. It would carry the ticket number and a history of the conversation happening. This way there is no misunderstanding.
  • I appreciate very much how there is this mechanism to send feedback. No offense, but it would be a bit more productive if it did not have to go through a 3rd party. If there were a link directly on the Host page that would allow us to create a trouble ticket. The chat session page on the main support site is ok. Something integrated on the main Host page would be better.
  • When using the Host screen for the first time, in FireFox, when joining a session it allows me to download the screenconnect.client.exe. Subsequent joins do the same - prompting to download. Not until you select "try next option" about three times does it give you the option to Download the App and install. And from there Launch Application and check the box saying "Remember my choice for sc-xxxxxxxx" - From then on it automatically starts the session upon doing a Join. This automation should be done as soon as you download the .exe instead of hunting for that option.
  • If I try to join a session to same machine I'm working on it goes into a recursive spiral (like the mirror in front of a mirror). Only upon killing the task does it stop.
  • The following Extensions should be there by design - Additional General Information, Remote System Diagnostics, Report Manager,
  • On the Host page, manually resizing of the page elements would be nice. Lower-Right area block, Left page block.
  • File transfer should not require being in a session. Being able to transfer to multiple machines would also be nice.
  • An executable agent running on my desktop that would work similar to the Host screen. Or, more importantly - would be an IM agent or chat running on my desktop. So if a customer sends a message to me, I don't have to wait for an email alert but I get the message in real time.
  • SNMP like features would be beneficial. Specifically having an alert if a specific condition happens on a server: 1) Single or Multibit memory errors, 2) Hard drive smart or other drive errors, 3) Machine offline if due to failure condition (not simply network offline).
  • Allows me to keep working where other more expensive options I would not use. So ROI - YES!
LogMein - TOO EXPENSIVE - cumbersome, does not work for antivirus and update

AVG Managed Workpalce - TOO EXPENSIVE - sales team does not know how to spot their customer. Took two hours and a webinar for us to decide it was not a good fit.

TeamViewer - somewhat expensive, not flexible management of users.

ScreenConnect #1 in my book!
ScreenConnect is well suited for multiple clients and a couple of colleagues. Cost is great. - an excellent "heavy equipment" tool for working many machines in different environments - ScreenConnect has excellent VALUE.
ScreenConnect is not suited: those wanting a Cadillac - to manage everything, antivirus, updates and software with hand holding the whole way. It is not - and it shouldn't be. There are offerings like LogMeIn and AVG Managed Workplace that attempt that - but fail miserably. TeamViewer is cluncky at best and expensive.

ConnectWise Control Feature Ratings

Screen sharing
10
File transfer
7
Instant message
7
Secure remote access with Smart Card authentication
Not Rated
Access to sleeping/powered-off computers
9
Over-the-Internet remote session
10
Initiate remote control from mobile
7
Remote management of servers & workstations
9
Centralized management dashboard
Not Rated
Session record
Not Rated
Annotations
Not Rated
Monitoring and Alerts
9
Multi-platform remote control
9

Using ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

4 - 1) IT services provider - myself and other partners
2) Administration of ScreenConnect. We share ideas and scripts to help us with our individual businesses
3) My partners and myself have customers with in house IT person. Teaching them how to take advantage of Tools and scripts to deploy to desktops. We add users as needed for those - give them limited access to their machines
4) Collaborators - helping them get off of TeamViewer and onto ScreenConnect - there are those who run their own business but would like to get to know ScreenConnect.
1 - I work independently as a business. I collaborate as much as possible with peers and with my vendors. Basically, it's the tool of my trade and craft as an IT service provider.

Skills:
Comfortable with browser.
If you want to use it's full potential: comfortable with a file management tool and organizing your clients. Store a ScreenConnect executable for each client and assign them a group.
Scripting - being able to write scripts for running specific functions on desktops and servers.

  • Inventory
  • Remote User Support
  • Status of servers
  • Run scripts to remove LogMeIn from a machine.
  • Reports and auditing
ScreenConnect is an awesome tool with powerful functionality

Evaluating ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect) and Competitors

Yes - LogMeIn - TOO EXPENSIVE - DOES NOT WORK - Waste of time and mental stamina. They arrogantly increased their price 4 fold this past year.
LogMein tries to be the all-inclusive product. It has a web based console called LogMeIn Central. Has lots of pretty colors and icons that are worthless.
Antivirus status - A little shield that represents the antivirus status. However, it does not recognize the latest professional full paid versions of AVG (it mistakenly says your machine is running Windows Defender). For each machine, it has a nice button for you to press "update antivirus status" - as if that is something you want to do manually. So you press it - it spins around for quite some time (like that price is right wheel) - and does NOTHING!
Windows updates management - also worthless. You definitely want all of the optional updates installed, right? NOT. There's no way to disable updates as a policy. You can't "hide" updates. Also a pretty button for your to manually update - Which also does NOTHING.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
It is a cost effective and functional product. Better then in-house developed or VNC experiments and less expensive than other alternatives.
Yearly cost:
LogMein - $7200 for 250 machines (went up from $1400 in one year)
AVG Managed workplace - +/- $6500 for 250 machines

So Screenconnect at $840 for 250 machines is reasonable. Let's all hope it stays that way.
Look outside of my current relationships (AVG, TeamViewer, etc.) first. Take a fresh look upon launching my investigation.

