Run your PC from afar — securely and easily

Susan bradley By Susan Bradley

Your office PC is miles away, when suddenly you realize you forgot that all-important file — what to do?

Luckily, there are free tools (including one possibly residing in Windows) that give you remote access — or even full-scale remote control — of your PC, as if you were sitting right in front of it.

By day, I work as a server admin for my clients; by night, I becomea support tech for my sister and dad. But when problems arise at some inconvenient hour, the last thing I want to do is hop into the car and drive to the troubled PC (or server). Instead, I pull out one of my many remote-connectivity software tools and access the ailing PC from afar.

With remote-access software running, I see their screens on my monitor. I control their cursors with my mouse. I use my keyboard to enter commands and text into their systems. It’s as if I were sitting at their PCs without ever having left my house.

That’s pretty cool, but there are many good reasons for using remote access/remote control software beyond family tech support. You can also use it to access your personal or office PC when you’re away — pull down that file you left behind, synchronize data between your notebook and desktop computers or your home and office PCs, or run applications you have on one machine but not on another.

Look to Windows first for a remote connection

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) is found in most versions of XP, Vista, and Windows 7, and it’s relatively easy to use. (See list below.)

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-04-15:

Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.