Real VNC Free and Windows 7

I just started deploying Windows 7 on computers a little at offices and started running into a problem with the Free Edition of VNC. The version is 4.1.3 I think (though the Personal Edition is up to around 4.6). The software installs, but the first thing you notice is the lack of an icon in the system tray. The service says it is running, but when you attempt to connect the connection is refused. I did some digging because I had a Windows 7 computer I had to make work with VNC. I found an article that pertains to Windows Vista but also applies to 7. The article mentions unregistering VNC as a service, then using the software in user mode. I had to run the unregister service command from the start menu as an administrator, but it worked. In user mode VNC will now work on Windows 7, but I also added a shortcut to the startup folder so VNC would load at login.

Apparently the Personal Edition does not have this problem (maybe Real VNC is in no rush to update their Free Edition and would rather have you buy a license). I have a license of the Personal Edition for one computer at each of our offices, but I am not going to buy a license to connect to the computers occasionally. I like the Personal Edition, though, because it encrypts the connection and lets you print from a remote computer locally.

Another online post suggested using the free version of TightVNC which works with Windows 7. I did try TightVNC and have decided to use it for now because it installs easy, works with Windows 7, and even creates a firewall rule for itself during install (something RealVNC’s Free Edition does not). Using RealVNC’s personal edition viewer I had no problem connecting to a computer running TightVNC.

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