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Your Windows Phone is in your pocket, but your PC is at home. You need to access something urgently on your computer – you need a remote app that extends your Windows desktop into the palm of your hand.

Remote Controlling Your Windows PC

Around 10 years ago I was using a Windows Mobile 5 device, the MDA Vario, which gave me my first taste of mobile Internet and emails in my pocket. Most crucially, it gave me access to my PC. Back then I worked in IT support. This was before cloud storage took off and having a connection to information was vital these days.

In 2005, the only way to easily remote control my PC was using LogMeIn.com’s free service, which has since been discontinued. Connection to my computer over 3G was slow, and a lack of a meaningful user interface on the mobile side meant that response time was mitigated by poor accuracy when attempting to open the Start menu or launch an application. Put simply, it was rubbish.

Fortunately, in 2014 things are a lot better. Several remote PC access apps are available for Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8: The Complete Review Windows Phone 8: The Complete Review Question: how do you improve on perfection? Answer: you wait for someone else to have a go. A quick look around the smartphone market reveals that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are top... Read More , each offering something a little different. The following apps should help you get exactly what you need when remotely using your computer.

PC Remote

You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do with PC Remote, one of the most popular downloads on the Windows Phone Store. Easy to set up, this free app enables you to control your PC from your phone from anywhere on your local network.

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Much more than just a tool that offers a virtual mouse and keyboard experience, PC Remote features integrated remotes for media players and even a PowerPoint remote.

Services such as iTunes, Spotify, Media Player Classic, XMBC, VLC, Netflix and Hulu are all supported, while you can search YouTube and launch the video on your PC in seconds.

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If you opt for the paid app, additional features such as file transfer, a custom remote tool, Internet remote and Windows 8 gestures Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On A Laptop Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On A Laptop With the introduction of Windows 8, a lot of brand-new touch-friendly features have been added to make the operating system enjoyable to use on touch-enabled devices. However, for typical laptops which only have touchpads for... Read More are included.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview

From Microsoft itself comes this app whose name suggests a grander, perhaps paid-for app will be coming along later.

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Until then, Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview is available free and features a RemoteFX remote desktop client, which Microsoft claims is designed to help you work wherever you are.

Using the RDP protocol and offering a multi-touch user interface, Network Level Authentication technology is employed to create a secure connection and compression technology results in high quality video and audio.

Although useful, the Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview does have a few problems. One notable fault is the upside down display on Nokia Lumias with the Glance feature enabled. The inability to use login credentials with a space character (such as “Christian Cawley”) is particularly surprising. Also, you’ll be unable to connect to Home editions of Windows. The amount of Windows-side configuration that is required might persuade you to choose one of the alternative solutions on this page.

Splashtop Personal

The apps we’ve looked at so far will only reliably handle desktop apps and nothing that taxes the processor too much. Spashtop Personal is different.

If you’re already aware of Splashtop, then you probably know that it is now the leading name in remote desktop 4 Remote Desktop Apps To Fetch Files In Windows & Beyond 4 Remote Desktop Apps To Fetch Files In Windows & Beyond Microsoft recently removed SkyDrive's "Fetch" feature. Here we show you how you can access files remotely on and from various device, including Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Read More , spanning platforms and devices to give users the level of access they expect in an age of mobile broadband and powerful mobile processors. This is the only remote access product for Windows Phone that can deliver full audio and high definition video streaming – not to mention 3D gaming!

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Splashtop Personal for Windows Phone is free and requires that you have a free account and the Splashtop Streamer installed on your Windows PC or Mac, available free from www.splashtop.com. The tool offers various additional security options, such as requiring a password and a security code along with the default username and password.

You can also connect from across the Internet (rather than your local WiFi) and use 256-bit AES encryption, if you choose to purchase the Anywhere Access Pack for $1.99 a month.

Available for up to five computers, Splashtop Personal is for non-commercial use only.

Office Remote

Finally, ideal for use in the workplace or giving a presentation at college, is Office Remote, a free Microsoft app that acts as a compact remote control for Microsoft PowerPoint.

Requiring a PC with a Bluetooth connection, a desktop add-in from Microsoft and Microsoft Office 2013 (not RT), Office Remote also supports Excel and Word. However, it is for PowerPoint that it is most useful, enabling easy slide switching, previewing slides and displaying notes, a laser pointer option and more.

Should your presentation require some big-screen display of an Excel spreadsheet, browsing through the document remotely is possible, as is the use of Slicers, PivotTable (knowledge of which will help you in any office 5 Microsoft Word & Excel Skills You Must Have to Succeed at the Office 5 Microsoft Word & Excel Skills You Must Have to Succeed at the Office "Get that report to me, ASAP!" A core set of Microsoft Excel and Word tricks can make this task less stressful and help you whiz up a stylish report in no time. Read More ), and Filters. Word users can enjoy easy remote navigation through documents.

Superb Remote Productivity With Windows Phone 8

These apps are optimised for Windows Phone 8, and given just how accomplished they are (even Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview is good, despite its shortcomings) we could see some considerable improvements across the board once Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out fully.

Have you tried any of these remote apps for Windows Phone? Did you find one is more suitable for a particular task than others? Let us know your thoughts below.

Image Credits: Ceo1O17 Via Flickr

  1. NSilvio
    December 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

    My fav is LiteManager for Remote controlling PC Win8 because it's free, secure, fast, simple!

  2. Rushinth John
    June 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I use Team Viewer which works smoothly both on Windows Phone and Android.

  3. Bártfay Meszike I
    June 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Completely agree…great application!

  4. Jan.dercon
    June 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Havn't been able to try this out for myself cause i don't have iOS/Android/Windowsphone 8 ; but teamvieuwer (http://www.teamviewer.com/nl/download/mobile.aspx)
    has cvome in handy for me a lot of times to help a friend by controlling his computer from home over the internet (or just watch to help him find things out)

  5. Steve
    June 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I have a Motorazr M Android. Can I do this with it?

  6. Skip
    June 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    What can an android phone user to access a PC remotely?

  7. Mark
    June 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I agree with Teamviewer. I connect to family members all over the country, as well as my own PC, albeit only one at a time. It works on Macs as well, and I can do all this from my iphone.

  8. Daniel
    June 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    PC Remote has not kept up with Windows 8. I might have worked well with Windows 7, but it is nearly impossible to control a Windows 8 startscreen with it.

  9. Adam Houston
    June 17, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Don't forget to mention TeamViewer. This was the better option for most of what I do and is free for personal use.

    • Kimchi R
      June 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Completely agree...great application! I use it on at least a dozen machines.

    • Christian C
      July 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Good suggestion, which I would have included had I been able to get it to work. It seems that no one else has had the issue I have, however, so don't let that put anyone off, probably my firewall.

  10. Adrian
    June 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Cortana being me here to this website ????

    • Alyx
      June 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Cortana is too cute sometimes.

    • Christian C
      July 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Cortana clearly knows the web very well... ;)

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