How to access a computer over the Internet
There might come a time when you would need to remotely connect to your home computer or someone else's PC. For instance, your parents might need some assistance configuring a certain application on their computer or you might need a certain document from your home PC. The solution would be to make a remote desktop connection over the Internet. Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enables you to complete this type of task without paying a buck. In another article, we showed you how to enable remote desktop features on Windows 10 PCs. However, the app isn't always reliable. For example, the Windows remote desktop connection manager doesn't let you restart the remote PC and automatically reconnect. Also, it might take you a while to set up a remote desktop connection outside your network, especially if the remote client has little computer experience.
Over the years, dozens of other remote utilities for PCs were developed. Applications like TeamViewer, Chrome Remote Desktop or UltraVNC are among the most popular remote desktop software which you can download for free. Still, TeamViewer remains the best remote access software for small businesses as it's more reliable and feature-rich.
You will need to download the following software to follow along with this tutorial.
Use Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is a fully cross-platform utility developed for users who want to easily access a computer over the Internet. All of the established connections are secured, so you won't be dealing with any data loss or unauthorized access while using Chrome's remote features. Here's what you need to do:
Install the extension in your Google Chrome app. Once the installation process is complete, authorize the app by logging into your Google account.
Click the "Get Started" button. You will then need to download the Chrome Remote Desktop Host installer. Install the app on your PC.
Enter the desired PIN in the Chrome Remote Desktop app. This PIN will be needed when connecting to your PC from a different location.
Entering PIN In Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop doesn't bring you file transfer capabilities. The solution would be to log into your Google account from the Chrome web browser, go to Google Drive app, and drag-and-drop the files you need to transfer. Once the uploading process is complete, open the Google Drive tool from the remote PC and download the necessary data.
TeamViewer is definitely my go-to app whenever I need to connect to my home PC directly from my office. The program provides you with a great deal of advantages, works flawlessly, and requires minimum configuration. Another interesting thing that you can do with TeamViewer online is to transfer files between PCs. What's more, the app comes without a price tag as long as it's for your personal use only. Here's how to use TeamViewer to access a computer over the Internet:
Download TeamViewer from the homepage of the developer and install it on your PC. There's also a TeamViewer portable edition available.
Launch the utility on your computer. You will have access to a random ID number and a password which you can offer to someone who's trying to connect to your PC remotely.
There's also an app developed for mobile devices called TeamViewer QuickSupport. This app makes it possible for support team members to connect to your mobile phone as if it would be in their own hands and to fix software-related issues.
UltraVNC is another free utility that enables you to connect to remote desktop PCs. The program isn't as feature-rich as the aforementioned tools, but it has its advantages. For starters, UltraVNC allows you to transfer files and start chat conversations, has the ability to connect over a web browser, and even lets you connect to a remote computer that's in Safe mode. The downside is that, unlike with the aforementioned apps, you might need to configure a couple of settings for enabling remote desktop connections.
The app installer is packed with several tools, such as the UltraVNC Server or the UltraVNC Repeater (behaves like a proxy, sitting between the server and the viewer). So, it's impossible to download only the UltraVNC viewer on your Windows 7 PC. Still, you have the option to select which tools to be installed on your computer.
Here's how to use UltraVNC on your PC:
Install the Server tool on the PC you will be trying to connect to and the Viewer app on the other computer.
From the computer where you installed the Server tool, right-click the app's icon from the System Tray and select the "Admin Properties" option. Configure the app's settings according to your needs. Enter a VNC password. Click the "Apply" and "OK" buttons.
From the other computer, launch the UltraVNC viewer tool and enter the necessary info. Click the "Connect" button.
Optional: Unfortunately, some remote apps make IP addresses public, an aspect which isn't too convenient if you care about your privacy. One way to turn off remote access on my computer is by hiding my IP address. There are countless desktop apps that enable you to mask your IP address.
Even though you might need some computer experience in order to work with some of these remote access apps, they might prove to be of good use at some point helping you connect to your home PC or transfer files from one computer to another. Still, if you ask me, TeamViewer is the best as it provides you with the best service available and gives you access to a bunch of useful features.