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Do you want to share your Windows screen with a friend or colleague so they can troubleshoot technical issues? Perhaps you want to access your Windows desktop from your tablet to watch a movie in bed?

It’s easier than ever to get remote access to your machine Stay on Your Couch! 3 Free Apps to Remote Control Your Windows PC Stay on Your Couch! 3 Free Apps to Remote Control Your Windows PC You don't need to buy a remote, if you have a smartphone! Control your home computer from the comfort of your couch, even if it's hundreds of miles away. Read More , with many free tools available.

Let me introduce you to seven of the best. If you know about a great tool I’ve not covered, make sure you leave your suggestion in the comments.

1. TeamViewer

TeamViewer is perhaps the most well-known of all the third-party tools available. It’s over 10 years old and has a loyal base of users.

It doesn’t just specialize in screen-sharing and remote-access. The software also lets users transfer files between connected PCs, conduct web conferences, and make online presentations.

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools teamviewer

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By default, you need to enter a PIN code to connect to someone else’s machine. However, if you regularly connect to the same group of computers you can create a group within your account, thus allowing one-click access.

Unlike some of its competitors, the software also allows group sessions. When in a group session, you can easily pass control of a machine between users, rather than only allowing a one-way session.

Best for: All-around screen-sharing and remote-access.

2. Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop has one glaring drawback – both computers need to have the Chrome browser installed. If you use an alternative browser, you should look elsewhere.

However, if you use Chrome and you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up, no frills remote access tool, you would struggle to find a better option.

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools chrome remote desktop

Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store, connect the two PCs using the automatically-generated access code, and you’ll be up and running in seconds. You can permanently link together two computers if you need regular access.

Google has aimed the software at home users who need to do some quick troubleshooting; it lacks the advanced features of some of the other options on this list.

Best for: Quickly troubleshooting Granny’s laptop.

3. Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop is Windows’ native screen-sharing solution Screen Sharing 101: Share What's On Your Desktop Using Native Windows Tools Screen Sharing 101: Share What's On Your Desktop Using Native Windows Tools Windows has many hidden features for power users. This guide will explain how you can share exactly what’s on your screen. Find out how to screenshot, screencast and screenshare using Windows tools. Read More . It uses the propriety Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) technology and is supported by all versions of Windows and lots of third-party tools and apps.

Even though Microsoft has built it into Windows, it’s not the easiest (or best) option for a lot of people. Its biggest problem is that RDP servers are only available on Windows Pro and above; you won’t be able to connect to anyone who is running the Home version of the operating system.

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools microsoft remote desktop

Beginners might find the app difficult to set up. If you want to connect to machines outside your home network, you need to know the IP address of the person you want to connect to and configure their router to accept incoming remote desktop connections.

Ultimately, it’s important to understand Microsoft Remote Desktop is designed for office use, not home use. If you want to troubleshoot a family member’s PC, look elsewhere.

Best for: Using in a small office environment.

4. Splashtop

Splashtop is only free when you’re accessing other devices on your home network. If you want remote access, you’ll need to cough up $16.99 for the Anywhere Access Pack.

However, if your sole aim is to access your Windows machine from another part of your home on a tablet or smaller netbook, this is the best solution. It excels at streaming video over the connection; the visuals are smooth, audio is crisp, and there are no lag times.

Therefore, it’s perfect if you want to use a tablet to watch a movie saved on your desktop. You won’t have to deal with compatibility problems, transferring files, or memory issues.

Best for: Streaming video from Windows to a tablet on your home network.

5. AeroAdmin

The development team behind AeroAdmin clearly took inspiration from TeamViewer; the way the app works and the on-screen visuals are strikingly similar.

Unlike TeamViewer, however, it does not require any installation. You just need to run the 2 MB EXE file and follow the on-screen instructions. It means you can keep a copy on your USB flash drive and instantly provide remote access to any machine you are sat in front of. You can make a connection using your computer’s IP address or by sharing the automatically-generated passcode.

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools aero admin

You can also configure the app to run before any user logs on. As such, this tools can give you unattended access to your machine.

