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Connect To Your Computer From Anywhere (And For Free) November 14, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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remoteWatching TV last night, I saw an ad for a paid-for service that lets you connect to your home computer from any other machine with internet access. Great idea, but why would anyone pay for it, when there are free tools that do just that?

Here’s a handy list of options that will allow you get at your desktop from anywhere. Great for accessing info or files, or for getting at your mum’s PC when she can’t figure out how to attach a photo to an email (again).

LogMeIn was one of the first popular remote desktop solutions aimed squarely at consumers, offering a quick, no-hassle set up to remotely control your computer from the comfort of any web browser. LogMeIn comes in a variety of flavors, but the two that are designed to satisfy your remote desktop needs are LogMeIn Pro and LogMeIn Free. A Pro account adds more features to the service, including drag-and-drop file transfer, file sync, and meeting tools.

This is the one I use to get at my home computer when in work. It’s easy to use and simple to set up.

TightVNC (Windows/Linux)
TightVNC is a cross-platform, open-source remote desktop application. With TightVNC, you need to set up a VNC server on the computer you wish to access remotely; you can then remotely access that computer from anywhere else with any VNC viewer.

TeamViewer (Windows/Mac)
TeamViewer—like LogMeIn—offers free and paid accounts for remote controlling any PC. Unlike LogMeIn, TeamViewer is free for all non-commercial users. It doesn’t offer browser-based remote control, instead using small utilities to connect between computers. TeamViewer is even available as a portable application you can carry around on your thumb drive.

Windows Remote Desktop Connection (Windows)
Windows Remote Desktop—the default remote desktop app that comes bundled with Windows—is still more than enough for most Windows users looking for full-featured remote desktop control. If you’ve never happened upon the Remote Desktop Connection application buried in the Accessories folder of your Start menu, now might be a good time to try it out. Just be sure you’ve enabled remote desktop access.

This is what we use for staff to access our system remotely here at the Chamber.

UltraVNC (Windows)
UltraVNC is an open-source, Windows-only remote desktop application. UltraVNC supports a hefty feature set, including text chat, file transfer support, and support for optional plug-ins. Although UltraVNC only runs on Windows, you can still access your computer from any operating system using your web browser.

So, don’t shell out for something that’s already available free.

This list was put together by those nice peeps at Lifehacker. You can see their post here.


1. Frank Fox - November 18, 2008

How do you get around firewalls when using different IP addresses?

e.g. My IP address is dynamic not static.

2. liverpoolchamber - November 18, 2008


To be honest, I’m not sure – I know that with LogMeIn I’ve never had a problem. I assume it’s to do with the downloaded software on the host PC and the fact that you are logging in via their website.

Windows Remote Desktop has also never presented problems for me, despite changed IPs…

This might be something worth following up with the various service providers listed above. Unless anyone else knows how the magic works?

Licverpool Chamber

3. Jason - November 18, 2008

I’m surprised nobody mentioned Techinline Remote Desktop (http://www.techinline.com) which is a rapidly developing service. It’s a fraction of the price of the LogMeIns and Teamviewers, and is plain simple to use. All the client has to do is launch the internet page, get a number and once you type it in on your end, that’s the connection. I found it to be the perfect remote access tool for my small business

4. liverpoolchamber - November 19, 2008

Thanks Jason. You company by any chance? Anyway, I’m sure it’s a great service, but as the original post says, the ones listed are available, at least in some form, for free.

Thanks anyway


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