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18+ Best Free & Premium Remote Access Desktop Software Tools (2018)

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If you've ever called a technical support number, you may have experienced having a technician help you by using remote computer software. For moderate to complex issues, remote desktop connection software can save a lot of time. It can also help you access your own computer or your company's computer if you're in a different physical location.

remote desktop software
Screen sharing is a common feature of remote desktop software. (Illustration adapted from Envato Elements)

As a small business owner, you may offer technical support to your clients if your product is computer-based. To make technical support easier, you may wish to use remote computer  software.

In this article, we'll briefly explain what remote desktop software is. Then, we'll provide an overview of over 18 of the best remote access software tools out there—some of which are available at no charge.

What Is Remote Desktop Software

Remote computer software allows one computer to control mouse and keyboard inputs from another computer across a network or the internet. Remote desktop sharing involves two computers:

  1. A local computer, also called the client. This is the computer that you'll be controlling through use of remote access software.
  2. A remote computer, also called the server. This is the computer where you'll enter the commands that you wish to use on the client computer.

While the idea of one computer being able to control another remotely may conjure up images of malicious hackers, it has many practical uses. It's particularly useful in technical support. It may be used by remote workers or workers who travel frequently. Desktop sharing can also be helpful for online presentations and web conferencing where the presenter shares information with a group of computers (without controlling their machines). It can even be used for educational purposes.

It's also important to note that most remote access software provides security features to make the remote connection more secure. Such features may include:

  • a limit on the number of users who can connect
  • password protection
  • encrypted data transmission
  • gated access
  • blacklisting of unwanted connections

As you begin to look for the right remote computer software for your needs, you'll want to pay attention to the security features each package offers.

18+ Best Remote Access Software Tools

To help you in your search for remote access software here's a list with an overview of some of the best remote desktop software for Windows and Macs:

Note: Not every package listed below is free remote desktop software, but many premium tools do offer a free trial period.

1. Apple Remote Desktop

Apple Remote Desktop software

The Apple remote desktop is a good option for desktop support. It includes features that allow you to automate frequent tasks. There are also task templates you can reuse. Plus, the application usage reports allow you to monitor which applications are being used while user history reports let you know who has used the network.

For each Mac that you'll be using Apple Remote desktop on you'll need to purchase a license for each computer. If you'll be using the software on a lot of machines, you can purchase an unlimited managed systems license that allows you to use it with an unlimited number of machines. This software can be found in the MacOS App store. Learn more about the Apple Remote Desktop in the tutorial below:

2. Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop software

The Microsoft Remote Desktop is free remote desktop software that's available from the Microsoft store. This tool allows you to connect to machines remotely through a Remote Desktop Gateway on a secure connection.

The remote desktop software can be installed on up to ten devices with Windows 10 (or higher), Xbox One, and Windows 8 and 8.1 devices. Keep in mind, your devices must be turned on for it to work.  Also, you won't be able to transfer files between machines, but you can copy and paste information.

3. Chrome Remote Desktop

If Chrome is your browser, you may want to consider the Chrome Remote Desktop app for your remote access needs. This is another tool that provides free remote computer access through the web using a secure connection. This tools supports multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook.

This tool can be a great way to provide quick technical support. You can also log in to your own machine remotely. To learn more about Chrome Remote Desktop, study the following tutorial: 

4. TeamViewer

TeamViewer remote access software

Here's free (for personal use) remote desktop software. Not only will TeamViewer allow you to share screens through your computer, you can share through your iPhone and iPad as well. One of the advantages of this is that it allows you to connect securely without using a VPN.

TeamViewer integrates with many popular software programs including Zendesk, SalesForce, and Amazon Workspaces—to name just a few.

5. RemotePC

RemotePC

This platform-independent premium remote desktop software lets you securely access your computer through the internet whenever you want to. You can also set RemotePC up for one-time sharing using an Access ID and key.

Not only can you access a remote computer through this tool, you can also transfer files from your remote machine and even print information from your remote computer. Remote PC uses TLS v 1.2/AES-256 encryption. 

6. Splashtop

Splashtop remote access software

Splashtop remote computer software features strong TLS and 256-bit AES encryption. It has several levels available. At the business level, you'll be using the software to access your own computer. The next available level provides remote access for IT professionals and support teams so that they can provide technical support to their clients' computers and servers. Finally, there's an on-demand support level that allows you to access a client's machine with a code.

