Remote-control software is programming in a central or server computer that is used to control other computers (or their users) at a distance, either under the control of an administrator or at the request of the user. Although remote-control software existed before the World Wide Web (for remote diagnosis of computer problems and other purposes), the Web has essentially built a platform on which anyone can build a new remote-control application that can reach millions of computers and their users. Remote-control software can be viewed as one class of application furnished by application service providers.
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Remote-control software can be divided into applications for use within a private network (such as an intranet) or for use on the public network. In a private network, remote-control software can be used to configure and administer all computers from a central point. On the public network, users can request such services as name lookup or arrange to have their files backed up automatically once a day. Remote-control software can also be used in a classroom system where one PC becomes the "master" of student computers, automatically reconfiguring them or turning them off at night.