Crossloop: A Lifesaver for Remotely Troubleshooting Granny's Computer

by JoHarrington

Frustrated by trying to fix a computer by telephone? Crossloop is a free must-have for family go-to geeks everywhere.

It's never fun trying to describe how to fix a computer over the telephone. Crossloop is a free program which takes that difficulty away.

You can sit in the comfort of your own home, while operating a PC miles away. In another country, if you so wish!

Moreover, it's completely safe. Each access is only for a single session, which can be ended at any time. Once the connection is cut, the remote computer can no longer access your own (or vice versa).

It's saved me hours of frustration. Enjoy!

Why Geeks Need Crossloop

Loving your family comes naturally; but sitting on the other end of a 'phone, trying to explain how to switch their computer on, would test the patience of a saint.

We've all been there. We're the family geeks and so every tiny thing that goes wrong on anyone's computer results in a 'phone call to us.

This is fine when auntie, uncle, grandparent or whoever is just down the road. It's easier to grab your coat and head on over there. It might only take ten minutes and it will earn you brownie points.

At least there's usually a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake in it for whoever can remove the virus, identify the strange flashing light, configure emails or reset the homepage.

But what happens when your computer illiterate loved one is miles away? As a veteran and a survivor of those calls, I can tell you with absolute clarity. It's a recipe for writing off the next hour, while trying to persuade the person on the other side to just press the right button, click the right icon, open the blooming start menu...

You're not only the geek here. You're a counselor too. Things are repeated over and over again, because they've forgotten what you wanted them to press. They were too busy apologizing for interrupting you or else telling you for the 10th time in five minutes that they don't know a thing about computers. There was none of this in their day. It's all a confusing muddle. They're putting it through the window in a minute. Sorry, what did you want them to press again?

It's difficult not to feel like Roy from The IT Crowd at times, answering each 'phone call with, "Did you try turning it off and on again?"  But help is at hand.

IT Crowd: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Roy gets frustrated by saying the same thing over and over again to computer illiterate noobs.

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Why Grandparents Need Crossloop

It seems like some people are born knowing advanced technology. You're not one of them and PCs are expensive. What if you break something?!

It's like being expected to speak a whole new language instantly. The person on the other end of the telephone is saying things like, "You need to run CMD and flush the DNS. If that fails, then clear the Java cache in the control panel."

They're saying it slowly and loudly, as if that will suddenly confer upon you a degree in Computer Science. You wished it would. That would save you from feeling so patronized by a kid, whom you recall being in nappies.

It's humiliating to have to ask their help, when it's obvious that they think you quite stupid. You're being told to open the start menu, but nothing on your screen says 'start'. Look at the 'desktop', it's in the bottom left-hand corner. In your lexicon, the desktop is the piece of furniture made of wood or formica, on which your keyboard rests.

You feel like cringing, as you have to ask, "What's the desktop again?" That sigh and strained tone, on the other side of the telephone, tells you that you're straining their patience to the limit. You try to explain that, when you were their age, there weren't even televisions in most people's houses. Sir Tim Berners-Lee hadn't even been born, let alone invented the world wide web. People had conversations face to face and worried about putting food on the table, while bombs were falling from the sky.

Even when you've located the start button, there's nothing inside that says 'Run'. You're on Windows 7.

It would be so much easier if they'd just pop round and click these buttons themselves. It would get them out of the house for a start and it would be nice to see them. You could perhaps teach them proper social interaction by example. A real conversation over a cup of tea and a slice of cake. In the old days, there was no cake unless everyone put their ration books together. Even then, powdered eggs made it taste funny. The cake really was a lie.

Unfortunately, they're so far away, studying at that fancy university or gone to the city to find work. So you'll have to survive this telephone call, feeling ridiculous and trying desperately to make them understand that it's not your fault. You weren't born knowing advanced technology. You were born knowing the real world instead.

But there is a compromise here. They could virtually come over and that's the best of both worlds.

The Piano

An old man shares his life story with his young grandchild through evocative music.

What is Crossloop?

The simple way to remotely access a computer for as long as it takes to put things right.

The first time I discovered Crossloop, I wanted to prostrate myself in front of the developers and kiss their feet until the end of time. I'm pretty sure that my elderly uncle felt the same, though probably with a little more decorum.

We were both veterans of seemingly endless hours of those telephone calls. This time his computer had been infected with a virus that was reasonably complicated to remove. Even I had to give it some thought. I'd have to go into the registry and other high risk areas; or, more to the point, I'd have to describe to him how to do these things.

I searched for an alternative and found a comment in a forum recommending Crossloop. It was free. It was easy to download. It allowed me to operate my uncle's computer from my own house. I cleared out that virus so fast. Moreover, I took the opportunity to do a bit of basic PC housework, which forestalled many other future problems.

My uncle merely sat back and watched, as his cursor moved across the screen and files opened up, ran programs and closed again. I was talking to him on the telephone as I did it. I was able to demonstrate things in minutes, which would have taken an hour to explain. It was sociable and relaxed. I quite enjoyed it and, at the end of the session, the computer was running beautifully.

Downloading Crossloop

Crossloop is free to download and use, though there is a Pro version for more advanced users.

The latter is really targeting businesses, which want to utilize the program to assist their clients. Family geeks will only require the free one.

The directions for installing Crossloop are all included in the download links.

Choose your operating system and follow the official guidelines. Each step is illustrated with screenshots.

This is a safe piece of freeware, provided by a genuine company. I've been using it for a couple of years with no problems at all.

I do not work for the company, neither do I get any commission from recommending it. I'm merely a very grateful customer.

Crossloop Links

The official homesite of Crossloop, with further information and download links.

Download Crossloop for Windows
This is where you can get Crossloop for Windows.

