How to Remotely Control a Computer: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking for a way to access your computer from a remote location? Or maybe you need to provide support to someone else's computer? Remote access software can help you do both. In this article, we'll explain what remote access is, how it works, and the best tools available for the job. Remote access applications allow you to access your home or office computer from another location, or allow other people to access some or all of your files, as if they were actually in front of your PC instead of somewhere else entirely different. They offer remote access to another machine that already has the application server software installed; remote access can take the form of full control over the other system or a simple passive display.

To get started, you'll need to install the remote access software on both the host and client computers. The host computer is the one that will be controlled remotely, while the client is the one that will be used to control it. Once the host computer has generated an ID, the client must enter it from the Connect by ID option in the Connection menu to establish a remote connection with the other computer. The other computer that wants to connect to the host machine simply needs to open the already installed Remote Desktop Connection software and enter the host's IP address.

Not only does it match the resolution of your remote computer, so it feels like you're using that computer, but you can also copy and paste text or files by simply pressing Ctrl+C as usual in the remote access window and then pressing Ctrl+V to paste them to your current computer. When the host computer confirms the connection, you can start controlling the computer and sharing the text on the clipboard. RemotePC is affordable but doesn't skimp on quality. It works well, especially between Windows computers, and its business plans cost much less than the competition. If you're looking for remote access software, try TeamViewer first.

It's free for personal use and is our favorite remote access tool. LogMeIn is a robust and simple remote access and file sharing software that is suitable for personal or corporate use. GoToMyPC allows you to remotely access your own machine from anywhere, but it doesn't work as well as the competition and doesn't allow you to access someone else's computer for support. VNC Connect can do the job, but it's confusing to configure and falls short of other remote access software in terms of performance, pricing, and feature set.

Other remote access providers have reported security breaches, but they appear to have been caused by users who chose the same passwords for their remote access software that they used to hack websites - it's always a bad idea. Some remote access applications allow you to use relatively weak security if you wish, but all encourage you to choose strong security, and our Editors' Choice products, GoToMyPC and TeamViewer, won't let you break their security precautions. We focus on remote access software designed primarily for individual connections, although with all of these applications it is possible for more than one user to log in to a remote machine. If you're looking for advanced conferencing features, such as a whiteboard, you should probably look elsewhere, although LogMeIn includes a whiteboard feature that makes it work well as a basic collaboration application. The providers of some of the remote access applications we tested also offer a specialized video conferencing application that uses an interface similar to remote access versions. For example, GoToMeeting is a conferencing version of GoToMyPC; Splashtop Business Access offers Splashtop Classroom; and TeamViewer offers Blizz.

Without a doubt, the easiest way to access another computer is to use the incredible cross-platform TeamViewer. You'll have to install additional software and create an account, but overall it's pretty simple to set up and has some great features. You can choose View Only or Remote Control before connecting and then simply select Connect to request remote control. Remote Utilities is a remote access program that is not free, but offers a fully functional 30-day free trial of the Viewer component. This week, since LogMeIn shut down its free service, we revived this post on how to remotely access your computer for free. In conclusion, there are many ways to remotely control a computer depending on your needs and budget.

Whether you're looking for free options or more robust solutions with additional features like file transfer capabilities or video conferencing tools - there are plenty of options available.