In this review - a list of the best free programs for remote access and computer control via the Internet (also known as programs for remote desktop). First of all, we are talking about remote administration tools for Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7, although many of these programs also allow you to connect to the remote desktop on other OSs, including tablets and smartphones Android and iOS.
Why might you need such programs? In most cases, they are used for remote access to the desktop and actions for servicing a computer by system administrators and for service purposes. However, from the point of view of a typical user, remote control of a computer via the Internet or a local network can also be useful: for example, instead of installing a virtual machine with Windows on a Linux or Mac laptop, you can connect to an existing PC with this OS (and this is just one possible scenario )
Update: Windows 10 update version 1607 (August 2016) has a new built-in, very simple Remote Desktop application - Quick Help, which is suitable for the most novice users. Details about using the program: Remote access to the desktop in the Quick Assist application of Windows 10 (opens in a new tab).
Microsoft Remote Desktop
Microsoft Remote Desktop is good in that for remote access to a computer with its help you do not need to install any additional software, while the RDP protocol, which is used during access, is sufficiently protected and works well.
But there are also disadvantages. First of all, while connecting to Remote Desktop, you can, without installing additional programs from all versions of Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10 (as well as from other operating systems, including Android and iOS, by downloading the free Microsoft Remote Desktop client ), as the computer to which you are connecting (server), there can only be a computer or laptop with Windows Pro or higher.
Another limitation is that without additional settings and research, connecting to Microsoft Remote Desktop only works if computers and mobile devices are on the same local network (for example, connected to the same router for home use) or have static IPs on the Internet (at the same time are not behind the routers).
However, if you have Windows 10 (8) Professional, or Windows 7 Ultimate (like many) installed on your computer, and access is required only for home use, Microsoft Remote Desktop may be the ideal option for you.
Details on use and connection: Microsoft Remote Desktop
TeamViewer is probably the most famous program for remote desktop Windows and other operating systems. It is in Russian, easy to use, very functional, works great through the Internet and is considered free for private use. In addition, it can work without installing on a computer, which is useful if you only need a single connection.
TeamViewer is available as a “large” program for Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10, Mac and Linux, combining server and client functions and allowing you to configure permanent remote access to your computer, in the form of TeamViewer QuickSupport module, which does not require installation, which immediately after launches the ID and password that you want to enter on the computer from which the connection will be made. Additionally, there is a TeamViewer Host option to provide the ability to connect to a specific computer at any time. Recently, TeamViewer has appeared as an application for Chrome, there are official applications for iOS and Android.
Among the features available during a remote computer control session in TeamViewer
- Starting a VPN connection with a remote computer
- Remote printing
- Take screenshots and record remote desktop
- File Sharing or Just File Transfer
- Voice and text chat, chat, side switching
- TeamViewer also supports Wake-on-LAN, reboot and automatic reconnection in safe mode.
To summarize, TeamViewer is the option that I could recommend to almost everyone who needed a free program for remote desktop and computer control for domestic purposes - you almost don't have to understand it, since everything is intuitive and easy to use . For commercial purposes, you will have to buy a license (otherwise you will encounter the fact that sessions will be broken automatically).
More about usage and where to download: Remote computer control in TeamViewer
Chrome Remote Desktop
Google has its own implementation of the remote desktop, operating as an application for Google Chrome (while access will not only be to Chrome on the remote computer, but to the entire desktop). All desktop operating systems on which you can install the Google Chrome browser are supported. For Android and iOS, there are also official customers in the app stores.
To use Chrome Remote Desktop, you will need to download the browser extension from the official store, set the access data (pin code), and connect to the other computer using the same extension and the specified pin code. At the same time, to use the Chrome remote desktop, you must be logged into your Google account (not necessarily the same account on different computers).
Among the advantages of the method are safety and the absence of the need to install additional software if you already use the Chrome browser. Of the disadvantages - limited functionality. Learn more: Chrome Remote Desktop .
Remote computer access in AnyDesk
AnyDesk is another free program for remote access to a computer, and it was created by former TeamViewer developers. Among the advantages that the creators claim are high speed of work (transferring desktop graphics) in comparison with other similar utilities.
AnyDesk supports the Russian language and all the necessary functions, including file transfer, encryption of the connection, the ability to work without installing on a computer. However, there are fewer functions than in some other remote administration solutions, but there is everything here for using the remote desktop connection “for work”. AnyDesk versions are available for Windows and for all popular Linux distributions, for Mac OS, Android, and iOS.
According to my personal feelings - this program is even more convenient and simpler than the previously mentioned TeamViewer. Of the interesting features - work with multiple remote desktops on separate tabs. More about features and where to download: Free program for remote access and computer management AnyDesk
RMS or Remote Utilities
Remote Utilities, presented on the Russian market as Remote Access RMS (in Russian) is one of the most powerful programs for remote access to the computer of those that I met. Moreover, it is free to manage up to 10 computers, even for commercial purposes.
The list of functions includes everything that may or may not be necessary, including, but not limited to:
- Several connection modes, including support for RDP over the Internet.
- Remote installation and deployment of software.
- Access to the camcorder, the remote registry and command line, support for Wake-On-Lan, chat functions (video, audio, text), remote screen recording.
- Drag-n-Drop support for file transfers.
- Support for multiple monitors.
This is not all the features of RMS (Remote Utilities), if you need something really functional for remote administration of computers and for free, I recommend trying this option. Read more: Remote Administration in Remote Utilities (RMS)
UltraVNC, TightVNC and similar
VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a type of remote connection to the desktop of a computer, similar to RDP, but multi-platform and open source. To establish a connection, as well as in other similar variants, a client (viewer) and a server are used (on the computer to which the connection is made).
Of the popular programs (for Windows) of remote access to a computer using VNC, UltraVNC and TightVNC can be distinguished. Different implementations support various functions, but as a rule there is everywhere file transfer, clipboard synchronization, transfer of keyboard shortcuts, text chat.
Using UltraVNC and other solutions cannot be called simple and intuitive for novice users (in fact, this is not for them), but it is one of the most popular solutions for accessing your computers or computers of an organization. In the framework of this article, instructions for using and setting up will not work, but if you have interest and a desire to understand - there are plenty of materials on using VNC on the network.
The AeroAdmin program for remote desktop is one of the simplest free solutions of this kind that I have come across in Russian and is ideal for novice users who do not need any significant functionality, in addition to just viewing and managing a computer via the Internet.
In this case, the program does not require installation on a computer, and the executable file is miniature. About usage, features and where to download: AeroAdmin Remote Desktop
There are many more different implementations of remote access to the computer desktop for different operating systems, both paid and free. Among them are Ammy Admin, RemotePC, Comodo Unite and more.
I tried to single out those that are free, functional, support the Russian language and which antiviruses do not swear at (or do so to a lesser extent) (most remote administration programs are RiskWare, i.e. representing a potential threat with unauthorized access, and therefore be prepared which, for example, on VirusTotal they have detection).