Five Best Remote Desktop Tools

Five Best Remote Desktop Tools

Whether you want quick access to your home computer from anywhere in the world or you’re the go-to IT person for your friends and family, remote desktop applications are a godsend. Even better: They’re easier than ever to set up. With the right remote desktop tool, you can access your home computer as though you’re sitting right in front of it— no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing.

LogMeIn (Windows/Mac)

LogMeIn was one of the first popular remote desktop solutions aimed squarely at consumers, offering a quick, no-hassle set up to remotely control your computer from the comfort of any web browser. LogMeIn comes in a variety of flavors, but the two that are designed to satisfy your remote desktop needs are LogMeIn Pro and LogMeIn Free. A Pro account adds more features to the service, including drag-and-drop file transfer, file sync, and meeting tools. LogMeIn Pro isn’t exactly cheap, at $US13/month or $US70/year, and while a Pro account offers more features than a free account, many users are still perfectly happy with LogMeIn Free.

TightVNC (Windows/Linux)

TightVNC is a cross-platform, open-source remote desktop application. With TightVNC, you need to set up a VNC server on the computer you wish to access remotely; you can then remotely access that computer from anywhere else with any VNC viewer. We’ve already detailed how to set up TightVNC on your home computer, and if you’d prefer controlling TightVNC from a web browser to carrying a VNC client with you, you can also control TightVNC from the web.

TeamViewer (Windows/Mac)

TeamViewer—like LogMeIn—offers free and paid accounts for remote controlling any PC. Unlike LogMeIn, TeamViewer is free for all non-commercial users. It doesn’t offer browser-based remote control, instead using small utilities to connect between computers. TeamViewer is even available as a portable application you can carry around on your thumb drive. Whether you want to set up personal remote computing or you’re pull frequent tech support duty, TeamViewer has a lot to offer.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection (Windows)

Windows Remote Desktop—the default remote desktop app that comes bundled with Windows—is still more than enough for most Windows users looking for full-featured remote desktop control. If you’ve never happened upon the Remote Desktop Connection application buried in the Accessories folder of your Start menu, now might be a good time to try it out. Just be sure you’ve enabled remote desktop access.

UltraVNC (Windows)

UltraVNC is an open-source, Windows-only remote desktop application. UltraVNC supports a hefty feature set, including text chat, file transfer support, and support for optional plug-ins. Although UltraVNC only runs on Windows, you can still access your computer from any operating system using your web browser.

This week’s honorable mentions go out to CrossLoop and mRemote. Whether or not your beloved remote desktop app made the top five, let’s hear more about it in the comments.


  • It’s worth pointing out here that current Macs have for some time been shipping with a built in VNC Server, allowing remote control by any VNC client. (Settings are in System Preferences -> Sharing). The built in server has support for scaling and multiple monitors too. It is also worth pointing out that while LogMeIn and TeamViewer can negotiate through routers doing Network Address Translation, VNC solutions will require a portmapping to be put in the router (default port is 5900 I think) to if external access is required.

  • No love for NX?

    I’ve used it for Linux and Windows over work LAN and it was lightning quick. Faster than VNC by a mile.

    If you haven’t tried it, do it. Google NoMachine NX.
    It will give you the street cred you’ve always lacked (aside from getting tatoos or a Datsun 240z).

  • Anyone have any experience with a good solid remote desktop application that works well on Vista? Currently at my work we are all running realVNC and it works a treat….but with the impending upgrade to Vista ( 🙁 ) I’ve got to find a replacement. (preferably free) but the free version of RealVNC doesnt run as a service on Vista. UltraVNC looks promising, but I’m still getting some ODD problems trying to run it as a service.

    Any suggestions?

  • All the five best remote desktop tool is good for using but i want to know is their any other
    tool through which we can access our local area network machine.
    Their is tool like damware through which we can do anything remotely in our local area network
    but is their any option to take network machine remotely with domain user current session or
    is their any other tool because in damware we can access remotely but the user will be log off
    and i want the CURRENT SESSION.

    So please reply me as soon as possible

    Thanks & Regards
    Dhananjay Yadav

  • Hi there. Thanks very much for the information on remote access. Am starting my own business and need to be able to remotely access the office pc from anywhere in the world to use accounting software etc. There are quite a few choices here so would be very grateful for opinions on which is the most suitable, i.e. fast and totally reliable. Many thanks Julia

  • I have a few more Remote PC Access Softwareoptions for you. First, Proxy has a great one that allows for mobile access, is simple to use, a great interface, and features wonderful tech support. Another one is TechInLine, which I noticed was mentioned above, but not in the list. I highly recommend you try them -they both have free versions.

  • ScreenConnect is the way to go for IT shops. It is a nifty little software that has a great development team behind it. I bought about a year ago and there have been several new releases updating the product with what the users ask for. Great product with great customer service!

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