15 Free Remote Access Software Tools
Remotely Access Computers for Free With These Programs
Remote desktop software, more accurately called remote access software or remote control software, let you remotely control one computer from another. By remote control I truly mean remote control – you can take over the mouse and keyboard and use the computer you’ve connected to just like your own.
Remote desktop software is really useful for lots of situations, from helping your dad who lives 500 miles away, work through a computer issue, to remotely administering from your New York office the dozens of servers you run in a Singaporean data center!
Generally, remotely accessing a computer requires that a piece of software be installed on the computer you want to connect to, called the host. Once that’s done, another computer or device with the right credentials, called the client, can connect to the host and control it.
Don’t let the technical aspects of remote desktop software scare you away. The better free remote access programs I’ve listed below require nothing more than a few clicks to get started – no special computer knowledge required.
Note: Remote Desktop is also the actual name of the built-in remote access tool in Windows operating systems. I’ve ranked it alongside the other tools but I think there are several remote control programs that do a better job.
TeamViewer is easily the best free remote access software I’ve ever used. There are tons of features, which is always great, but it’s also extremely easy to install. No changes to router or firewall configurations are needed.
With support for video, voice calls, and text chat, TeamViewer also allows file transfers, supports wake-on-LAN (WOL), and can even remotely reboot a PC into Safe Mode and then reconnect automatically.
The computer you want to connect to with TeamViewer can be a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.
A full, installable version of TeamViewer is one option here and is probably the safe bet if you’re not sure what to do. A portable version, called TeamViewer QuickSupport, is a great choice if the computer you want to remote control will only need to be accessed once or if installing software on it isn’t possible. The third option, TeamViewer Host, is the best choice if you’ll be regularly connecting to this computer.
TeamViewer has a number of options for connecting to the computer you want to control.
Installable and portable programs are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone. Yes – that means you can use your phone or tablet to connect to your remotely controlled computers while on the go.
TeamViewer also lets you also use a web browser to remotely access a computer.
A number of other features are also included, like the ability to share a single application window with someone else (instead of the whole desktop) and the option to print remote files to a local printer.
I suggest trying TeamViewer before any of the other programs in this list.
The full list of supported desktop operating systems for TeamViewer includes Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Windows Server 2012/2008/2003, Windows Home Server, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. More »
Remote Utilities is a free remote access program with some really great features. It works by pairing two remote computers together with what they call an “Internet ID.” You can control a total of 10 PCs with Remote Utilities.
Install a portion of Remote Utilities called Host on a Windows PC to have permanent access to it. You also have the option to just run Agent, which provides spontaneous support without installing anything – it can even be launched from a flash drive.
The host computer is given an Internet ID that they must share so a client can make a connection.
The Viewer program is used to connect to the host or agent software.
The Viewer can be downloaded on its own or in the Viewer + Host combo file. You can also download a portable version of the Viewer if you’d rather not install anything.
Connecting the Viewer to the Host or Agent is done without any router changes like port forwarding, making setup very easy. The client just needs to enter the Internet ID number and password.
There are also client applications that can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android users.
Different modules can be used from the viewer so you can actually access a computer remotely without even viewing the screen, though screen-viewing is definitely Remote Utilities’ main feature.
Here are some of the modules Remote Utilities allows: A remote task manager, file transfer, power control for remote rebooting or WOL, remote terminal (access to Command Prompt), remote file launcher, system information manager, text chat, remote registry access, and remote webcam viewing.
In addition to these features, Remote Utilities also supports remote printing and viewing multiple monitors.
Unfortunately, configuring Remote Utilities can be confusing on the host computer since there are lots of different options.
Remote Utilities can be installed on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003. More »
Another remote access program is UltraVNC. UltraVNC works a bit like Remote Utilities, where a server and viewer is installed on two PCs, and the viewer is used to control the server.
When you install UltraVNC, you’re asked if you wish to install the Server, Viewer, or both. Install the Server on the PC you wish to connect to.
