What is it: a file-transfer and remote-access package for notebook PCs
Applications: remote access; notebook-to-desktop connectivity; encrypted file transfers; and downloading files from the Internet.
Laplink has come a long way since it was first developed as a basic file-transfer tool for serial connections between two PCs. Version 7.5 is for Windows 95 users and provides the type of sophisticated connectivity options normally found in multi-function remote-access packages.
The software comes with both serial and parallel cables. This gives flexibility to desktop computer users who have all sorts of other devices in their I/O ports. The software also supports modems, TCP/IP and IPX networking protocols, the Windows 95 dial-up networking configuration and even wireless infra-red links over IRDA, HSPSIR and Airshare.
A complete installation takes only 7Mb of disk space. It is disappointing that there is no remote install facility which would copy the software directly to a desktop across a newly configured cable link. Laplink has to be installed on every PC from the five supplied disks. Although laborious, it is more secure.
The Laplink interface uses tool buttons to access each type of connection, and is very easy to use. Quicksteps, an on-screen help file, appears by default to guide you through every step of Laplink's configuration and connection, whether or not you want to. Once a successful connection has been established, it can be saved as a desktop icon.
Drag-and-drop is used to copy documents, and the transfer screen displays the data directories on both hard drives. You can choose to always overwrite older versions of files, and interrupted file transfers are automatically resumed. The process of copying an 18Mb file across a parallel link takes less than five minutes.
The Smart Xchange agent is an excellent feature. It identifies variations in files of the same name on separate hard disks and has the option of overwriting, copying or saving under different names. Using a combination of timers and file filters, it can be configured to establish a connection automatically and compare the contents of files or directories before implementing a user-defined action.
There are three levels of security, which include a protected system that authorises specified users only, and it has encryption capabilities which ensure the contents of transferred files cannot be intercepted.
The remote control has been improved using optional parameters which control the display of host and remote computer screens. Windows bitmap graphics can be blanked to ensure faster refresh rates. Screen resolutions can also be standardised for optimum remote display.
Two remote users can interact in chat mode, and colleagues can even work on the same document simultaneously using the integrated shared clipboard.
Those with the Microsoft TCP/IP stack can use Laplink 7.5 for Internet connection.
Verdict: more than just a file-transfer utility for notebook PCs, Laplink has expanded to include features usually found in fully-fledged remote-access packages.
Contact: Traveling Software on 01344 409056 or at www.travsoft.com
Price: u149.95; u19.95 upgrade from v7; u49.95 to registered users of other TS products.
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