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If you’ve been sick, gone, or needed to access any of your computers from another computer, you know how infuriating it can be.

It can make you want to throw your mouse across the room, or worse. But before you turn to throwing mice, try some of these easier solutions to access and control your computer remotely.


Out of every remote access service I’ve used, this one is by far the simplest. You simply sign up for a free account at LogMeIn and download a small program on the computer you want to remote-control and presto. You can now remotely access that computer from any other computer with Java.

There is also an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer and a plug-in for Firefox that gives you a bit more control (faster, better image quality, etc.) over the remote access.

LogMeIn’s free version is absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, it has its limitations though. First of all, only three computers can be part of any one account if the free version is being used. You also can’t transfer files from one computer to another. If you want some of these more advanced features, you are going to have to shell out about $70 a year per PC or Mac.

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LogMeIn works with PCs and Macs.

uVNC (Windows only)

uvnc review Think of LogMeIn Pro for free, but you’re going to have to know your IP address and what your open ports are. uVNC (that u stands for Ultra) is extremely full featured and easy to set up.

The quality of the image coming across is wonderful, it feels as if you’re sitting right there in front of the computer. Full of awesome features, one of the most useful ones is file transfers, where you can drag and drop files on to the remote computer.

Another nice feature is to be able to chat with the user of the other computer – this especially good if you are collaborating on a project or giving support.

My only two gripes about uVNC is that 1) it can be a bit of a drag to connect to a remote computer. You need to type in the IP and port settings and ACK! Nothing beats just clicking on the computer name and not having to worry about dynamic IPs or anything like that. Also 2) some anti-virus software apps will not let you use it.

FolderShare (Windows and Mac)

FolderShare’s motto is “keep your latest files with you, no matter which computer you’re using.” and that is exactly what it does. The general setup process is similar to LogMeIn: download a small setup file, create an account, and presto, you’re done.

To access your files you simply navigate to FolderShare, login and… wait a minute! It says I can’t access my computer! Don’t worry, you see the little blue F in the lower right hand corner of the screen? Right click and under ‘more’ click ‘Settings’, under ‘computer information’, there is a check box that says “Allow remote access to this computer” simply check it, click ‘OK’ and you’re done. You can now download any file on your computer from any other computer.

This feature compliments LogMeIn free, giving you access to your files. But wait there’s more! A very useful feature of FolderShare is the ability to create “libraries” both public and personal. Public library allows anyone or just the people you specify, to view and download (or even upload) to that folder. This is great for sharing pictures with family or collaborating on a project. Personal libraries give you the ability to sync that folder between two computers. This is absolutely great for anyone who uses two or more computers regularly, you set a folder in say My Documents (or just Documents on a Mac) and tell FolderShare you want to make a personal library and that folder will be the same on all of the computers.

How do you deal with separation from your computer when you need it? What remote access apps do you use?

  1. BSB
    January 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    is there any sofware that can control linux remotely??

  2. etechben
    October 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I think Remote access products are too expensive for what they are. But a friend introduced me to RAVE (
    I found it secure, cheap to purchase, easy to install (easy to follow manual) and the product works well. You set the security. Only you know the passwords. Initially I bought it to have a play (for the price its worth it) I own a small business and have since purchased it for 7 other PC's. A small investment for a cheap product with loads of functionality that works well. Good Luck.

  3. Jake
    April 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    ?? html help, guys? ??

    1 more try:

  4. Jake
    April 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Hey, I'm not sure why the html anchor didn't work. This is what I meant to post: >

  5. 1fastbullet
    October 6, 2008 at 10:50 am

    "FolderShare’s motto is 'keep your latest files with you, no matter which computer you’re using.'”

    Well, it seems to me that the motto only applies to Windows and Mac machine, while Linux users are (once again) excluded.

    So much for the "no matter which computer" part of the motto, eh?

  6. Constantin
    September 24, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Hi Ben,

    Sean is right, TeamViewer is strongly intended for personal use as it is free to use and includes all features which also the commercial version does. So you can use it for whatever privat reason you would like helping friends and relatives with their computers, sharing files, accessing your server at home from remote locations, working toghether on a project...