You can install the UltraVNC Server as a system service so it’s always running. This is the ideal option so you can always make a connection to it with the client software.
To make a connection with the UltraVNC Server, you must install the Viewer portion during setup.
After configuring port forwarding in your router, you’ll be able to access the UltraVNC server from anywhere with an internet connection – either via a mobile device that supports VNC connections, a PC with the Viewer installed, or an internet browser. All you need is the Server’s IP address to make the connection.
UltraVNC supports file transfers, text chat, clipboard sharing, and can even boot and connect to the server in Safe Mode.
The download page is a little confusing – first select the most recent UltraVNC version, and then choose the 32-bit or 64-bit setup file that will work with your edition of Windows.
Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, and Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003 users can install and use UltraVNC. More »
AeroAdmin is probably the easiest program to use for free remote access. There are hardly any settings, and everything is quick and to the point, which is perfect for spontaneous support.
AeroAdmin looks a lot like the TeamViewer program that tops this list. Just open the portable program and share your IP address or the given ID with someone else. This is how the client computer will know how to connect to the host.
The client PC just needs to run the same AeroAdmin program and enter the ID or IP address into their program. You can choose View only or Remote Control before you connect, and then just select Connect to request remote control.
When the host computer confirms the connection, you can start controlling the computer, sharing clipboard text, and transferring files.
It’s great that AeroAdmin is absolutely free for both personal and commercial use, but it’s too bad there isn’t a chat option included.
Windows Remote Desktop
Windows Remote Desktop is the remote access software built into the Windows operating system. No additional download is necessary to use the program.
To enable connections to a computer with Windows Remote Desktop, you must open the System Properties settings and allow remote connections via a particular Windows user through the Remote tab.
You do have to setup your router for port forwarding so another PC can connection to it from outside the network, but this is usually not that big of a hassle to complete.
The other computer that wishes to connect to the host machine must simply open the already installed Remote Desktop Connection software and enter the IP address of the host.
Most of the other software in this list have features that Windows Remote Desktop doesn’t, but this method of remote access seems to be the most natural and easiest way to control the mouse and keyboard of a remote PC.
Once you have everything configured, you can transfer files, print to a local printer, listen to audio from the remote PC, and transfer clipboard content.
Windows Remote Desktop can be used on Windows from XP up through Windows 10.
RemotePC, for good or bad, is a simpler free remote desktop program. You’re only allowed one connection (unless you upgrade) but for many of you, that’ll be just fine.
Download and install RemotePC on the PC that will be accessed remotely. Windows and Mac are both supported.
Share the Access ID and Key with someone else so that they can access the computer.
Alternatively, you can create an account with RemotePC and then log in on the host computer to add the computer to your account for easy access later.
There are two ways to access the RemotePC host from a different computer. The first is through the RemotePC program that you install on your computer. Enter the host computer’s Access ID and Key to connect to and control the host, or even just to transfer files.
Another way you can use RemotePC from the client’s perspective is through the iOS or Android app. Follow the download link below to get RemotePC installed on your mobile device.
You’ll be able to receive sound from the remote PC, record what you’re doing to a video file, access multiple monitors, transfer files, and text chat. Some of those features aren’t available if the host and client computers are running different operating systems.
RemotePC lets you have just one computer set up on your account at once, which means you can’t keep hold of a list of PCs to remote into like you can with most of the other remote access programs in this list.
The following operating systems are supported: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000, and Mac (Snow Leopard and newer).
Remember: The free version of RemotePC lets you keep track of one computer in your account. You must pay if you want to hold on to the Access ID of more than one host. More »
Seecreen (previously called Firnass) is an extremely tiny (500 KB), yet powerful free remote access program that’s absolutely perfect for on-demand, instant support.
Open the program on the computer that needs to be controlled. After creating an account and logging in, you can add other users to the menu by their email address or username.
Adding the client under the “Unattended” section lets them have unattended access to the computer.
