Remote desktop software, often known as remote access software or remote control software, allows you to operate one computer from another. By remote control, we genuinely mean remote control—you may take over the mouse and keyboard and operate the computer you’ve connected to as if it were your own.
In most cases, remotely accessing a computer necessitates the installation of software on the machine to which you wish to connect, known as the host. Another computer or device with the necessary credentials, known as the client, connects to and controls the host.
To get started, the best free remote access apps described below need only a few clicks—no technical computer experience is necessary.
Remote Utilities is a free remote access application with a slew of useful features. It operates by connecting two remote computers using an Internet ID. This application allows you to control a total of ten machines.
The Host Side To acquire permanent access to Host, install it on a Windows PC. Or just run Agent, which gives on-the-fly assistance without the need for installation—it may even be launched from a flash drive. The host computer acquires an Internet ID, which is used by the client to establish a connection.
Clients’ Perspective The Viewer application establishes a connection with the host or agent software. Download Viewer alone or as part of the Viewer + Host combination package. If you don’t want to install anything, you can get a portable version of the Viewer.
Connecting the Viewer to the Host or Agent does not necessitate any network adjustments such as port forwarding, making setup extremely simple. The client only needs to enter his or her Internet ID and password. There are also free client programmes available for iOS and Android users.
Different modules may be accessed via the viewer, allowing you to remotely access a computer without even viewing the screen, however screen-viewing is unquestionably Remote Utilities’ core function.
Here are a few of the modules that Remote Utilities supports: A remote task manager, file transfer, power control for remote rebooting or WOL, a remote terminal (command prompt access), a remote file launcher, a system information manager, text chat, remote registry access, and remote webcam watching are all available. Remote printing and viewing multiple displays are also available in addition to these functions.
Unfortunately, because there are so many possibilities, establishing Remote Utilities on the host computer might be difficult.
Remote Utilities is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2003. There is also a Linux and macOS version, however both are in beta and may not operate as well as the Windows edition.
DWService is a free and open-source project that makes remote access a breeze. The software is installed or temporarily launched by the host, and the client logs in using any web browser to run commands, control the screen, or access files and directories.
The Host Side The host has two options: download the DWAgent and execute it for one-time, on-demand access (excellent for tech help) or install it for permanent remote access (perfect if it’s your own computer).
If you select the run option rather than the install option, you will be given a user code and password that the client will require to access the computer. Otherwise, enter the code and password supplied by the client in order for them to have constant access to the host computer.
Clients’ Perspective If the host selects the on-demand option, the client has it simple. Log in using the link below and input the code and password displayed in the DWAgent application window on the host’s computer. That’s all!
If the software was installed by the host, the setup process is a little more complicated. Create a user account (it’s completely free) using the link below, and then add a new agent to your account. During the remote desktop software list installation, provide the code to the host.
DWService includes a number of tools. You don’t have to launch the screen sharing tool to send/receive files or conduct commands, unlike some remote access apps.
Files and Folders, Text editor, Log watch, Resources, Screen, and Shell are the complete list of tools available to you as the client. They allow you to create various text-based files, traverse the file system to create, modify, or delete files, and upload or download files to and from the host; perform Command Prompt commands, examine basic system information, shut down tasks, and start or stop services.
The DWAgent host programme may be installed on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a Chrome browser plugin that allows you to configure a computer for remote access.
The Host Side The way this works is that you install the extension to acquire either a random code that you can share with someone else for spontaneous help (get that code here) or a PIN that you can use to log in to the computer at any time from your own Google account.
Clients’ Perspective Sign in to Chrome Remote Desktop from another web browser using the same Google credentials or a temporary access code provided by the host machine to connect to the host browser.
Because you’re signed in, you can readily see the other PC’s name, from which you may choose it and start the remote session.
There isn’t a chat function like in other applications, but it’s quite simple to set up and allows you to connect to your computer (or anybody else’s) from anywhere using just your web browser.