I first talked to my AVG partners to investigate AVG Managed Workplace - I call the Grand Dame of IT management. It offers a complex and comprehensive suite of tools that includes antivirus. AVG Antivirus is an excellent and affordable product (of which I am a reseller). After a webinar and much deliberation they pound me with the price tag $7200 for 250 machines. "ya gotta be kidding?" - so much for affordable.

I downloaded some freebee/cheapo stuff AeroAdmin - that just got me a bunch of spam and some confusing conversations with what sounded like an Eastern European based call center/garage. Then came the phising calls and text messages (still dealing with that). You have to have a

TeamViewer (my partners liked). They were offering a $500 deal for 3 users. But after some investigating I come to find their paid for stuff is similar to the free stuff - with machine codes everywhere, not to mention managing username/passwords. Pass on that. However, to be fair I did not create an account and trial. But the basic breakdown on their web site? Nope.

ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect) Implementation

Reach out to IT service providers like myself if you need help with deployment. Standardizing on all your servers and desktops will be a great help. Uninstalling LogMeIn is a nightmare, since you need an admin username and password for each machine before you can run a script on it. Domains are much easier but lone wolves and workgroups are a major chore. Get this done first before attempting to launch your migration. Documentation is VERY important, especially of usernames and passwords where needed. Once you're on ScreenConnect, will help with this.
Get good on scripting for functionality. Much can be done via the Tools function of ScreenConnect - but it will be a mixture of PowerShell/DOS and a little Linux shell.
Yes - For each client
1) I uploaded a task (script) to LogMeIn, one for each customer, to install ScreenConnect. I created an Installer for each client (with the group name included in the msi installer).
2) Upload an uninstall scrip to LogMeIn and ScreenConnect. There are times when a script from LogMeIn does not work. I would then run the script from SC.
3) There are times when not all machines were available for a customer. These would have to be scheduled.
4) schedule an alert (in Logmein) to send me an email when any machine would come back online - quickly run the SC install script.

All of the above required no user intervention. But did take about a month's time to complete.
Change management was minimal - Since I work independantly, it was only me and a couple of others that needed some updating. Very little learning curve, but much script writing. Which had very beneficial results from a business collaboration and mindshare optic.
  • The time it took to remove logmein from all machines. It's time that I cannot bill out to any customers but would have to be part of simply running my business. However, ScreenConnect low impact and no user intervention made the implementation an excellent success!

ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect) Training

  • Online training
  • Self-taught
the web site is VERY comprehensive and has much reference material useful to making triggers
Yes I would recommend those who are comfortable with remote support and scripting do so with an open mind. Not to expect to have everything done for them. But look into using the extensions and do some exercises with their functionality.
Also look into the triggers. You can get very creative with this is you look into the references available .

Configuring ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

It is highly configurable. It also has the flexibility of using it on any device. I build Raspberry Pi devices and use DietPi - a Linux based distribution. On a Pi 2 it is actually usable, but very laggy, especially for writing text. But on Pi3, works beatifully:

Use Win32DiskImager to copy the img file to a microSD card
Copy ScreenConnectClient.sh to card

Plug in microSD, connect network cable, Boot Pi

DietPi Optmized Software:
LXDE Desktop
Additional Software:
SSH Client: OpenSSH
Oracle Java 9 JDK/JRE library
DietPi Config
Autostart Options: LXDE Desktop
Using FireFox... On the workstation where you plan to do your support work...

Install the latest SC client on your machine.
Log onto your instance (xxxxx.screenconnect.com).
When you Join a session for the first time, it will prompt you to download an installer, forgo that.
Click on "Try next option" a couple of times till you get "Download App" - install that.
Next time you join a session, "launch app" and click on the box "remember"

It will now automatically launch the app by a simply "Join" a session.
Yes - we have customized the interface extensively - There are Extensions you can install (lots to choose from). Admin page, Extensions. There are a few I believe should be simply included in your instance:
Additional General Information - great details on CPU, memory and motherboard right on the General tab.
Remote System Diagnostics - VERY useful. I was running into an AVG CloudCare false positive issue, related to old-->new upgrades. this was very helpful to determine if the upgrade was applied to a machine or not.
Report Manager - still getting to know but looks promising
Some - we have added small pieces of custom code - Yes. I've written quite a number of scripts and included them into the Tools section. These are all available in and out of sessions - AWESOME!
CLEANAVGHIST.cmd - clean off AVG history of detection (neatly leave a machine w/ no history)
CLEARSPOOLER.cmd - some Sharp printer drivers choke on slower machines. This will clear the spooler.
Get-SMART-WMIC.CMD - a quick "is your hard drive dying" script
INVENTORY-ALL.CMD - I run this to get a full inventory report if a Windows machine and have it send the report to my FTP server.
LAUNCH-WindowsUpdate-Win10.CMD - when building a machine sometimes you just want to run a winupdate.
PREPBUILD - Run Elevated.CMD - after I ghost a machine with my image I run this to set up basic credentials, folders, etc.
REBOOTME.CMD - reboot machine
Remove-LogMeInPS.CMD - YUP, LOGMEIN - Yer OUTATHERE!
Remove-LogMeInWMIC.CMD - same but different
RemoveGetWindowsX.CMD - Win 7 machines dream come true: Get rid of "Get Windows 10"
SHUTEM.CMD - quickly shut a machine down
This page left blank intentionally (I've often wondered why they print that).

ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect) Support

I believe there should be a better site that has more detailed status of SC network and specific to the individual instance. A good example of an excellent support site is DuoCircle - their service can be better, but their support structure allows for a forum like conversation (with historical info).
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Not kept informed
No - Support is implied on a good product. Having your already paying customers pay extra for better support is like saying "we think we can eak out some more money from those who don't know better". It's a little insulting - but people will pay out of necessity.

Yes - Not really a bug but a suggestion. On screen connect sessions that are launched, I asked if they can put the name of the session in the title of the windows. In 5.6 They did! :-)
I have a cloud account. It was 5.45am and my instance was not working. It had been exactly one month since I had paid for my cloud account. I thought "a billing issue" - I paid for the whole year? I called and in a few minutes I was talking to a real human. The machine hosting my instance was being worked on (I was not aware of it) and the instance was being transferred to another machine. By 6.05am the instance was back on.

I believe that was a successful resolution to what could have been a disastrous situation.

Using ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

On the whole SC is a very powerful tool that is a vital part of the IT service arsenal. On-site visits are an "emergency" only type of scenario. Just "showing your face" is not winning any browny points for me. If my client sees my face, it's usually just to upgrade hardware or to deal other aspects of business. SC provides me and my client the bulk of the info I need to get projects done.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
None
  • Joining a session is a quick right-click
  • running tools (self built scripts) are VERY quick an easy to run. And can be done on multiple machines.
  • User administration is permissions based. Very well thought out.
  • deploying the client is VERY fast and has no user interaction other than just click on the executable.
  • You must be good at writing scripts if you are to take advantage of the Tools section. There are not "prefab" or pre-made tools.
  • Alerts - you must also be at least comfortable with writing scripts. Very powerful tool if you're good
  • Report Manager - it is still just an extension. Very powerful if they can hook into all of the metadata of each machine. No pre-sets or SNMP like data.
Yes - It's getting better over time. MUCH Better than LogMein. I've used it on a Samsung 7" tablet and worked ok.

ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect) Reliability

I started with a couple of machines and added 150 in a one month. No issues. Able to create a separate group for each client and colleague. Set up roles in the user management area.
Now setting up triggers for alerts does not scale so well. Fortunately it's not an issue with 250 machines and a handful of people. But if it were bigger, that would become an issue.
The past 45 days, only had one outage that lasted about 15 minutes. NOT TOO SHABBY! There have been some unexpected reboots and moves but not a show stopper in any way.
Performance is EXCELLENT. I only give it a 9 because the SC client automatically sets the service as a Delayed service. I understand due to the driver diversity issues, etc. That is good thing. I would rather have the light-weight design and wait a few extra seconds after a reboot, then extra bloat code that's simply checking to see if a video driver and any other driver is ready to go before launching. Maybe something might get streamlined?

Integrating ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

  • Windows Server 2012R2 VH Host
  • Windows Server 2012R2 Standard running as a VM
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Still going to experiment with Odroid C2 - waiting for the devices to come in.
  • Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 - all work well.
  • MAC OS
For Raspberry PI, Use DietPi. Install LXDE interface. W/o it you get a black screen. Do a simple build. Leave SSH and SSH client. If not needed, No Samba. SC takes up precious CPU, so run overclocked with a good heatsink. Use Pi3 and not Pi2. The extra CPU makes a difference. Create a separate build and image for Pi3 - even though they are interchangeable, Pi3 that came from a Pi2 image will tank the CPU.
  • Odroid C2
  • Mac OS
And other Linux distros
Have not used these
I might look into using FreshBooks with ScreenConnect

Relationship with ConnectWise

He answered all of the questions I had and was readily available. He did follow ups as needed and we kept in contact.
Did follow up as needed. Much appreciated.
250 machines. Multiple users. Very flexible and very affordable.
Not really. All went well

Upgrading ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect)

Yes - I'm in the process of moving from 5.5 to 5.6. I worked with one of my customers to upgrade his machines. So far, no issues. All as planned.
  • Small esthetics mainly. Still working with
  • Hopefully some better reporting. Easier to set up and manage.
Yes - I started with a trail for about 2 weeks. Then purchased cloud account