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You can’t always be sitting in front of your computer, but you can control it remotely through 3 different methods of which you might not be aware. Let’s talk about ways to control your Windows desktop remotely that are slightly…esoteric.

The methods introduced here are different than the usual mainstream tools, such as LogMeIn LogMeIn - Access your PC Remotely LogMeIn - Access your PC Remotely Read More , or remote desktop clients How to Use Remote Desktop Connections Like an IT Pro How to Use Remote Desktop Connections Like an IT Pro If you work in the IT department of a company that has an internal network, the odds are pretty good that you've had to make use of Remote Desktop once or twice. Remote Desktop is... Read More , or even client/server applications like VNC 4 Creative Uses For A VNC Server 4 Creative Uses For A VNC Server Other than just using VNC clients to connect to a remote computer, what can you really use VNC servers for? When you stop and think about it, the ability to connect to and control a... Read More . Those are all well and good, but today, let’s look at something more unique!

Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) is another Google offering that is streamlined and simple in its usage. Simply install the CRD extension on your home computer, and you can access it from any computer in the world that has the Chrome web browser and CRD extension on it.

The connection gives you a high quality view of your remote desktop. Even in the screenshot below, you can see that it offers a nice, crisp view.

CRD offers only the most needed basic functions:  You can send two special key combinations: Ctrl-Alt-Del and PrtScrn. PrtScrn is the key for the Print Screen function, so you can grab a screenshot of your remote desktop. You can also resize your desktop to fit your browser, shrink it to fit your browser or enter full screen mode.

For most remote control of a computer, these functions are sufficient. The only odd thing worth mentioning is that CRD doesn’t work on Chromebooks – ironic.

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CRD-screenshot

If you’re looking for a free, no-frills remote desktop application that works, and allows you to give other people temporary access to your computer – this is a good option. Erez Zukerman also did a solid write-up of CRD titled, “Control Other Computers Remotely For Free With Chrome Remote Desktop Control Other Computers Remotely For Free With Chrome Remote Desktop [Cross-Platform] Control Other Computers Remotely For Free With Chrome Remote Desktop [Cross-Platform] Like many other tech nerds, I am often called upon to seize control of some system remotely and rescue its user from some evil manifestation of technology. This isn’t my job (I don’t do this... Read More “, when it was still in beta. Check it out for more details.

 Secure Shell – SSH

Secure Shell (SSH) connections to remote computers are command-line based. If you’ve ever worked in DOS or used the Command Prompt window, then you understand what that means. If you haven’t, it means that your entire interaction with the computer requires typed commands.

The upside to this is that by only transmitting text between computers, things can happen much quicker than viewing an entire desktop. By learning how to use different commands and accessing command-line help files, you can do almost anything you want on your Windows computer remotely.

PuTTY

In order to make a SSH connection to your remote computer, you will need a program called an SSH client. This could be a standalone client like PuTTY, pictured above, or a web browser based client like FireSSH for Firefox or Secure Shell for Google Chrome. All of which are featured in Chris Hoffman’s article, “4 Easy Ways to Use SSH In Windows 4 Easy Ways to Use SSH In Windows 4 Easy Ways to Use SSH In Windows SSH is the de facto solution for securely accessing remote terminals on Linux and other UNIX-like systems. If you have a remote SSH server you want to access, you'll have to download an SSH client.... Read More “. If you’re not really familiar with the different commands you can use, download and print off our Windows CMD Commands cheat sheet.

Over The Air Remote Control

Unified Remote, by Unified Intents, is a highly rated Android app which functions like a TV remote control, but for your computer. With it, you can control Spotify for music, Chrome for browsing, and even YouTube for viewing. If you’re making a presentation at work, you can control your slide show. Or if you don’t feel like sitting up and leaving the couch, you can even manage files or turn your PC off.

unified-remote

To use the app, you need to download and install the server application to the PC you’d like to control. Then, install the app on your Android device. Unified Remote will communicate with your computer over either a Bluetooth or WiFi connection. What’s important to know about that, is that you must be at least within range of the same WiFi network to which your computer is connected.

A similar tool for remotely controlling Windows 8 How To Control Your Windows 8 PC From Your Mobile Device How To Control Your Windows 8 PC From Your Mobile Device Sometimes it's nice to just plug your laptop into an HDTV and watch some Netflix — until you have to pause it or adjust the volume. Then you have to get up and walk across... Read More  from your Windows Phone or Android device is Windows 8 Controller.

The Takeaway

The pervasiveness and interconnection of computers continues to grow. As it does, utilizing your different devices in various ways becomes much easier. Using any of the above methods, or any of the more mainstream methods, you can have greater control and flexibility with your Windows PC…from anywhere!

Do you utilize your Windows PC remotely on a regular basis? What’s your favoured way to do so? Any hints or tips you can offer other readers? Please let us know in the comments section. We’re all in this together.

Image Credits:
Windows Computer via intelfreepress, Google Chrome Icon via WikiCommons, SSH Screenshot via sebastian_bergmann, Abstract blue background via WikiCommons, PuTTY via WikiCommons, Unified Remote – Main Screen, Unified Remote – Spotify, Unified Remote – Chrome via Google Play

  1. Guy M
    January 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Teamviewer is excellent. I didn't mention it because it uses a method that is common and not very unique. LogMeIn and GoToMeeting use the same sort of set-up. Google RDP is pretty close to that method, but just different enough to be different, if that makes sense.

  2. Yogita A
    January 14, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I was unaware with this app; just a couple of months back i got to know this. And after my experience i would Teamviewer is a nice choice for remotely accessing any Window Machine and its database. I like this application very much and because of that even i published a review of same on my blog Dreamtechie.com :P

  3. Anuj S
    January 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    How about using Teamviewer and Splashtop for remotely controlling via an iPad.
    I personally prefer Teamviewer :D
    You can even access the file system of the computer you are connected to.

  4. James
    December 27, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Actually Bryan you can use CRD on your Chromebook to access your desktop PC. It says on the CRD page: "Chrome Remote Desktop is fully cross-platform. Provide remote assistance to Windows, Mac and Linux users, or access your Windows (XP and above) and Mac (OS X 10.6 and above) desktops at any time, all from the Chrome browser on virtually any device, including Chromebooks."

    • Guy M
      December 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Must have just been the Chromebook I was testing it on.

  5. Bryan P
    December 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Too bad about CRD and the Chromebook. I could use a Chromebook around the house for most of my needs, and then, if it were available, just connect to my desktop when I need access to Word or Excel. I've already found a capable editor for Chrome.

    And there is now a fourth option for controlling Windows available on an Android, and it's from Microsoft. Microsoft has released their own Remote Desktop for Android. It works, I logged on with my Note. Unfortunately, in my playing around, it wasn't a great experience. The screen is too small, and my fingers too big. Now, if I had a mouse and keyboard connected, it might be a better experience.

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