Remotely Access Your PC (Part 2)

12/5/2012 11:24:46 AM

Google has its own remote access facility, and all you need is the Chrome browser. With Chrome running on a remote computer at work or at home, you can connect to it and access it within Chrome on your local computer. Chrome remote access works over a local network or over the internet from any location with Wi-Fi. It’s interesting that Google has developed this and perhaps its aim is to provide access to a Windows PC from a Chromebook, showing that you don’t need a Windows laptop on the go and a simple netbook running Chrome OS is all you need. You can leave your Windows PC in the office or at home.

Description: Google has its own remote access facility, and all you need is the Chrome browser

Google has its own remote access facility, and all you need is the Chrome browser

Chrome Remote Desktop is a Chrome extension, so it works on any version of Chrome that can install extensions. That includes Windows, Apple Mac and Linux, although not Android or iOS (Android extensions are promised, though). You can’t control a computer from a mobile device or tablet using Chrome, but you can control a Windows PC from a Mac or Linux PC. You can also control a Linux PC from Windows, Windows from Windows and so on. Any combination works, and all you need to do is to leave the remote computer running when you’re away from it.


TeamViewer is one of the best-known remote access applications and is now up to version 7. Among the new features in the latest version is Windows 8 compatibility. It’s free for personal use and you only need to pay for it for commercial use, so you can remotely access your home computer or your friends ’and relatives’, but you can’t charge for technical support, for example, which is fair enough.

Description: TeamViewer


There are many different versions, which can be a bit confusing at first, but a couple you should try first are TeamViewer Portable and TeamViewer QuickSupport. Neither of these requires any installation and they don’t change Windows in any way. The Portable version can be placed on a USB flash drive, which would enable you to run it on any computer.

Because it doesn’t install anything, you might be allowed to run it on a work computer to access your home PC, although you should always ask permission first to avoid getting into trouble. If it’s okay, you could play games installed on your home PC at lunch time on your work PC or run other applications that you aren’t normally allowed to run at work.

A nice feature of TeamViewer is its support for operating systems and devices. It runs on Windows, Linux and OS X desktop operating systems, and Android and iOS phones and tablets. Any desktop version can remotely control any other desktop version, but the mobile versions can only control desktop PCs. You can’t control an iPad from your PC for example, but you can control your PC from an iPad.

Another nice feature of TeamViewer is that it’s very easy to get up and running. All you need to do is to unzip the portable version and run TeamViewer.exe. This single application can act as either a client or server. When it’s run, it displays a nine-digit ID and a four-digit password. Run TeamViewer on another computer, phone or tablet and then just enter the ID and password to connect to it and view the remote computer’s screen.

The remote computer’s wallpaper is automatically hidden and a simple black background is displayed. TeamViewer also adjusts the quality and reduces the color palette. This is to improve the screen refresh rate and make accessing the remote computer more responsive. Running TeamViewer on a Google Nexus 7 Android tablet and accessing a desktop PC running Windows 7 over a home Wi-Fi network, though, it’s possible to display thewallpaper and select the high-quality display setting without affecting performance.

If you use a portable device like a tablet or a smartphone to access a desktop PC, it won’t be possible to see all of the screen. The mobile app responds to the usual pinch and spread touches to zoom out and in. In addition to this, the screen automatically scrolls when the mouse cursor is dragged across it.

Accessing a Windows PC on a small touch-screen is never going to be perfect, but TeamViewer does a really good job of making it straightforward and easy to use. If you want to access one PC from another, there are lots of additional options. For example, you can reboot the remote computer or lock it. If there’s a person on the other computer, for example, if you’re providing technical support to a friend or relative, there’s a VoIP (Voice over IP) video and chat facility. Files can be transferred from one computer to the other and sessions can be recorded.


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