Remote Desktop software are tools which allow users control a computer from a remote location. These software are very powerful and useful as they eliminate the need to travel long distances to configure a PC in another location.
They are used majorly by the IT staff of large corporations with offices all over the world, Remote Desktop software eliminates the need for many IT support staff in every location where large companies have offices with just a central IT team.
In remote desktop connections, the PC you want to access is called the Host and the PC which is used to access the other is called the Client. For remote desktop connections to work, both the Host computer and the client computer must have Remote Desktop Connection software installed on them.
Remote Desktop Software tools are easy to use and require just basic computer knowledge. The best Remote Desktop Software currently based on user reviews arranged in no particular order are:
Best Free Remote Desktop Software
Most remote desktop software have free versions but these are the best based on user reviews.
1. Zoho Assist
Zoho Assist is a simple, yet powerful remote support tool developed by Zoho Corporation. It can be used for both personal and commercial purposes, and is known for its easy-to-understand user interface.
Since Zoho Assist is entirely cloud-based, you can initiate support sessions directly from your browser-based console without the need for application installation at the user end. It offers cross-platform OS compatibility and is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, and iOS.
Zoho Assist provides a secure, end-to-end encrypted service. It supports file transfer between remote devices, remote printing, voice and video calls, clipboard sharing, a “run as service” option, user management, and much more.
Team Viewer has remained one of the most popular remote desktop software for a long time now and is consistently rated as one of the best too. It is easy to install and supports file transfers, printing, voice calls, video calls and instant messaging. It can reboot a remote computer to safe mode and automatically reconnect.
Team viewer supports Windows, Mac and Linus operating systems. The app has two options for remote desktop connection management on the Host side, they are:
- Teamviewer QuickSupport: is a remote connection web app used when you are accessing the remote pc only once or if you cant install the software on your computer.
- Teamviewer Host: is a remote desktop connection app for users who will be connecting regularly to the host computer.
- Full, Installable Teamviewer: for best connections and easy usage, it is advisable to install the full teamviewer software on the host computer.
On the client side, Teamviewer has the following remote desktop connection managers.
Teamviewer Client Apps: These apps are installed on the client computer for remote desktop connections, there are Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS compatible Teamviewer client apps. The mobile Teamviewer apps allow you control your computer with your mobile phones and tablets.
Teamviewer Client Web App: These client side apps enable Host computers connect to the client through web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
3. Windows Remote Desktop Software
This is the official in-built Microsoft Windows OS Remote Desktop connection manager. To connect to a client PC with the Windows Remote Desktop App, follow these steps:
- Use the search feature to find “Remote Desktop Connection App” which you can then pin to the taskbar on your desktop for future use.
- Launch the App
- Enter the client computer’s address e.g computer.fabrikam.com
- Click Connect
- You can also configure more options by clicking the “Show Options” dropdown button.
To allow access to the Windows Remote Desktop app on the host computer, follow these steps:
- Go to Computer
- Open System Properties
- Open Remote Settings
- Tick the “Allow Remote Assistance Connections to this computer” on the Remote Tab
You also have to set up port forwarding on your router to enable remote PC’s connect to your PC if they are from external networks.
Windows Remote Desktop software doesn’t have as many features as the Teamviewer and the others mentioned earlier but it is the easiest way to control a PC remotely. It allows file transfers, printing, audio listening and copying of clipboard content. The app is available for Windows OS 10 down to Windows XP.
4. Chrome Remote Desktop Extension
Google Chrome has a remote desktop extension plugin called Chrome Remote Desktop. It enables remote desktop access for any two computers using the Google Chrome browser.
All you need to do is install the Google Chrome Remote Desktop extension on your Host PC’s chrome browser and authorize remote access to your PC with a Personal Identification number you create. You will need to login to your Google account to complete the process.
To connect to the Host PC, the Client PC has install the remote desktop extension and sign in to Google Chrome using the same Google account as the Host browser. Once logged in, you can connect to the other PC by clicking on its name and clicking the start remote session button.
