What is remote access software?
Remote access software is a program that allows you to connect one device to another located in different places over the internet to make work more effectively and conveniently, as long as there is web connection.
Five remote access software [free for Windows]
Here are five powerful free remote access software for PC. The detailed steps on how to use each software and its pros and cons will be shown in the next content.
1. Chrome Remote Desktop [Chrome's extension]
Chrome Remote Desktop, can be available as an extension of Google Chrome, supports Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. To use it for remote access, you need to have Google Chrome installed on the two computers and log in to your Google account. The remote desktop window only displays on the web and doesn’t offer advanced functions, like drag & drop file transfer, remote computer restart, and text chat.
Step 1. In the host computer, run Google Chrome browser and enter Chrome Remote Desktop window. Click the download icon to download the free remote access extension in Google.
Step 2. After that, click “Add to Chrome” to add the extension to Chrome and enable it.
Step 3. Go to "Remote Support" interface, click the blue "Generate Code" button under "Share this screen" to generate a one-time access code for this computer.
Step 4. In the client computer, download and enable Chrome Remote Desktop and sign into the same Google account. On the "Remote Support" interface, find the Remote Device below. Enter the code automatically generated on the host computer.
✍ Note: If you encounter timeout issue, you can refer to How to Fix Chrome Remote Desktop Timeout Problem?
2. Windows Remote Desktop Connection [without downloading]
Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection enables you to control one PC from another via IP address or name. The host computer shall be running Windows Windows 11/10/8.1 (Home Version is not supported) or Windows Server 2019/2016/2012 R2. And the two computers should be within LAN. Otherwise, you need to set up VPN or forward ports, which can be complicated for common users.
Step 1. On the host computer, enable Remote Desktop. Go to Settings > System> Remote Desktop and drag the slider rightward.
Step 2. Click “Select users that can remotely access this PC”, click “Add” to add the users that can connect remotely to this computer. Only the uses that are added have the ownership to access this PC.
Step 3. In the client computer, type “remote desktop connection” on the search box and run it.
Step 4. Type the IP of the host PC and click “Connect”.
Step 5. In the “Enter your credentials” window, type the user name and password of the controlled computer. Then, click “OK”.
Step 6. You may receive a message saying that “The identity of the remote computer cannot be verified. Do you want to connect anyway?” Click “Yes” and you can control the remote computer. After that, you can write unfinished documents or offer remote support.
✍ Note: If you encounter issues while using Remote Desktop, refer to 5 Top Fixes for Remote Desktop Not Working After Windows 10 Upgrade.
3. Windows Remote Assistance [remote help over the internet]
Windows Remote Assistance allows the technical support professional in another location to view the computer screen and control the computer. It connects to another computer via sending a password and file generated by the controlled computer. Only one-to-one operations can be performed. It supports Windows 10/8.1 and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012R2.
Step 1. Press “Windows” + “R, input “msra” and hit Enter key.
Step 2. Choose “Invite someone you trust to help you".
Step 3. Click “Save this invitation as a file and save it to your desktop. Then send the file to the one that will help you.
Step 4. The invited person opens the file and inputs the password in the box.
Step 5. Then you’ll receive a message to ask you to allow connect. Click “Yes” and your computer will be accessed and controlled.
Step 6. Then, the invited person can troubleshoot your PC issues.
4. Quick Assist [available in Windows 10 &11]
Quick Assist, a new app in Windows 10 and Windows 11, allows you to remotely receive remote connection or provide assistance by logging in to your Microsoft account and filling in a digital code. During the remote session, it’s available to annotate the controlled screen and chat online. Before the remote connection can be made, the controlled end must manually accept the request and the connection can be suspended at any time, ensuring personal privacy and security.
Step 1. In the search box, input “quick assist” and launch it on the two computers.
Step 2. In the controlling computer, click “Assist another person” and sign in to the Microsoft account and get a security code. The expiry period of the code is ten minutes.
Step 3. In the controlled computer, input the security code under “Get assistance”. Then, click “Share screen”.
Step 4. Two options “Take full control” and “View screen” will pop up. Choose one and click “Allow”.
Step 5. Then, the desktop of the controlled computer will display on the client computer. Shortcut functions, like rebooting the computer, are available.
5. AnyViewer [simplest and free]
As a free remote access app, AnyViewer supports all editions of Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7 and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012 R2. It’s very simple to operate without requiring users to sign up and sign in to the account. Then users can complete remote access over the internet quickly.
Step 1. Free download the remote access software for Windows on the PCs that need to be connected, install and run it.
Step 2. On the client computer input the device ID, assigned by AnyViewr in the box under “Partner ID”. Then, click “Connect”.
Step 3. Choose “Send a control request to your partner” and click “OK”.If the security code has been set for the host computer, you can select the second way to control another computer via security code.
Step 4. On the host computer, click “Allow” to enable the PC to be controlled.
Note: AnyViewer also provides two kinds of security code.
1. Temporary Security Code: On the host computer, turn on "Allow Temporary Security Code" in the settings. a "temporary security code" will be automatically generated. When connecting to the computer, enter the temporary security code of the controlled computer to perform remote control. It is suitable for temporarily providing control authority to other partners.
2. Set my security code: On the host computer, run on “Set my security code” and set the security code. When controlling the computer, choose “Input security code” and enter the security code set by the other party.
After the remote connection is established successfully, there are shortcut operations on the tool menu. You can quickly open Windows Explorer, Task Manager, CMD. And reboot/lock/shut down the controlled computer. Besides, you can fresh the remote desktop window, set full screen, and stop the remote connection.
Here are introduced five free remote access software and each has a different connection method. If both computers have downloaded Google Chrome browser, you can use Chrome Remote Desktop without downloading third-party software. If Google browser is unavailable, you can use Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, or Quick Assist. If you want to complete remote access easily without signing in to an account, it’s recommended to use AnyViewer.