    There are lots of private use cases I can think about. Give it a closer look and maybe you would like to share your impressions with your readers on that.

    Take care,

  7. Constantin
    September 23, 2008 at 8:42 am

    thanks for this nice post.

    Would you also be interested in testing TeamViewer (

    TeamViewer is really easy screen sharing without to take care about any obstacles (NAT, proxies, dynamic IPs) combined with a userfriendly interface. Plenty of features are included and TeamViewer works cross-plattform (Win+Mac).

    I'm looking forward to hear your opinion on that! If any questions should occur, please contact me anytime.


    • Ben
      September 23, 2008 at 4:43 pm

      Yeah, I've used TeamViewer before, and is great for support however this article is aimed more at personal use than remote support.

      • Sean M.
        September 23, 2008 at 9:02 pm

        I use TeamViewer for personal remote access...why in the world would it only be good for support?

  8. Mike
    September 23, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I mainly use remote desktop tools to access my home computer here at work as they have most web sites blocked, even web sites we need for troubleshooting issues.

    Currently, I use the Windows XP feature, Remote Desktop Web Connection, which is part of IIS that is an optional feature installed with WinXP.

    I also use RealVNC free version ( as a backup.

  9. Hentai Kamen
    September 23, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I'll think i'' go for foldershare since it the best of the 3.

    • Aibek
      September 25, 2008 at 12:48 pm

      I recommend it as well

  10. boogie
    September 23, 2008 at 6:47 am

    I usually use Crossloop to help my parets with their IT needs :) very simple and easy to use. I'll have to try Teamviewer since it has pretty much the same concept.

  11. hal9000
    September 23, 2008 at 4:27 am

    I haev about 6 pc on my logmein free account all of which work.
    I dont think this 3 pc limit exists
    if it does then i am just the lucky one.
    Also it is easily THE BEST way to connect pcs i have found

    • Michael
      September 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm

      Agreed, I have at least 5 work and personal machine on my LogMeIn Free account. I love it because it bypasses all proxies and firewalls without needing to punch holes in your firewall.

    • Tim Lenahan
      January 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

      Umm, yeah, I've been using Logmein Free for quite some time and have never heard of a limit. I currently have 5 all with free accounts.

  12. Martin Smith
    September 23, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Good tool for personal use. However, for professional use I would recommend Techinline Remote Desktop:

  13. Ben
    September 22, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Don't forget the other Microsoft tool, Live Mesh. It has an actual remote desktop capability, though I haven't ever tried it.

  14. Kedar
    September 22, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Any similar thing for Linux? Apart from tunnelling VNC over SSH? Something that is grandma proof ?

  15. Fabio
    September 22, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Mi preferido es: TeamViewer, no requiere instalacion, ni en el servidor, ni en el cliente, se puede llevar en un pendrive, tiene un modulo de transferencia de archivos, y todo esto en la version free.

    (here is "an" english version
    "My prefer is: Teamviewer, it does not require instalation, nor at the server, nor at the client, it's portable, it has file transfer, and all for free"
    Sorry I'm form Argentina and my english is not so good)

    • Ben
      September 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm

      True, and I use Teamviewer on occasion, but if you use uVNC single click or PCHelpWare (part of uVNC, both portable) you archive the same affect (granted the pro versions of Teamviewer are extremely excellent for support but are very expensive.)

  16. Sean M.
    September 22, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Another MakeUseOf article covered something called TeamViewer

    It can do this same thing, and I much prefer it over these options. On top of that it's great for using to help friends (remote support) and it's nice to use this one program for everything.

  17. Dan
    September 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I like the VNC solution, plenty of free clients (I use TightVNC myself). BUT, VNC is not secure, other people can snoop in on your connection. The solution: tunnel the VNC session over a secure VPN. It just so happens the LogMeIn folks offer a free VPN software called Hamachi. Best of both worlds. You could also tunnel VNC over SSH, but that requires a little bit more set up.

    • Ben
      September 22, 2008 at 7:25 pm

      Actually, uVNC allows for an encrypted connection.

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