3 Tools to Control Your PC from A Distance Using Remote Access

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via MakeUseOf.com by Ben on 9/22/08


If you’ve been sick, gone, or needed to access any of your computers from another computer, you know how infuriating it can be. It can make you want to throw your mouse across the room, or worse. But before you turn to throwing mice, try some of these easier solutions to access and control your computer remotely.


Out of every remote access service I’ve used, this one is by far the simplest. You simply sign up for a free account at LogMeIn and download a small program on the computer you want to remote-control and presto. You can now remotely access that computer from any other computer with Java.

There is also an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer and a plug-in for Firefox that gives you a bit more control (faster, better image quality, etc.) over the remote access.

LogMeIn’s free version is absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, it has its limitations though. First of all, only three computers can be part of any one account if the free version is being used. You also can’t transfer files from one computer to another. If you want some of these more advanced features, you are going to have to shell out about $70 a year per PC or Mac.

LogMeIn works with PCs and Macs.

uVNC (Windows only)

uvnc reviewThink of LogMeIn Pro for free, but you’re going to have to know your IP address and what your open ports are.

uVNC (that u stands for Ultra) is extremely full featured and easy to set up. The quality of the image coming across is wonderful, it feels as if you’re sitting right there in front of the computer. Full of awesome features, one of the most useful ones is file transfers, where you can drag and drop files on to the remote computer.

Another nice feature is to be able to chat with the user of the other computer - this especially good if you are collaborating on a project or giving support.

My only two gripes about uVNC is that 1) it can be a bit of a drag to connect to a remote computer. You need to type in the IP and port settings and ACK! Nothing beats just clicking on the computer name and not having to worry about dynamic IPs or anything like that. Also 2) some anti-virus software apps will not let you use it.

FolderShare (Windows and Mac)

FolderShare’s motto is “keep your latest files with you, no matter which computer you’re using.” and that is exactly what it does. The general setup process is similar to LogMeIn: download a small setup file, create an account, and presto, you’re done.

To access your files you simply navigate to FolderShare, login and… wait a minute! It says I can’t access my computer! Don’t worry, you see the little blue F in the lower right hand corner of the screen? Right click and under ‘more’ click ‘Settings’, under ‘computer information’, there is a check box that says “Allow remote access to this computer” simply check it, click ‘OK’ and you’re done. You can now download any file on your computer from any other computer.

This feature compliments LogMeIn free, giving you access to your files. But wait there’s more! A very useful feature of FolderShare is the ability to create “libraries” both public and personal. Public library allows anyone or just the people you specify, to view and download (or even upload) to that folder. This is great for sharing pictures with family or collaborating on a project. Personal libraries give you the ability to sync that folder between two computers. This is absolutely great for anyone who uses two or more computers regularly, you set a folder in say My Documents (or just Documents on a Mac) and tell FolderShare you want to make a personal library and that folder will be the same on all of the computers.

How do you deal with separation from your computer when you need it? What remote access apps do you use?