7. VNC Connect

VNC Connect remote desktop access

Here's another remote desktop connection software with 256-bit AES session encryption. This screen sharing software let's you access a computer remotely and securely through cloud connectivity or directly. Plus, VNC Connect supports remote deployment. It works on a wide variety of platforms from PCs to Linux and iOS to Android. It's also available in six languages including English, Spanish, and German.

8. Radmin

Radmin

Use Radmin remote computer software for technical support, access to your remote machines, or to access your workstation while you travel. It's based on a client-server architecture. Transfer files using drag-and-drop. You can also work on unattended machines. Transmissions are secured by 256-bit AES encryption. Although, Macs aren't supported at this time.

9. ShowMyPC

ShowMyPC

If you need to provide support to clients or hold a meeting with remote clients or staff members, ShowMyPC offers desktop sharing, screen sharing, and helpdesk functionality through their website. You can also use it for remote computer access. This remote computer software doesn't support Macs.

10. Zoho Assist

Zoho Assist remote access software

This remote desktop connection software comes from the makers of Zoho Office Suite, which includes several helpful desktop tools such as Zoho Write and Zoho Sheet. This tool offers the capability to offer web-based remote support as well as the ability to set up unattended remote access. To learn more about other Zoho tools, study these tutorials:

One nice Zoho Assist feature is that you can manage unattended computers remotely. 

11. GoToMyPC

GoToMyPC

After ten years, GoToMyPC has got the remote access capability down. It's easy to install. Plus, you can use it to transfer files between computers. If more than one monitor is connected a computer, this remote computer software lets you view all connected monitors.  

12. ConnectWise Control

ConnectWise Control

This remote desktop connection software has several popular features. For example, it can be integrated with popular apps like Zendesk and Slack. You can also set it up for unlimited unattended access. Or use it for remote meetings. This remote access software works across multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS.

13. Remote Utilities

Remote Utilities

Remote Utilities remote access software includes robust security with the ability to enable additional security options. Use it on a network or with a VPN through the internet. Also, you can scale the number of Remote Utilities installations to meet your needs and configure it to your requirements. It also supports file transfer and remote printing. The initial key exchange for this software uses RSA 2048. For subsequent data transfer it uses AES 256-bit encryption.

14. AeroAdmin

AeroAdmin

AeroAdmin offers a free version of its remote desktop software as well as a premium version. One of its strengths is that all you need to run it is an executable file. It works on computers connected through a network as well as through the internet. Also, you can set it up to access unattended computers.  All data transmission is encrypted using AES and RSA algorithms.The executable has a small footprint of only 2 MB.

15. AnyDesk

AnyDesk

AnyDesk remote desktop software lets you access remote machines efficiently and quickly through a network connection or through the internet. It works with a variety of platforms and even mobile devices. You can use it to transfer files, collaborate, and more. Security features include encryption and verified connections. You can also restrict who can access your computer by creating a whitelist. Use it for online collaboration, presentations, and more. It also features built-in file transfer.

16. SecureLink

SecureLink

If your industry requires high security, SecureLink may be the remote computer software that you need. It's currently being used by businesses in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, retail, finance, government, and more.  It has specific security features for each industry type to ensure that your information and your clients' information are protected while ensuring compliance to government regulations.

17. Lite Manager

Lite Manager

Here's another remote desktop software that also offers a free version and pro version. The free version of the remote desktop software has fewer functions that the premium tool. For the premium tool, you pay by the license. It includes many popular features for remote access software including desktop control of Windows' devices as well as the ability to provide remote installation and updates. Multiple languages are supported. This package features a 2048-bit ASA signature key and a 256-bit session key.

18. BeamYourScreen

BeamYourScreen

This remote computer software can be used for meetings, web conferences, online presentations, and even technical support. Use this tool through a website you access by entering a session ID. It features desktop sharing, remote control, session recording and playback. There's even a whiteboard and chat feature. BeamYourScreen supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers 256-bit AES encryption.

19. Anyplace Control

Anyplace Control

Use this remote computer software for PC to share screens, control a remote computer, and transfer files. This remote access tool works through the internet or through a LAN.  Security features include password protection, IP filtering, and traffic encryption. It also features voice and text chat. 

Conclusion

You've just learned about remote computer software and how it's used. Also, we've explored over 18 of the best remote desktop software for Windows and Macs as well as some free remote desktop software options. If you're trying to decide which remote desktop software is best for your business use the remote desktop software list in this article as a starting place to find the perfect tool for your needs.

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