The last 12 months have seen more and more of us working from home. While some have loved it, others have hated it. But if you still need to access your office computer while you’re working from home, there’s an easy way to remotely access another computer over the internet – and often for free.
What is remote access?
‘Remote access’ sounds quite techy, but it’s a simple term used when you need to use (access) a computer that’s in one location while you’re in another (remote) location. Using this tech gives you the chance to use your work computer and access your files while you’re working from home or anywhere else, no matter how far away from the office you are.
It gives you convenient access so you can use any software, application, or programme, check your emails or calendar, open files and documents, and work in exactly the same way as you normally do – just not in the office.
The benefits of remote access
Once you log in with remote access, you have full use and control of your PC as if you were in the office using it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote access helped millions of office workers carry on working while at home. But even beyond COVID, remote access is becoming more crucial to people’s working lives.
Even if you’re able to work in the office with everyone else, sometimes being in a different environment gives you a better chance to concentrate and be more productive. Remote access allows you the opportunity for both. The silence of your own home (or anywhere else) and no commute or travel delays, can give you a full day with no distractions – and less stress straight.
If you need tech support or troubleshooting advice, using free (or paid) services that allow you to remotely access another computer over the internet will often come with full IT support. With instant access whenever you need it, it also means less downtime so you can be even more productive.
Remote access working is also cost-effective. Fewer people in the office means fewer overheads and amenities costs for employers, as well as the environmental benefits of less commuting. There are even Bring Your Own Device schemes that employers could put in place that will reduce spending on company-owned resources, encouraging staff to use their own laptops, tablets, or phones.
And with remote access software, there’s a high level of network security built in so accessing all data is encrypted and secure.
Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)
As the world’s biggest software company, Microsoft has plenty of products to help PC users all over the world. One of the components built into the Windows OS platform is the Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) – an ideal starting place for Windows 10 users working at home to remotely access another computer over the internet. But how does it work? Follow these steps:
A. Set up the PC you want to connect to (office computer) by allowing remote connections
- go to: Start > Settings > System > Remote Desktop
- Turn on ‘Enable Remote Desktop’
- Make a note of your PC’s name – you’ll need this to connect (see below)
B. Connect your local computer (at home) with your office computer
- Search ‘Remote Desktop Connection’ in the taskbar, then select it when it appears
- Open RDC up and add the name of the PC you want to connect to
- Select ‘Connect’
It should be a fairly straightforward process, but it may differ slightly depending on which version of Windows you’re using and connecting to.
Free remote access software
Fortunately, Microsoft isn’t the only company offering remote access software. If you’re not a Windows user (or a fan of their RDC), there are plenty of other options for both Mac and PC and Android and iOS devices, all letting you remotely access another computer over the internet for free.
Whichever option you choose, they all work in much the same basic way as described above. The only real difference between them is whether they’re created for a Mac or PC platform, together with their look and feel. And while most are free, many of them also offer premium (paid for) versions, giving you access to more features.
Remote access software: 10 of the best
Whether paid for or free, Mac or PC, the benefits of using remote access software are plentiful. As described above, the increased productivity, convenience, security, and support, all make working from home much easier. But with such a selection to choose from, which remote access software is right for you? Let’s have a look at 10 of the best:
1. Chrome Remote Desktop | £ Free
This remote access software is a really popular choice for Mac and PC and Android and iOS, mainly because, like most things they do, Google makes it secure and easy to use.
2. Microsoft Remote Desktop | £ Free
One of the main choices for Windows users, this gives easy access to your computer over a secure network. But your computer needs to be running Windows Enterprise, Ultimate, or Profesional.
3. TeamViewer | £ Free and From £32 per month
A great option for remote access with multiple features. Also has colleague collaboration and the ability to host online meetings or presentations.
4. Splashtop | £ From £5 per month
Multi-platform, multi-browser remote access software for individuals and small teams in business with a free trial. Also has an education model alongside specific models for larger organisations.
5. AnyDesk | £ From £10 per month
With a free trial to get you started, AnyDesk offers a great mix of pro features for multiple platforms and devices and with on-site or cloud-based options.
6. Mikogo | £ From £11 per month
With three paid-for options, Mikogo is cross-platform and offers remote access plus a good range of business features, including screen sharing, voice conferencing, and session recording.
7. GoToMyPC | £ From £29 per month
Popular but pricey GoToMyPC is stacked with great features and real ease-of-use for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS users including remote printing, file transfer, and real-time diagnostics.
8. Radmin | £ Free
Suitable for Windows, Radmin is free and easy to use to create a VPN. Powerful and reliable, Radmin can be used by staff or IT pros. Needs to be installed on both the local and remote computers to work.
9. Zoho Assist | £ Free and From £8 per month
Another popular remote access client, Zoho Assist is packed with features with more available the higher up the pricing ranks you go. Can be customised with templates and branding.
10. NoMachine | £ Free and £30 per month
One that covers all platforms, including Android, iOS, and Linux, NoMachine is slick-looking, fast, and secure. Free for single users or premium for unlimited users, but both pack lots of features.
Get the support you need with Geeks On Wheels
There’s plenty of options to choose from if you need fast and secure remote access to your office computer. But whether you need some specialist advice or tech support to get you going, Geeks on Wheels can help you.
Mac or PC, home or business user, we offer full on-site support at our premises as well as full remote support if you can’t make it in. Contact us today and we’ll make sure you make the right choice and have the right support.