Furthermore, you can remote enter the machine even if the user does not have Chrome open or is totally logged out of their user account. It works with every operating system that utilises Chrome, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebooks, because it runs fully within Chrome.
Getscreen.me, a free remote access service, is a basic tool with several fantastic features. This is what you want if you need to access into someone’s computer fast without bothering around with logins or instals.
File sharing, an integrated chat window, buttons for popular keyboard commands (e.g., switch users, open Run box, open File Explorer), a system information viewer, full-screen mode, audio calling, and clipboard sharing are all available.
The Host Side The software must be downloaded and opened on the computer to which it will be linked. Installation is not necessary, however it can be done if this machine will need to be accessed remotely on a regular basis.
There are two methods for connecting the client. One alternative is to log in to the client’s user account using their email and password, which is a good choice if they’ll be using this computer frequently.
Another option to utilise Getscreen.me is to launch the software and share the public link. Anyone who receives the link to this anonymous session will have access to your computer without the need for a password. This is ideal for on-the-fly technical help, but keep in mind that the connection time is restricted when the application is used anonymously in this manner.
The host can specify whether or not the client is authorised to manipulate the mouse/keyboard, capture sound, and make audio calls.
Clients’ Perspective There are two methods for gaining access to the remote computer. You have permanent access if you logged in to your account in the host software, which means you may visit the URL below to log in to the same account in a web browser to access the other machine.
Another possibility is that the host did not log in to the account. The host can give a URL that you can open from your device to gain access to the remote PC without needing to provide your account details.
Free users are subject to a few restrictions that can only be removed if you pay. For example, you can only link two computers to your account at the same time, and you can’t record the connection, utilise Wake-on-LAN, or deactivate the remote screen during the session.
It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Controls may be sent from any device that has a web browser.
5. Windows Remote Desktop
The remote access software integrated into the Windows operating system is known as Windows Remote Desktop. There is no need to download anything else in order to use the software.
The Host Side To connect to a machine using Windows Remote Desktop, click the System Properties settings (accessed via Settings (W11) or Control Panel) and allow remote connections using a certain Windows user.
You must configure your router for port forwarding so that another PC may connect to it from outside the network, although this is typically not a difficult task.
Clients’ Perspective The other computer that desires to connect to the host machine must simply launch the Remote Desktop Connection software that has already been installed and input the host’s IP address.
UltraVNC functions similarly to Remote Utilities in that a server and viewer are installed on two PCs, with the viewer controlling the server.
The Host Side During installation, you are asked if you want to install the Server, the Viewer, or both. Install the Server on the PC to which you want to connect.
Server can be installed as a system service to ensure that it is constantly running. This is the best solution because you can always connect to it using the client software.
Clients’ Perspective To connect to the Server, you must install the Viewer component during setup.
After installing port forwarding in your router, you’ll be able to connect to the host computer from any location with an internet connection—via a mobile device that supports VNC connections, a PC with the Viewer installed, or an internet browser. To connect, all you need is the IP address of the server.
UltraVNC allows file transfers, text chat, clipboard sharing, and can even boot into Safe Mode and connect to the server.
The download page is a little confusing—first, choose the most recent version of the software, followed by the 32-bit or 64-bit setup file that will operate with your Windows edition.
Users of Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 can install and utilise the most recent software version. Older Windows versions may be able to install an earlier version of the software.
This is another another remote access software that is entirely portable. It’s also completely free for both personal and business use, which is unusual.
The Host Side The computer that the client will manage just has to share their ID and password with the other machine.
Clients’ Perspective Connect to the machine that will be performing the remote access and input the host’s ID and password. The tabs at the top of the software allow you to open many connections at the same time.
Once you’re connected to the other computer, you may send and receive files as well as converse with them via text or voice. Passwords are generated automatically, but you may customise them to make them simpler to remember.
