Remote access software, also known as remote control software or remote desktop software, provides the ability to control one computer from another. This allows for seamless remote control, enabling users to take over the mouse and keyboard of a connected computer as if it were their own.
In the quest for the best free remote access tools, I have carefully reviewed and tested numerous programs. Based on my extensive experience, here are my current top picks for the most effective free remote access software tools (as of September). These tools require minimal setup and do not demand any specialized computer knowledge.
- DWService: DWService stands out as an exceptional free and open-source project that streamlines remote access. The host simply installs or runs the program temporarily, while the client can log in through any web browser to control the screen, execute commands, and manage files and folders.
DWService is my go-to tool for remote tech support, thanks to its user-friendly interface and essential features for identifying and resolving problems remotely. The host can either run the program for one-time access or install it for permanent remote access.
- AnyDesk: Offering both portable and installable options, AnyDesk is a robust remote desktop program. While it serves well for remote troubleshooting like DWService, I personally find it ideal for accessing my own computer remotely when I’m away.
With AnyDesk, the host launches the program on the desired PC and shares the 9-digit number or custom alias. The host can control permissions, such as sound, clipboard use, and keyboard/mouse control. On the client side, entering the host’s Remote Desk ID or alias grants access to the remote computer.
- Getscreen.me: Getscreen.me is a simple yet feature-rich remote access service that offers seamless computer access without complicated logins or installations. It includes file sharing, a built-in chat window, convenient keyboard shortcuts, system information viewer, full-screen mode, audio calling, and clipboard sharing.
To establish a connection, the host computer needs to download and open the software, while the client can log in to their account or access the remote PC using a shared public link. Free users may encounter limitations, but these can be overcome with a paid subscription.
- Chrome Remote Desktop: As a Chrome browser extension, Chrome Remote Desktop enables users to set up their computer for remote access. While it may not be the most user-friendly option for assisting others remotely, it serves exceptionally well for accessing one’s own computer.
To use Chrome Remote Desktop, the host installs the extension and receives either a random code for spontaneous support or a PIN for consistent access through their Google account. The client can connect to the host’s browser by signing in to Chrome Remote Desktop or using a temporary access code.
- Windows Remote Desktop: Built into the Windows operating system, Windows Remote Desktop provides a convenient remote access solution without requiring any additional downloads. It delivers a seamless experience akin to being in front of the remote PC. However, it may involve more complex setup compared to other tools on this list.
To enable connections, the host must allow remote connections through the System Properties settings. Additionally, port forwarding may be necessary for the host to accept incoming access requests. The client can connect to the host machine by using the installed Remote Desktop Connection software or through the Run dialog box.
While Windows Remote Desktop lacks some features found in other software, it offers a natural and straightforward way to control a remote Windows PC’s mouse and keyboard. File transfer, local printer use, audio streaming, clipboard sharing, and other functionalities are also available.
Please note that Windows Remote Desktop availability varies among Windows versions. Higher editions such as Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate allow incoming remote access, while Home Premium versions and below can only function as clients.
It is important to mention that Remote Desktop will sign out any logged-in user when someone connects remotely to their account. This distinguishes it from other programs on this list, which allow simultaneous remote access while the user is actively using the computer.