LogMeIn Ends Free Service: Thanks for the Memories

To be honest, I'm kind of surprised the free version of LogMeIn lasted this long.

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The "sorry, it's over" message greeting LogMeIn users.

To be honest, I’m kind of surprised the free version of LogMeIn lasted this long.

On the most basic level, the software works as follows: You install a piece of always-running software on one computer, at which point you’re able to remotely access that computer from another computer (or tablet or phone) located anywhere you have decent internet access. It’s as though you’re sitting in front of the computer – with all the icons, folders and whatnot — but you’re manipulating it from a web browser. The main computer, of course, has to be connected to the internet and can’t be totally powered down.

Back about a decade ago, I ran a Geek Squad-style consulting service, where I’d go to people’s houses and fix their computers. Most of the time, these were quick fixes that required an hour of drive time and 15 minutes of actual work, so I eventually hammered out a deal with many of my clients wherein I’d just install LogMeIn on their machines and access those machines remotely whenever those clients needed help. They didn’t have to wait around for me to show up, and I didn’t need to drive all around town. Win? Win.

That I was able to install this software on dozens of machines and not have to pay for it was amazing at the time (and is still kind of amazing nowadays). I had previously shelled out $800 for glorified VNC software (look it up, or don’t), and eventually just cobbled together my own VNC setup, but LogMeIn always seemed to be more reliable and required little to no interaction on the part of my clients.

So now the deal is $49 a year for the ability to connect to two computers; $129 for access to five computers; $229 for access to 10 computers. These are apparently limited-time discounts, down from $99, $249 and $449, respectively. There’s also a service called LogMeIn Central that starts at $299 a year for up to 100 computers. That’s still a relative pittance if you do a lot of this type of work.

For everyone else – parents, grandparents, in-laws – the old “Can you just take a quick look at my computer?” is only going to last for another seven days.