If you don’t want to add the contact, you can still just share the ID and password with the client so they can have instant access.
To connect to the host computer with Seecreen, the other user needs to enter the host’s ID and password.
Once the two computers are paired up, you can start a voice call or share your screen, an individual window, or part of the screen with the other user. Once screen sharing has begun, you can record the session, transfer files, and run remote commands.
Sharing the screen must be initiated from the client’s computer.
Seecreen doesn’t support clipboard syncing.
Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension for the Google Chrome web browser that lets you setup a computer for remote access from any other Chrome browser.
The way this works is that you install the extension in Google Chrome and then give authorization for remote access to that PC via a personal PIN you create yourself.
This requires you to log on to your Google account, like your Gmail or YouTube login information.
To connect to the host browser, sign on to another Chrome browser with the same Google credentials and install the same extension.
Because you’re logged in, you can easily see the other PC name, from where you can simply choose it and begin the remote session.
There is simple copy/paste file sharing but there aren’t advanced settings in Chrome Remote Desktop like you see with similar programs. However, it’s very easy to configure and lets you or anyone else control and view your computer from another Chrome browser.
Since Chrome Remote Desktop runs entirely within the Google Chrome browser, it can work with any operating system that uses Chrome, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and of course Chromebooks. More »
AnyDesk is a remote desktop program that you can run portably or install like a regular program.
Launch AnyDesk on the PC you want to connect to and record the AnyDesk-Addressor set a manual password.
When the client connects, the host will be asked to allow or disallow sound, control, clipboard use, and the ability to block the host’s keyboard/mouse control.
On another computer, run AnyDesk and then enter the host’s AnyDesk-Address in the Remote Desk section of the screen.
If unattended access is setup in the settings, the client doesn’t need to wait for the host to accept the connection.
AnyDesk can enter full-screen mode, balance between quality and speed of the connection, transfer files and sound, sync the clipboard, run keyboard shortcuts, and take screenshots of the remote computer.
AnyDesk works with Windows (10 through XP), macOS, and Linux. More »
However, unlike Remote Utilities, which can control a total of only 10 PCs, LiteManager supports up to 30 slots for storing and connecting to remote computers, and also has lots of useful features.
The computer that needs to be accessed should install the LiteManagerFree – ZIP file.program, which is contained in the downloaded
There are numerous ways to ensure a connection can be made to the host computer. It can be done through the IP address, computer name, or an ID.
The easiest way to set this up is to right-click the server program in the notification area of the taskbar, choose Connect by ID, erase the contents that are already there, and click Connected to generate a brand new ID.
The other program, called Viewer, is installed for the client to connect to the host. Once the host computer has produced an ID, the client should enter it from the Connect by ID option in the Connection menu to establish a remote connection to the other computer.
Once connected, the client can do all sorts of things, much like with Remote Utilities, such as work with multiple monitors, transfer files silently, take full control or read-only access to the other PC, run a remote task manager, launch files and programs remotely, capture sound, edit the registry, create a demonstration, lock the other person’s screen and keyboard, and text chat.
There’s also a QuickSupport option, which is a portable server and viewer program that makes connecting much quicker than the above method.
I tested LiteManager in Windows 10, but it should also work just fine in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. More »
Comodo Unite is another free remote access program that creates a secure VPN connection between multiple computers. Once a VPN is established, you can remotely have access to applications and files through the client software.
Install the Comodo Unite program on the computer you wish to control and then make an account with Comodo Unite. The account is how you keep track of the PCs you add to your account so it’s easy to make connections.
To connect to a Comodo Unite host computer, just install the same software and then sign on with the same username and password. You can then just select the computer you want to control and begin the session immediately through the VPN.
Files can only be shared if you start a chat, so it’s not as easy to share files with Comodo Unite as it is with the other remote desktop programs in this list. However, the chat is secure within the VPN, which you may not find in similar software.
