Edward Mendelson The Best Remote Access Software of 2018 How do you get from here to there when you need to work on a computer across town or on another continent? These remote access apps, the top performers in our testing, get the job done. Who Needs Remote Access Software? Ever been in a meeting in another company's office and realized that the PowerPoint presentation you were planning to dazzle them with is back at home on your computer? Or tried to help your parents, who live halfway across the country, figure out why their computer just won't open a file?
These are exactly the scenarios that remote access are made to handle. Remote access apps let you either access your home or office computer from another location, or allow others to have access to some or all of your files, as if they were actually sitting in front of your PC instead of somewhere else entirely.
NoMachine is a slick Remote Desktop Client which tends to go under the radar when Mac users are looking for remote desktop software but is definitely worth a look. NoMachine looks great on OS X, is very easy to setup and use and there’s a free version for limited connections. Oct 10, 2018 - Here are some of the best remote desktop software for small business users. Top picks for small businesses in search of the best software to go for. It is available on Windows, Linux, Free BSD, Mac OS, iOS and Android. A list of the best free remote access programs, sometimes called free remote desktop or remote control software. 13 Free Remote Access Software Tools Remotely access computers for free with these programs. Share Pin Email Print. It can work with any operating system that uses Chrome, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebooks.
Some are tailor-made for personal use, while others, with their complex security protocols and granular menus, are better suited for a more corporate environment. Many even let you access a remote PC from your phone or handheld device. Here, we break down exactly what a remote access app does, and why one may make a lot of sense for your increasingly mobile life. What Is Remote Access Software?
Remote access software lets one computer view or control another computer, not merely across a network, but from anywhere in the world. You might use it to log into your customers' computers and show them how to run a program, or sort out their technical troubles. Or you can even use it to invite friends or clients to view your desktop while you run a demo for them. You can use the screen as a temporary whiteboard, drawing lines and circles that help friends or clients understand what you're doing on your machine or theirs.
Remote access apps also let you transfer files between two machines without using email or file-sharing services. You can use remote access to print a file stored on someone else's machine on a printer connected to your own machine. Your tech-challenged relatives can use remote access software to give you access to their machine so you can repair their mistakes or clear out malware. It's far, far easier to grab the wheel yourself than it is to try and talk someone through the process of troubleshooting their PC. And your high-tech colleagues can use it to collaborate on complex projects in real-time, complete with chat via text or, with some apps, voice. Not Just for Help Desks Corporate help desks are major users of remote access software, but these apps can be useful for anyone. I personally use it for three reasons: First, I can give tech support to friends by logging in to their machine, without going out to make a house call.
Second, while on the road, I can connect to my home or office machine and find and view an ancient file that I haven't stored on a like Dropbox or Google Drive. Third, I can invite friends or colleagues to join me in editing documents in a more straightforward way, with easier communication than other online collaboration methods, such as the real-time editing features in Office 365 or Google Docs. You may have very different reasons for wanting a remote access than I do, but there's no doubt that they are quite handy.
I looked at five remote access apps that work easily between any machines running either Windows or macOS anywhere in the world. In addition to these third-party apps, Microsoft provides its free Microsoft Remote Desktop software that lets you access Windows PCs from other Windows machines, mobile devices, or a Mac, but not from Windows to a Mac. Microsoft's app lets you access any Windows version going back to Windows 7, except for 'Starter' and 'Home' versions, for which you'll need a third-party app. Apple offers its $79.99 Apple Remote Desktop app for accessing other Macs only—but that only connects to Macs running OS X versions 10.8 Mountain Lion or later. I use Microsoft Remote Desktop from my Mac laptop when I want to run a program on a Windows desktop in another room in the same house, but only a full-fledged third-party remote access app lets me take full control of any machine anywhere—if the machine's owner wants to let me in.
Security Concerns One of the first questions you may ask yourself when considering using remote access software is whether or not this is secure. If you've been using a PC for a while, you may remember pcAnywhere, which used to be the remote access software that was almost everyone's first choice. Symantec bought pcAnywhere from its original developer and eventually, after some major security breaches, stopped supporting it in 2014 and recommended that customers stop using it. Some other remote access vendors have reported security breaches, but these seem to have been triggered by users who chose the same passwords for their remote access software that they used at hack websites—always a bad idea.