Windows 11, 10, 8, Vista, and 7, as well as Windows Server 2008, 2003, and 2000, are all supported by the software. There’s also an Android app that can serve as both the host and the client.
AnyDesk is a remote desktop application that may be run portable or installed as a normal software.
The Host Side Launch it on the PC to which you wish to connect and take note of the 9-digit number or custom alias, if one is configured.
When the client connects, the host is prompted to authorise or deny the connection, as well as control rights such as allowing sound, clipboard use, and the ability to restrict the host’s keyboard/mouse control.
Clients’ Perspective Run AnyDesk on another computer, then enter the host’s Remote Desk ID or alias in the program’s Remote Address area, and wait for the host to accept the connection. AnyDesk’s web client may also be used to connect to the host.
The client does not have to wait for the host to accept the connection if unattended access is enabled.
The application automatically updates and can enter full-screen mode, balance connection quality and speed, transfer files and sound, sync the clipboard, record the remote session, perform keyboard shortcuts, capture screenshots of the remote computer, and restart the host computer.
It is compatible with macOS, Linux, and Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There are additional apps for iOS, Android, Chrome OS, FreeBSD, and the Raspberry Pi.
AeroAdmin is most likely the most user-friendly tool for free remote access. There aren’t many options, and everything is brief and to the point, which is ideal for on-the-fly assistance.
The Host Side Simply launch the portable application and share your IP address or the assigned ID with someone else. This is how the client computer will determine how to connect to the host.
Clients’ Perspective The client PC only has to execute the same software and enter the ID or IP address. Before connecting, you may pick View Only or Remote Control, and then simply select Connect to request remote control.
You may begin manipulating the computer and sharing clipboard text after the host machine acknowledges the connection.
It’s fantastic that AeroAdmin is completely free for both personal and business usage, but it’s a shame there isn’t a chat feature and even worse that you can’t upload files.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, while the application is completely free, it does have a monthly use restriction. It is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and XP.
10. Iperius Remote
Iperius Remote is one of the most user-friendly remote desktop solutions, with useful features such as a powerful file transfer tool and a chat application. With their mobile app, you may also connect to a computer remotely.
The Host Side Open the software and check the box that says Allow connections to view your password. Share that with the client, along with the ID next to it, so they may connect to the machine.
Clients’ Perspective Enter the host computer’s ID into the second text box, click Connect, and then enter the password when prompted.
This free remote access software is ideal for on-demand access. In only a few minutes, you and the other person may download and begin using Iperius Remote.
The application interface is really clear and straightforward. During a remote connection, you may use the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard shortcut to select which display to watch, switch to full screen mode, and launch the file transfer or chat function.
If you want additional control, you can go into the options and activate things like continuous access, a custom password, a proxy, and so on.
Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP 32-bit and 64-bit versions, as well as Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2003, are all supported. There is also an app available for Android and iOS.
11. Zoho Assist
Zoho Assist is another another remote access application that is available for free for both personal and professional usage. Through a unique session ID and password, you may share displays and data, as well as talk remotely with the other user.
The Host Side On the Zoho Assist website, the host must click Share My Screen and then START NOW to obtain a session ID and password to provide to the client. You may either manually copy the ID and password, provide a unique URL with the customer, or just input their email address to have the connection information forwarded to them.
The host must also download a tiny utility that the client can use to remotely operate the machine. Save ZA Connect.exe to your computer by clicking the Download button, and then run it to install it.
Clients’ Perspective Once the host computer is fully configured and ready to start, the client must navigate to the Join Screen Sharing Session page and provide the client machine’s ID and password.
Alternatively, if the host gave the information by email or a URL, the client can simply use that information to connect to the server.
The client does not have full control privileges by default, only viewing permissions. To modify this, the client must navigate to Session > Request Control and wait for the host to select Yes.
This application also includes clipboard sharing, a stop button for the host, and an annotation tool that allows the host and client to draw on the screen.
It is reported to be compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2019 through 2003.
