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Whether you’re trouble shooting your family PC problems from your home, or just want to access your PC remotely, remote desktop solutions are incredibly useful. Unfortunately, most remote desktop programs aren’t very easily understood by the average computer user.
Here is a rundown of 4 easy-to-use free remote desktop Windows applications which make reaching out to your computer remotely as easy as ABC. All of these are FREE for non-commercial purposes.
Teamviewer is easily the king of amateur remote desktop providers, both because of its wide popularity and instantly recognizable interface. A remote desktop session is created when one partner supplies his securely-generated, unique Teamviewer ID and password to his partner on the other side, upon which the active partner can choose to provide remote support, perform a presentation, transfer files, or create a virtual private network (VPN).
Teamviewer’s one-click solution to remote desktop support and its simple interface makes performing remote desktop a breeze, whether you work at tech support or simply want to reach out to your files at home. There’s also a stripped-down version for passive users for receiving support only, and the program has cross-browser capabilities, working over Windows, Mac, Linux, and even on the iPhone.
2. Instant Housecall
Instant Housecall is basically a simpler version of Teamviewer, and works almost identically minus a few bells and whistles. Similar to Teamviewer, it requires the active partner and the computer he’s reaching out to to have the software installed on both computers, and connects both of them with a unique username and password, or with a basic applet which is marginally smaller in size.
Once you’re logged in, a support window pops up detailing the passive partner’s desktop screen. It’s very speedy, maybe due to its lighter system requirements, so if you’re having problems with Teamviewer or just want to suit a client’s preferences, Instant Housecall provides a nice alternative niche with the same functionality.
LogMeIn is the other major remote desktop provider on the front lines of the market, reaching out to consumers and businesses alike with its easily recognizable brand name. So far, reviews about their service have been top-notch, whether you’re on Windows, Mac or need a link over your iPhone.
Among the choices mentioned here, LogMeIn straddles the extremes rather than provide the best of both worlds. It has the highest stability rates during its remote desktop sessions (which is important), but it limits free users to remote desktop access only and nothing else; paying customers have file transfer, remote printing and desktop sharing options, functions which are completely free in Teamviewer. Still, if all you need is a way to support your clients living on the outer reaches of the globe, LogMeIn is the perfect application to fulfil your tech support needs.
ThinVNC is a new remote desktop solution which provides a revolutionary new approach to performing remote access – through your web browser. Taking advantage of HTML 5’s arsenal of new capabilities, it creates a remote session between the partners and displays the screen within the active partner’s web browser, i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer. The potential for this type of functionality is enormous, such as creating sessions over a friend’s computer or on a public terminal – which is what makes it such a great free remote desktop Windows application.
The disadvantage of using it is that it’s not as simple to set up as the aforementioned programs, requiring basic knowledge of IP addresses and port numbers – but these are easily obtainable with the right instructions. The advantages are obvious, as web browsers are much more readily acceptable on foreign devices than executable setup files, and you have the assurance of performing remote access on campus or in cybercaf©s if you ever find the need to.
This post was written by Aaron Pek and edited by James Yeang