Finally, you’ve made it back home! The drive was a nightmare and all you want to do now is take off your work clothes/straight jacket and enjoy a good meal and movie. Then the phone rings. Do you answer it? You should, but you don’t want to. Oh darn, it’s the boss. They’ll be livid if you don’t answer. You answer.
Back to work then. Better put the suit back on, get into the car, head back to the office. No, wait! Apparently they’re using a new system. You can access your work computer from home, using your laptop or even your phone?! You log on, sit in front of the TV, handle the situation remotely, and the night is yours once more. Bonus!
What just happened? Well, it’s known as Remote PC Access.
With Remote PC Access, you can connect to other computers all over the world, with just a few simple clicks. Then you can use the office computer through the device you have access to, completing work using any of the files or applications that are available on the other machine. It sounds a bit like magic, but – sorry to burst your illusion – it’s not.
Remote PC Access allows you to remotely access PCs, but you can do so much more. These services allow you to help friends, clients or colleagues who are struggling with their machine. You can even work cooperatively on projects, sharing your screens so that you can all see what’s going on.
Sometimes you can record your actions as a video, which can then be used for training purposes, or simply access your powerful computer from a mobile device to watch movies or access files.
There are so many possibilities out there for private use or to help your business, and we’ve been tasked with finding the best Remote PC Control systems out there to help you decide which one might best suit your needs.
Before you jump into reading our reviews, we’ve a few important tips based on what to look out for and what to avoid. Our reviews use a star rating system, plus a breakdown of key features, costs and a final verdict from the editor. Read on to find out general advice for seeking out a remote access program:
Compatibility / Access Methods
This really is an important area to consider when deciding on which remote access service to go for. Essentially, because different computers use different operating systems, this means that you might not be able to control any machine from the one you’re using. The best sites do allow this, so whether you’re using your iPhone or your laptop with Windows installed, you’ll still be able to control your Linux-run machine, or your Mac OS powerhouse in the office.
We also think about how easy it is to access those machines. Do you, for example, need reams of passwords, some technical know-how and file downloads to gain control? This is sometimes more secure, but it’s also slower and more complex.
If you’re computer literate then you might opt for a slightly more complex system, but if you’re just interested in quick, reliable connections then you’ll want to keep an eye out for a system which allows simple access.
Using poorly designed remote PC access software can leave your computer and information open to threats. After all, you’re essentially breaking through any protections to take control of another machine. The best systems will allow you to bypass firewalls whilst also encrypting your data.
If you’re going to be sharing devices with multiple users, you may wish to look for a service which allows you to set a password. This will prevent any unwanted guests from joining in the fun and stealing private information. Irrelevant of what you’re looking for in terms of tools, security should always be high on your list of priorities with remote PC access.
The simplest tools will allow you to share your desktop and take control of another computer, so you can transfer files or show someone how to make basic changes on their machine. However, that’s not the end of the possibilities available to you. A whole range of features are available to help managers keep a track of online activity (how often the system is used, the sorts of files transferred, how long a member of staff spends with a client, and so on).
They can also allow you to access devices in other locations, such as pen drives and printers, as well as being able to use software which is on the remotely-controlled computer. Design options are also available on many of the sites we’ve reviewed, letting you customize your interface so that your clients see a brand-specific design. There are far more features beyond these, so check our list of features (provided on each review) to find out if they offer what you need.
Ease of use / navigation
Some remote control systems can be quite complex. In fact, several are designed for the use of IT or network specialists. If you’re not one of these computer geniuses then you’ll want to find a service which is relatively simple to use. Preferably, look out for systems which allow for quick, simple connections and familiar interfaces.
Drag and drop features are useful as they replicate familiar tools on most operating systems, meaning there’s less to learn. If you’re an IT specialist, you can probably afford to look for a more complex system which has in depth data management and analysis features.
Ease of joining / registration
This usually comes down to 3 key things: the first is, do you need to install files? If so, this slows down the joining process and means that your clients might also need to download a file, which they might not be willing to do. Additionally, it might mean that you have to install the software on every machine you wish to access. In large companies, this could become quite the chore, particularly if set up is complex.
The second important thing to consider is whether you need to include credit card details and whether you can access a free trial. Finally, it might be important to think about how easy it is to set up this new system. The most user-friendly options will sort out all the difficult information and settings for you, whilst some systems prefer an IT specialist to handle those areas.
We had very few issues using these tools, but if you have a problem then you’ll want some support. Look out for websites which offer live chat, in particular, if you think you’ll need an immediate response to a problem. Otherwise, an FAQ or forum space is fine. Video tutorials are an added bonus, as they help to explain the use of each feature, demonstrating it for you if you’re not sure what they mean.
Value for money
The cost of these services can differ greatly. It helps to know your budget before you begin, and then check our list of costs provided on each review. Some sites don’t share their prices, so you’ll need to make an inquiry – these sites usually offer bespoke / tailored services.
We understand “value for money” as meaning that you get a lot of useful features, high quality security and various other positive attributes, for a fair or great price. There are a few free options out there, but these tend to lack the features and quality we feel is probably necessary for most people and businesses.
There are so many features and tools to explore here, and you’ll probably be surprised at just how much you can achieve using a remote computer control program. Whether you want to check your home computer from your phone, work with colleagues on a collective project, or help a client out with a problem they’re having, you have plenty of options!