Best for: Remote access on-the-go.

6. Seecreen

Seecreen is AeroAdmin’s direct competitor. It’s written in Java and does not require any installation or configuration; just download the 500 KB EXE file and you’ll have remote access in seconds.

Its feature list is almost identical to AeroAdmin; you can chat and have VOIP calls with fellow users, transfer files between connected machines, manage multiple user accounts, configure the app for unattended access, and maintain contact and computer lists.

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools seecreen 300x500

The only real difference is the way the app looks on-screen. Seecreen is arguably the less-polished of the two. If you need an instant screen-sharing solution, try them both and see which you prefer. Make sure you let us know in the comments!

Best for: Instant screen-sharing with plenty of added features.

7. Lite Manager

I’ll conclude the list with Lite Manager. It’s an under-appreciated program that offers many of the same features as some of the expensive paid tools.

Of course, the basics like file transfer and text chat are covered – but here are some of the coolest advanced features:

  • RDP integration
  • screen recorder
  • remote installation of screen-sharing software
  • network mapping
  • IP filtering
  • registry editor
  • cascade connections
  • 30 connected computers

7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools litemanager 670x410

A paid version is available ($10 per license), but for most people it’s unnecessary.

Best for: Getting lots of advanced features for free.

A Word of Warning

There are a couple of things to watch out for when you’re using remote desktop software.

Firstly, hackers often use these types of apps in tech support scams How to Avoid PC Repair & Tech Support Scams How to Avoid PC Repair & Tech Support Scams Not every PC technician has your best interest at heart. Some apply sleazy sales tactics or will scam you into buying their service. We reveal popular methods and help you identify trustworthy PC repair technicians. Read More . Someone will call your house and encourage you to install their app of choice. As soon as you do, they have complete access to everything on your machine. As such, make sure you only give access to people you know and implicitly trust.

Secondly, if you use an account to log into the app, it is hackable. TeamViewer was a victim TeamViewer Hack: Everything You Need To Know TeamViewer Hack: Everything You Need To Know "Protecting your personal data is at the very core of everything we do" says hacked remote desktop service TeamViewer -- but are they protecting themselves before the customer? Let's examine what we know. Read More of such a hack in mid-2016. Thousands of users reported that hackers had penetrated their machines, with some even claiming they lost money from their bank accounts.

Now it’s time for you to share your favorites. Which app do you use to access your machines remotely? Let me know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Who is Danny via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Bob
    March 16, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    You mentioned that "Unlike TeamViewer, however, [AeroAdmin] does not require any installation." There is a portable apps version of TeamViewer.

  2. Michal
    May 19, 2016 at 8:04 am

    CrossLoop was acquired by AVG in 2012 and is not available any more since January 31, 2014, as stated on http://www.crossloop.com/

  3. Joi
    February 10, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Good article! In addition to this list, you might consider CrankWheel screen sharing (www.crankwheel.com). You can use Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and other operating systems to share screens. CrankWheel is an easy solution both for individual and corporate use. In two clicks you can share any visual information from your device.

  4. sylvester stallone
    January 7, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Another very good tool is: R-HUB remote suppoprt servers. It works well.

  5. Michael
    January 25, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Try out helpbeam remote support. Very simple to use.

  6. James Winters
    October 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I for sure tried few others and finally decided for showmypc.com for my small business.

  7. vndeveloper
    October 23, 2009 at 12:51 am

    This article helped me much. I picked TeamViewer up :)

  8. Daniel
    September 9, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Anthony, I use Techinline too. After trying all these free services I got sick and tired of dropped connections and limitations. It's ok to me to pay a little, but feel stable. So, the other reason for choosing Techinline is the rates which I don't even consider a full price for such a great service!

  9. Q
    March 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

    err, on my iPhone

  10. Q
    March 21, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I've seen a remote desktop app for the PC that supports audio from the PC but not for mac, that's basically what I'm looking for, a screen sharing app that supports audio for the mac over 3G, Edge, and wireless

  11. nAtz
    March 19, 2009 at 3:45 am

    weezo works perfect. easy to setup. no hassle!