Chrome Remote Desktop software is a basic remote desktop connection manager which allows you do just basic file sharing unlike other programs. It is easy to use and can work with any operating system that supports Google Chrome.
5. Remote Utilities Viewer
Remote Utilities Viewer is a very good remote desktop software. It has a maximum remote connection limit of 10 PCs.
To use Remote Utilities, you need to install the Remote Utilities Host App on your PC or use the Remote Utilities Agent which allows you to manage remote connections without any installation.
The two connecting computers must share a unique Remote Utilities ID in order to connect successfully.
On the client side, the Remote Utilities viewer program is also used to connect to the Host or Agent apps.
Setting up remote connections with the viewer is very easy on the client as all you need is the Internet ID and password but is quite stressful on the host computer duw to many different configuration options.
Remote Utilities Viewer supports Windows, iOS, Android and other operating systems. Features of the software include file transfer, remote rebooting, remote printing, command prompt access, text chat, webcam viewing, etc.
UltraVNC is also a good remote desktop connection tool. To use the tool, simply install the app on both Client and Host PCs. Install the UltraVNC viewer on the Host PC and the UltraVNC server on the Client PC.
UltraVNC requires port forwarding configuration on your client router, the client server IP address is used by the Host PC to connect over the internet.
The software has file transfer, remote server rebooting, text chat and supports a wide number of versions Windows OS including Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Best Paid Remote Desktop Software
For users and companies looking to control many computers remotely, there are good paid remote desktop software with lots of features. The best paid remote desktop software based on user reviews currently are:
ScreenConnect is a web based remote desktop software which provides solid security with its 256-bit SSL encryption, IP filtering, access codes and more. It offers top of the line performance and is also very fast and efficient.
Screenconnect is currently rated the best paid remote desktop software. The only minor disadvantage is that there must be a person at both the client and host end for setup and requires some technical knowledge to set up. They offer technical support and an information database to help new users.
It has a wide range of features and is essentially for IT support staff, not single users. The software supports PC, Mac, Tablets and Mobile phones. Security settings are customizable with several security features.
Screenconnect Remote Desktop software pricing starts at $49 monthly and $468 annually. The software allows up to 50 administrative PC users on one plan.
2. GoToMyPC Pro
GoToMyPC is also a good remote desktop software which offers easy installation and usage. It has strong security and collaboration tools. The service also has a very good customer support system better than most of the other services.
GoToMyPC offers top performance and allows administrators work on multiple computers at once. The service offers 24/7 customer support in 25+ countries and has training guides and a standard knowledgebase, they also offer chat support. The software allows access to an unlimited number of administrative users and just 10 PCs.
GoToMyPC pricing starts at $139.50 for the monthly plan and $1339 for the yearly plan.
3. TeamViewer Business
Teamviewer offers one of the best free remote desktop apps and also offers one of the best paid remote desktop apps. It is easy to set up, easy to use and is quite fast.
Teamviewer lets the client and host computer switch roles if need be at any time. The service has good security features such as unusual behavior detection and the trusted service feature which prompts you to confirm any new device before allowing access. It uses 256 bit encryption which is above the industry standard of 128-bits. It however lacks the IP blocking feature. Teamviewer Business offers user guides, how to videos, live chat, telephone and Tech support.
Teamviewer Pro plans start at $809 annually. The plan allows for only one administrator and an unlimited number of computers.
4. LogMeIn Central
LogMeIn is also a good paid remote desktop app which allows users share files securely and very fast. It is good for telecommuters, single users and company IT support departments. The software also supports a number of foreign languages.
Unfortunately, the LogMeIn service does not support live chat at the moment which tends to make contacting customer service more difficult, usets have to submit email tickets or call support which is available 24/7, the service has a comprehensive knowledgebase as well. LogMeIn supports Windows, Mac OS, Android OS and iOS.
LogMeIn’s app is easy to install and use, a LogMeIn account is required to start a remote desktop connection as well as a passcode for both the host and client PCs.
LogMeIn pricing starts at $499 annually, there is no monthly plan available. The app allows up to 100 administrative users and 25 PCs on one account.