Only Windows 7, Vista, and XP (32-bit and 64-bit versions) are officially supported, but I was able to get Comodo Unite to function as advertised in Windows 10 and Windows 8 as well. More »
ShowMyPC is a portable and free remote access program that’s nearly identical to UltraVNC (number 4 in this list) but uses a password to make a connection instead of an IP address.
Run the ShowMyPC software on any computer and then choose Show My PC to get a unique ID number called a Share Password.
This ID is the number you must share with others so they can connect to the host.
Open the same ShowMyPC program on another computer and enter the ID from the host program to make a connection. The client can instead enter the number on the ShowMyPC website (in the “View PC” box) and run a Java version of the program within their browser.
There are additional options here that aren’t available in UltraVNC, like webcam sharing over a web browser and scheduled meetings that allow someone to connect to your PC via a personal web link that launches a Java version of ShowMyPC.
ShowMyPC clients can only send a limited number of keyboard shortcuts to the host computer.
Choose ShowMyPC Free on the download page to get the free version. It works on all versions of Windows. More »
is a remote access program from the producers of LogMeIn that provides quick access to another computer over an internet browser.
The person who needs remote assistance can download and run thesoftware, which enables their entire computer or just a selected application to be presented to a remote viewer. This is done by choosing the start button.
A remote viewer just needs to enter thepersonal code into their own installation under the join section.
supports full-screen mode, conference calling, text chat, multiple monitors, and lets up to 10 participants view a screen at once.
The client can instead visit the join.me homepage to enter the code for the host computer without having to download any software. The code should be entered in the “JOIN MEETING” box.
All Windows versions can install, as well as Macs.
Note: Download More »for free using the small download link below the paid options.
DesktopNow is a free remote access program from NCH Software. After optionally forwarding the proper port number in your router, and signing up for a free account, you can access your PC from anywhere through a web browser.
The computer that will be accessed remotely needs to have the DesktopNow software installed.
When the program is first launched, your email and a password should be entered so you can use the same credentials on the client side to make the connection.
The host computer can either configure its router to forward the proper port number to itself or choose cloud access during install to make a direct connection to the client, bypassing the need for complicated forwarding.
It’s probably a better idea for most people to use the direct, cloud access method to avoid issues with port forwarding.
The client just needs to access the host through a web browser. If the router was configured to forward the port number, the client would use the host PCs IP address to connect. If cloud access was chosen, a specific link would have been given to the host that you’d use for the connection.
DesktopNow has a nice file sharing feature that lets you download your shared files remotely in an easy to use file browser.
There isn’t a dedicated application to connect to DesktopNow from a mobile device, so trying to view and control a computer from a phone or tablet can be difficult. However, the website is optimized for mobile phones, so viewing your shared files is easy.
Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP are supported, even 64-bit versions. More »
Another free and portable remote access program is BeamYourScreen. This program works like some of the others in this list, where the presenter is given an ID number they must share with another user so they can connect to the presenter’s screen.
BeamYourScreen hosts are called organizers, so the program called BeamYourScreen for Organizers (Portable) is the preferred method the host computer should use for accepting remote connections. It’s quick and easy to start sharing your screen without having to install anything.
There’s also a version that can be installed called BeamYourScreen for Organizers (Installation).
Just click the Start Session button to open up your computer for connections. You’ll be given a session number you must share with someone before they can connect to the host.
Clients can also install the portable or installable version of BeamYourScreen, but there’s a dedicated program called BeamYourScreen for Participants that’s a small executable file that can be launched similar to the portable one for organizers.
Enter the host’s session number in the Session ID section of the program to join the session.
Once connected, you can control the screen, share clipboard text and files, and chat with text.
Something rather unique about BeamYourScreen is that you can share your ID with multiple people so many participants can join in and look at the presenter’s screen. There’s even an online viewer so clients can view the other screen without having to run any software.
BeamYourScreen works with all versions of Windows, plus Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Mac, and Linux. More »