12. Quick Assist
Because it is incorporated into Windows 11 and 10, the free Quick Assist remote access tool is simple to use and does not require a download. To open the software, use the Start menu to find it or search the Windows Accessories Start menu folder.
The Host Side Enter the 6-digit code created by the client’s computer into the text box, and then click Share screen. Once the client has completed their portion of the process, you must confirm that they have access to your computer before the connection may be formed.
Clients’ Perspective Select Assist someone else and then sign in to your Microsoft account. Give the host the security code and then select Take full control or View screen to gain remote access to their computer.
After connecting to the host, the client may choose which monitor to manage, annotate directly on the screen, restart the computer, and instantly enter Task Manager.
LiteManager is substantially similar to the previously described Remote Utilities. Unlike that application, which can only operate a total of 10 PCs, this one has up to 30 spaces for storing and connecting to remote machines, as well as a slew of handy functions.
The Host Side The computer that has to be accessed should install the LiteManager Pro – Server.msi application (which is included in the downloaded ZIP file) for free.
There are several methods for ensuring a connection to the host computer. It is possible to do so using an IP address, a machine name, or an ID.
The simplest approach to do this is to right-click the server application in the taskbar’s notification area, select Connect by ID, delete the items that are currently there, then click Connected to produce a new ID.
Clients’ Perspective The Viewer application is also installed in order for the client to connect to the host. Once the ID has been generated by the host computer, the client should enter it into the Connect by ID option in the Connection menu to establish a remote connection to the other computer.
Once connected, the client can do things like work with multiple monitors, transfer files silently, take full control or read-only access to the other PC, run a remote task manager, launch files and programmes remotely, capture sound, edit the registry, create a demonstration, lock the other person’s screen and keyboard, and text chat, just like with Remote Utilities.
There’s also the QuickSupport option, which is a portable server and viewer software that allows you to connect more faster than the previous technique.
LiteManager was tested on Windows 10, but it should also work in Windows 11, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. This software is also available for Mac OS X and Linux.
ShowMyPC is portable and comparable to several of these other tools, however it connects via a password rather than an IP address.
The Host Side Install the ShowMyPC software on any computer and then select Show My PC to obtain a unique ID number known as a Share Password. This is the number you must share with others in order for them to connect to the host.
Clients’ Perspective To connect, launch the same software on another computer and input the ID from the host programme. Instead, the customer may input the number into the ShowMyPC website (in the “View PC” box) and run a Java version of the software in their browser.
There are certain features here that UltraVNC doesn’t have, such as camera sharing via a web browser and planned meetings, which allow someone to connect to your PC via a personal web link that starts a Java version of ShowMyPC.
Clients have a restricted amount of keyboard shortcuts that they can broadcast to the host machine. It is compatible with all versions of Windows.
NCH Software’s DesktopNow is a free remote access software. You may access your PC from anywhere using a web browser after optionally forwarding the appropriate port number in your router and joining up for a free account.
The Host Side The DesktopNow software must be installed on the machine that will be accessed remotely.
When you initially open the software, you should input your email address and a password so that you may use the same credentials on the client side to connect.
The host computer can set its network to forward the appropriate port number to itself, or it can pick cloud access during the installation to build a direct connection to the client, avoiding the need for sophisticated forwarding.
To eliminate port forwarding concerns, most individuals should generally adopt the direct, cloud access technique.
Clients’ Perspective The client only has to use a web browser to connect to the host. If the router was set to forward the port number, the client would connect using the host PC’s IP address. If cloud access was selected, a unique link would have been assigned to the host that you would use for the connection.
DesktopNow includes a fantastic file sharing tool that allows you to remotely download shared files in an easy-to-use file browser.
Because there is no specialised application for mobile devices, seeing and controlling a computer from a phone or tablet might be tricky. However, the website is mobile-friendly, making it simple to access your shared files. Windows 64-bit versions are supported. Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP are all included.