Some remote access apps let you use relatively weak security if you choose, but they all encourage you to choose strong security, and our Editors' Choice products, GoToMyPC and TeamViewer, won't let you make an end-run around their security precautions. What Remote Access Software Offers We tested remote access software by installing each app or service on four machines: desktops running Windows 10 and Windows 7, a laptop running Windows 7, and a Mac laptop running macOS.
We also installed each vendor's iOS-based mobile-access app for connecting to a Windows or Mac machine, though I wouldn't want to try running my desktop machine from a phone or small-screen tablet unless I were desperate. All the remote access apps we tested provide the same basic features. They offer remote access to another machine that has the app's server software already installed; remote access can take the form of full control over the other system or mere passive viewing.
All feature a shared clipboard (in some cases optional), so that text or images that you copy to the clipboard on one machine can be pasted into the other. All have a text-based chat feature. Each app provides file-transfer features via a standard two-pane file manager interface. GoToMyPC and LogMeIn add the ability to drag and drop files between the local desktop and the viewer window that displays the desktop of the remote machine, but this feature works only when connecting to and from Windows computers.
TeamViewer has a FileBox window into which you can drag files that will be accessible to both machines. LogMeIn, TeamViewer, and VNC Connect include whiteboard features for drawing lines in the viewer. For more on each remote access apps individual features, see the individual reviews, which are linked to below.
Which Remote Access App Fits You Best? We focused on remote access software designed mostly for one-to-one connections, though it's possible with all these apps for more than one user to log in to a remote machine.
If you're looking for advanced conferencing features like a whiteboard, you should probably look elsewhere, though LogMeIn includes a whiteboard feature that makes it work well as a basic. The vendors of some of the remote access apps we tested also offer a specialized that uses an interface similar to the remote access versions. For example, GoToMeeting is a conferencing version of GoToMyPC; Splashtop Business Access offers Splashtop Classroom; and TeamViewer offers Blizz.
Security features differ markedly among these apps. Some make it possible to provide access in a straightforward way if you choose to do so. Others require you type in passwords more than once and provide email verification before you can do anything useful. All let you customize security to varying degrees, and you should take a close look at the options that you'll feel comfortable using. If you're a complete hermit who never leaves the room, you don't need remote access software. But if you often find yourself as the de facto IT tech for family and colleagues, or if you need to connect to other computers for your business, or if you need to connect to your own computers while you're on the road, then you'll need remote access software. Check out our reviews to find the one that best suits your needs.
Pros: Comprehensive feature set. Multi-level security. Elegantly designed viewing window. Multi-monitor support. Combines remote access and online meetings in one app. Free version for non-commercial use. Cons: Expensive.
Some options are difficult to find. Security features can be annoying.
Bottom Line: TeamViewer combines remote access and shared meeting features in a single secure app, and it hides most of its complexity under an elegant interface. It's our top pick for remote access software for enterprise and corporate use. Pros: Straightforward interface.
Runs mostly from the browser. Drag-and-drop file transfers. Desktop icons for remote computers. Smooth multi-monitor support. Option for direct connections within a network or across the internet. Cons: Distracting testing-server message during computer bootup.
Free Office Software For Mac
Slightly reduced features when using a Mac system. Bottom Line: GoToMyPC is a mature, easy-to-use remote access software with the best available balance between features and ease of use.
Unless you need support for Linux or enterprise-level operating systems, this is the app you want. Pros: Multi-platform support. Relatively simple interface.
Fairly inexpensive subscription plans, including a free plan for personal use. Cons: Separate server and viewer apps make setup confusing.
No drag-and-drop file transfer between viewer app and desktop. No sending one-time invitation emails from the remote machine. Bottom Line: VNC Connect is solid, secure, and simple to use, once you get the hang of it. It has fewer features than other corporate-level remote access software, but it's also a lot less expensive.
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