Six tried and tested remote access software tools

Six tried and tested remote access software tools

Summary: Want access to your desktop PC when away from your desk? Fear not, here are a handful of apps to help keep you work like you're in the office when you're actually away somewhere else.

TOPICS: Mobility, Software

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  • Introduction

    If you're like me than there are times when you're away from your desk yet you want access to an application of file that's on a PC sitting on your desk.

    Fear not, here are a handful of apps to help keep you work like you're in the office when you're actually away somewhere else.

    These tools range from free tools with basic features ideal for occasional use to advanced tools packed with advanced features. 

  • Parallels Access 2.0

    I've been using the previous version of this product for some time now, but this latest release offers a new twist on remote access by making operations such as launching apps and files a one-click operating.

    - Facebook login integration lets users log in quickly and easily.

    - Ability to launch desktop applications with a single tap right from the home screen of an Android device.

    - A new file browser lets iOS users quickly browse and open files on their remote computer using Parallels Access.

    - Desktop applications that use a microphone can now be used with the microphone on your iOS tablet or smartphone.

    - Ability to change screen resolution for best fit for different types of devices.


    Price: $19.99 per year

    Platforms: Connect to PC or Mac from iOS or Android devices

Topics: Mobility, Software

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  • Did not feel the need to click on all those Gallery items, but

    I will say that sadly Microsoft RDP is a fail on basic Windows versions ( you have to get the Pro or Enterprise versions to make Windows RDPable). Microsoft acts like being able to remote control Windows is a luxury, to be paid extra for. Unfortunately, it is another sign that they are out of touch with their customers. The extra tools to do so are often free, so people just use them and shake their heads at Microsoft.
    • Agreed.

      Microsoft needs to correct this.
    • Microsoft RDP

      For the average user RDP is an unnecessary attack vector.
      • any user is an unnecessary attack vector

        just don't let people use the damn computers and all will be peachy
  • Gotta see if any of these can access my PC at home on a dynamic IP.........

    .....from Comcast!
    • Thankfully Comcast doesn't force IP's to change.

      They've assigned me the same dynamic IP address for years. The only way I know to change it is to power off the modem and change the MAC address on the device connected to the modem. Power the modem back on and a new IP will be assigned.
    • no-ip - gives you a dynamic DNS name for free, and has a client that will run on the desktop you need to access.

      Also, Teamviewer is amazingly resilient with its ability to connect to a badly networked computer. Double NATs, misbehaving proxies, stupidly high latency...teamviewer is VERY well done in this respect.

  • Remote Desktop Connection is free on all versions of Windows

    But you can only connect to Business versions of Windows using it. It also opens it's own session instead of connecting to the existing one.

    Which makes it more suited for Servers. It's useless to provide support to someone as you can't connect to their session (at least not easily) to see what they're up to.

    Since LogMeIn Free was canned I now use TeamViewer.
    • You can connect to a session that is already logged in.

      You can only have one active user without a server edition, so no one else can be using the computer, but you can definitely log into active sessions.
    • Also RDP don't show Aero desktop

      Unless both client and host are Ultimate versions of Windows...

      I don't really care for Aero animations on remote connections, but I'd like to still have thumbnail previews of the programs on the taskbar when remoting.

      Same for multiple monitors.

      I'll probably give a try too to TeamViewer now that I lost LogMeIn...
  • AKK surprisingly left out another "oldie but goodie" cross platform app.

    I refer to products from Splashtop.

    I have always enjoyed using Splashtop Remote Desktop (now at version 2) on my iOS tablets and now that app is available for Win 8 devices as well. (That mobile app works in conjunction with a companion "streamer" app that runs on your desktop computer)

    Both audio and video streams are supported and the mobile app includes support for desktop systems using multiple display monitors. It also includes a rather nifty "scroll bar" tool that allows easy remote control scrolling of the desktop display from your mobile device.

    But what is really neat about this product is the cross platform synergy one can obtain. For example:

    I have installed the Splashtop Remote Windows app on my Dell Venue 8 Pro 8" tablet. That Dell tablet can also mirror it's display to my 32" bedroom HDTV screen via Netgear's Push2TV PTV3000 Miracast adapter.

    Now, when I access my dual monitor iMac system from my Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet via the Splashtop Remote 2 Win 8 app, I can project that screen onto my 32" HDTV set. It's like having an 8" touch enabled "Magic Mouse" remote trackpad to manipulate my OS X system.

    This setup works remarkably well. There is some video latency (dropped frames) when remotely viewing Safari Browser content on my Dell and HDTV set - actually, it's not too bad - but the companion audio stream is 'spot on'.

    Viewing my OS X system on a 32" HDTV display (in 1080p resolution - I think) is sort of cool and controlling that system remotely on my very light weight 8" Dell tablet has been an unexpected joy.
  • Windows to Android

    What I wish for is software that will allow remote access from Windows to Android. I know team veiwer can do this but what I want is to also look/manipulate the screen. Team viewer just allows to manage the device.
  • I'm pretty sure remote desktop

    is also available on iOS.
    • yes

      Yes, Microsoft released official RDP clients for iOS and Android not too long ago.