Download Crossloop for Mac
This is where you can get Crossloop for Mac.

CNet Review of Crossloop
This site of knowledgable geeks rated it 'Excellent'.

Snapfiles User Review of Crossloop
The Snapfiles public reviewers have voted it five stars.

PCWorld Review of Crossloop
This large electronics chain labelled it: 'Free and blissfully easy to use, CrossLoop is a must for anyone trying to troubleshoot a remote PC.'

How to Use Crossloop

One basic interface; one computer-to-computer call.

Once Crossloop has downloaded, click on the icon and you will be invited to register on the site. There are benefits to registering, including a newsletter to keep you up to date with tweaks and other news.

This isn't strictly necessary though, so click 'tell me later' and the Crossloop interface will pop up. It is pictured to the left.

Use the default name or else type over it with your own name. This is the access box. This is for the geeks. All they need is the access code in order to connect with a remote computer at the other end.


Click the 'share' tab and this session's access code is displayed. It changes each time you open Crossloop. Access is for one session only, so no-one will be able to gain control of the remote computer permanently.

This is for the person who wants a geek inside their PC fixing everything. If you trust someone to look at your computer for you, then tell them the access code.

They will copy or type the code into the box on the first tab. This will prompt a request for access on the remote computer. Approve it and they are in.

You just have to sit back and either watch, or go and do something else, until your computer is fixed.

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How Safe is Crossloop?

Hackers, viruses and other dangers make remote computer access sound terrifying, so should you trust this software?

The Crossloop access code should only be given to someone whom you trust. You are effectively handing over control, as if they were sitting in your computer chair, using your mouse and keyboard. Of course things could go wrong, if they really wanted to mess things up.

However, there are some built-in tools for protecting yourself.

  • The Access Code is for one session only. As soon as either side has disconnected that Crossloop call, the access code will change. This means that another code will have to be given before your geek can get back into your computer.
  • The host computer user can over-ride the remote one. Even if Crossloop has been used to allow a geek into your computer, you never relinquish full control. You can still use your own mouse and keyboard; and your computer will prioritize your use over that of the remote user.
  • You can instantly cut the remote connection. As soon as you press the 'disconnect' button on the Crossloop interface, or else switch the computer off, the remote user cannot access your PC.

In short, Crossloop cannot be used later in the day, when you're not watching, for malicious purposes. The remote user simply would not be able to get in.

Crossloop is not only safe and easy to use, but it'll save the sanity of everyone who needs to download it. Enjoy!

Crossloop News

Windows changes: Fixed bug where access code sessions started in -multi mode displaying incorrect computer name in viewer title bar,...
Eric Schuermann invites us Backstage at Rockstar Computer: Eric Schuermann is the owner of Rockstar Computers, a computer sales &...
Meet Eryk – a Silicon Valley computer security Expert who uses the CrossLoop Product Center to grow his business and...
Now your customers can purchase services and products using PayPal as well as major credit cards. This makes the payment...

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Updated: 03/10/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 02/28/2012

Eugene, I have deleted your comment. The Ammyy Scam is very well-known.

My apologies if your link was left here in all innocence, but I don't want to take the risk with software that a) I haven't thoroughly tested myself; and b) which has such an horrific reputation amongst my friends.

JoHarrington on 01/04/2012

Sorry, been away for a few days, but back now. :)

Sheilamarie - Thanks! And I have to agree with you on the usefulness of Crossloop. It's saved me several times.

FuturisticWriter - You're welcome. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me! You just have to get them to download Crossloop, which can be tricky; either that or go there and download it yourself. :D

sheilamarie on 01/01/2012

Very useful product for those who need a little help now and then. I love your article, Jo! Congrats on the award!

JoHarrington on 12/30/2011

Jimmie - I'm glad that you liked it. I can thoroughly emphasise with that annoyance too. If I'm calling someone, then it really is in desperation. I know how to flush my own DNS, thank you very much! So when it starts with 'have you tried switching it on and off?' I just want to cry.

But I've been on the other side of the equation 100s of times. I had one quite recently where they literally had forgotten to switch the plug on in the wall. -.-

I can testify that, as that child (once, bit older now!), Crossloop is definitely a lifesaver.

Jimmie on 12/30/2011

What a fantastic product! And your commentary is so spot on and humorous. I have to say that it is annoying to be on the other end of IT calls when they tell you to reboot. DUH. I wouldn't be calling you if that solved the problem. But I guess that lots of people don't try that first.
I had a company remotely control my computer once. It was pretty freaky, but they fixed my issue (with a VPN). I can see how this would be wonderful for a child off at college as well as a mom, dad, or grandparent.

JoHarrington on 12/30/2011

Hi Dustytoes, thank you very much!

I'm unfamiliar with 'log me in', but anyone developing programs like this has my undying gratitude! I'll have to check it out.

dustytoes on 12/30/2011

This sounds like "log me in" which my son uses to sometimes get into my computer and help me out. I am the computer dummy and my son is the geek. I did enjoy your article very much and congrats on getting Editor's Choice --- Well deserved...!

JoHarrington on 12/30/2011

:D I'm glad that you liked it and thank you very much.

pkmcr on 12/30/2011

Excellent. Great advice and very nicely written - especially like the humour! This phrase had me chuckling "They're saying it slowly and loudly, as if that will suddenly confer upon you a degree in Computer Science."

Very well deserved "Editor's Choice Award" and many congratulations!

JoHarrington on 12/18/2011

Purely coincidentally, I used it since writing this article earlier. It wasn't with an elderly relative, but with a young friend. She self-admittedly knows nothing about computers and so she was relieved just to find me on-line. She greeted me with the access code! That's how I knew that the next sentence was going to be about computer troubles and could I please help? I was happy to do so.

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