  12. JM
    February 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    You should also try the amazing http://www.weezo.net, which only requires a browser (client-side), even for remote desktop (and so go through firewalls).
    It is definitely the swiss knife of remote access & file sharing.

  13. Steve
    January 15, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Check out GeniusRoom! screen sharing, click to conference call. chat, messaging, file sharing and more! works great, secure, private. Works well, fast.

  14. Anthony
    November 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Techinline (http://www.techinline.com) is pretty awesome for this sort of thing. Perfect for sharing your screen or taking control of the remote machine, and very easy to use as well

  15. Andrew Donnelly
    August 22, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Hi Aibek,

    Mikogo is a free screen sharing tool and is a great addition to your list.
    Our app was reviewed recently on makeuseof.com here at Mikogo : Screen Sharing App for Skype and Windows

    By the way Al, Mikogo has a great feature called "Application selection". With this you can choose which applications you wish to share with others, while keeping all other applications hidden. This should help you.
    We're currently working on the next version which will contain some great new features - definitely something to keep your eye on :-)

    Thank you,

    Andrew
    The Mikogo Team

  16. Ed Hardebeck
    April 16, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    We hope you'll take a look at Glance glance.net. We provide an easy-to-use screen sharing service. Show a PC or Mac screen, up to 100 guests on any OS. Low flat-rate pricing, Free Trial.

    Thanks!

  17. Ronny C
    April 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    This one is best of the Desktop Sharing breed.
    http://showmypc.com

  18. Pi
    April 9, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Try http://www.gogrok.com
    It's new. just came out. Very useful. You can share your whole desktop or single application. And you can release/retrieve editing (control) right. There is more, you can change role with your viewer, let him share his stuff with you by clicking one icon, you don't need to re-start the whole process just to switch roles.

    • Al
      August 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

      I need an app where

      1/ I can grant access to only one application...

      2/ My staff member has their won password and can log in and use that application remotely wihtout me being at the PC

      3/ extremely secure

      any ideas?

      Al

  19. David Wilbon
    March 21, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Background: I have been using LogMeIn-Free and TightVNC for a while and both are great in respect to acceptably low bandwidth usage. LogMeIn also has encryption. But LogMeIn does not seem to have any products that restricts the sharing to a single application and only a single remote user is allowed. TightVNC can restrict the sharing to a rectangular area that is defined on the server but has no encryption and the shared area must be on the top window.
    Remote Panels (by National Instruments) uses much more bandwidth without encryption but the good thing is that the application does not have to be on the top window and multiple remote viewers can exist with one at a time in control.

    What I need: I am looking to share a single application whether it is the top window or in the background.
    I also need to allow multiple people to see that application.
    Do any of these products allow that?
    Thanks for any suggestions!
    Dave

  20. Eric Schott
    March 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Yakkle also does remote desktop (and voip and IM) all in one app and it's free. I invite you to give it a try.

  21. yuvarasan
    September 29, 2007 at 3:11 am

    useful

  22. Aibek
    September 17, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    @ jonatankot

    Thanks for heads up I will check it out.

  23. jonatankot
    September 17, 2007 at 11:58 am

    LogMeIn has both commercial and free version and the free one works great for me. You should give it a try :)

  24. Aibek
    September 14, 2007 at 2:40 am

    @ DWiner

    Thanks, but if I remember correctly none of these two applications is free.
    In this post I focused only on free ones. ;-)

  25. Aibek
    September 13, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for letting me know about the missing video, it's up now.

  26. Song Z Huang
    September 13, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Hey thanks for including SoonR on the list! I am one of the SoonR folks and I noticed that the link to the video referenced in your post was missing. So I hope you don't mind my filling in the blank.

    Here's the link to the blog embedded in the video:
    http://soonrs.com/blog/2007/09/04/skype-on-the-iphone-using-soonr/

    Also thanks for succinctly differentiating between screen sharing, remote control, and remote access. Most people mix it all up in one bucket. If you try the programs you mentioned, it'll be clear that they are not the same.

  27. DWiner
    September 13, 2007 at 9:17 am