How to remotely access a Windows 10 PC
We’ve all received that text or phone call asking for help with a Windows computer. And sometimes an in-person tech support visit isn’t scheduled, making remote PC access the only viable option.
The problem is, in most cases, you won’t be able to use Remote Desktop, Windows’ built-in option, for this purpose. The PC that is connected to (i.e. the person needing help) must have a Windows 10 Pro license, and the vast majority of people tend to have Windows 10 Home on their machine.
You can shell out $ 100 for an on-the-fly upgrade to unlock the feature, but you don’t have to. Instead, use one of these third-party services.
Note: For all the software mentioned below, you will need to install it on both your computer and the computer of the person you are helping.
Chrome Remote Desktop
Google’s solution for remote access is one of the simplest options out there. (If you still want a guide, check out how to install and configure Computerworld on our sister site.) And as an added bonus, more tech-savvy people will likely find a less confusing or intimidating interface – most users use Chrome by default. . Navigator. The sessions are encrypted and also require a connection to your Google account to access them.
This solution actually works on different operating systems, so if they’re on a Windows PC and you’re on macOS or Linux (or heck, even a smartphone) you can still help them out.
One of the most popular options for remote desktop access is TeamViewer, which is free for personal use. With a modern and user-friendly interface, it simplifies the setup and connection process. (You can read how to establish a remote connection and much more in TeamViewer’s clear instructions.) But because this program is designed for IT pros, you get more features and granular control over settings.
The only downside to TeamViewer comes from the high-profile vulnerabilities that came to light, most recently last summer. The company fixed these issues and released fixes immediately, but if you have serious security concerns, you might be more comfortable with an alternative solution.
Its website may look like a relic from the early 2000s, but you can’t dispute the reliability or reputation of TightVNC. As open source software, it is supported and trusted by the community. Adjusting the settings in the program is also a transparent and fairly straightforward process, which is both its greatest strength and weakness. People with at least a passing familiarity with networks (or a willingness to Googling on the fly) will likely find it more convenient to install, configure, and use the program.
But that increased control makes it an option for those who want more of a say in how their remote access software works – and without the blemish on its position that TeamViewer has, due to its previous security concerns. And if TightVNC isn’t quite for you, there are other VNC variations you can try, like UltraVNC.