PC Remote Access: 5 Free and Easy Ways
The Magic Carpet of Remote Access
You can sit at a PC in Cave Creek Arizona and reach out and control another PC on Wall Street in New York City. People do it every day. The location is unimportant.
All you need is an Internet connection at both locations, a little software help and permission. You can remotely control another PC, move the mouse, look at settings, read or edit a document, help someone with slow PC issues, and even transfer files. Good remote access software solutions have security to prevent unauthorized access.
Free Remote Access?
If you are looking for personal and casual remote access, then these solutions are free.
If you're in the support business and want to easily support several clients, then you will be buying licenses; and gladly. If you want to have several PCs standing buy and ready for remote access, then you will pay.
5 Good Alternatives
With computer technology there are almost always several ways to get a job done. Some are good, some are bad, and some are scary. Here are five tested and secure ways to remotely control a PC for support or training. All are free, and some have a cost for multiple PCs. There are pros and cons to each choice, so pick the solution that best meets your needs. The short list of remote access software (details below):
- Microsoft Remote Access App
- Chrome Remote Access Extension
Standard features are free for single-user, and 1 session at a time:
- Screen Sharing
- HTML Viewer
- Switching Presenter
- Remote Control
- Mobile Apps
- Cross-Platform Compatibility
- File Transfer
A complete remote access solution. Try it free on one PC.
- PC or Mac or Android or iPad
- File transfer
- Record remote sessions (great for training)
NoMachine, for the People version
Turn your computer into your personal cloud.
Take what's important where you go, whether it's at home or at the office.
Wherever your desktop and your data is, you can reach it from the other side of the world in a few simple clicks.
NoMachine is free.
Microsoft Remote Desktop App For Your Smartphone
With the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from offsite. Use the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client.
Connect to these PCs:
- Windows 10
- Windows 8 Enterprise, Pro
- Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate
- Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, Enterprise
- Windows XP Professional
Chrome Remote Desktop
Use the Chrome browser to access other computers or allow another user to access your computer securely over the Internet.
Chrome Remote Desktop allows users to remotely access another computer through Chrome browser or a Chromebook. Computers can be made available on an short-term basis for scenarios such as ad hoc remote support, or on a more long-term basis for remote access to your applications and files. All connections are fully secured.
Remote Support Software Explained
Some considerations in making your selection:
- The PC that is the target of the access is called the Host. The support PC is called the Client. The Client PC controls the Host PC.
- A persistent host means the host software is always loaded and ready for a support connection, assuming the PC is on and connected to the internet. This is useful in on-going support relationships.
- A session connection means that the connection door is closed after you hang up. A session connection type of access is your best bet for short term, or sporadic support.
- If you are in the support business, you prefer a persistent connection for your convenience, but need to be aware of the security implications for your client, as well as setup or connection demands on the client.
- The most secure (for the user) is a session connection.
- If you need to connect independently to the Host (without user involvement) you need a persistent connection.
- Firewalls and corporate policies have an impact on remote access choices.
- Spyware software may catch and complain about a persistent connection.