You are not always in the same room as your computer, even if you only need this computer. Fortunately, there are ways to control your computer remotely. This way you can access your PC from another device even when you are not at home.
There are several software to control your PC from another device. The best known programs come from Google and Microsoft. Microsoft is only available if you have Windows 11 Pro or Windows 10 Pro. Apple also has its own remote desktop app, but it’s a paid service. The services of Apple and Microsoft are therefore not considered in this article.
Google Chrome Remote Desktop and TeamViewer can be used for free on Windows and Mac devices. This latest program is free for personal use only. Please note: these services only work if your computer is actually on and connected to the internet.
Chrome Remote Desktop
On your Windows PC or Mac, visit remotedesktop.google.com and click “Go to my computer”. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account or create one first. Next, download Chrome Remote Desktop by clicking the blue button next to “Configure Remote Access”.
Once the software is installed, enter a PIN code. You may need to allow the program to capture and share your screen. Under ‘This device’ is your current PC. Under ‘External devices’, you’ll find any other devices you’ve added previously.
Download the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Android smartphone or iPhone. Open the app and sign in with the same Google account you use for your PC. Then select the device you want to access and enter the PIN you set yourself. The connection is established automatically. A notification will appear on your PC as long as your desktop is shared.
On your phone, you’ll find a menu at the bottom right of the screen (although you can also move it to the left). This will let you pull out a keyboard so you can type your files. Additionally, you can choose between a Trackpad mode or a Touch mode. With the first option, you control the PC with a cursor, as you’re probably used to on a computer. The other offers basic touch functionality, such as how you use your phone.
With Chrome Remote Desktop, it is not possible to switch between different monitors connected to the shared PC. Instead, they’ve been merged into one screen.
Want to stop sharing your screen? Then close the application or go to the menu and choose “Disconnect”. You can also click “Stop Sharing” on your shared PC.
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Download and install TeamViewer from teamviewer.com on your PC and phone. After installation, a manual with explanations will open automatically.
An account is not required to use TeamViewer. When you open the program, you will see a username and password that you can use to control the device remotely.
To use TeamViewer, you need to enter your PC ID when you open the app on your smartphone or if you want to access it from another PC. Then press ‘Remote control’ and enter the password. You have direct access to the remote device.
Via the TeamViewer app, you can switch between multiple displays connected to the same PC. The mobile app also offers handy shortcuts such as the ability to lock your computer with the press of a button. You can also remotely control devices other than computers, such as cell phones. To stop screen sharing, simply close TeamViewer.
Chrome Remote Desktop and TeamViewer are free and easy to use. Do you want as many options as possible or are there multiple monitors attached to the PC you want to access? Then TeamViewer is clearly the better choice. Do you want a simple interface and remote control of several devices, such as those of your family members? Then Google’s offer is probably a more suitable option.
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