How to tackle troublesome PCs using remote desktop connections

use remote desktop connections to fix computer problems pc rage
A remote desktop connection is a great way to help someone across the country fix their PC. There are dozens of ways to use remote desktop connections, with different restrictions and compatibility, and some are much easier to use than others. Whether you’re helping hundreds of users deal with system issues and hardware conflicts on a daily basis, or you’re just tired of explaining over the phone how to remove all those search toolbars your mom installed, we’ve got you covered with some of our favorite software solutions.

Google Chrome Remote Desktop

We already detailed earlier this year how to use Google Hangout and Chrome to remotely control another user’s desktop, a feature that’s been in development for awhile, but is now available through an easy-to-install Chrome extension. Just because it’s easy to use doesn’t mean it’s lacking functionality though; the Chrome Remote Desktop application allows simultaneous video chat, client audio streaming back to the controller, secure connections, and file transfer between the two computers.

Chrome Remote Desktop

The connection is established by sharing a 16-digit code, so you can help your mom “install Facebook” on her computer, as well as use a remote system for media storage and streaming on a regular basis. Google Chrome Remote Desktop is cross-platform, allowing control of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux machines, and is also built into ChromeOS.

LogMeIn

While browser-based software might be more than enough for some users, people who find themselves needing to access different machines on a regular basis from a variety of devices may find a full suite of installed software more relevant. LogMeIn offers a large number of services that include everything from simple remote desktop applications to network emulation. LogMeIn also offers a number of options depending on your needs, including a browser-based management system, tech support software designed to diagnose viruses and solve software conflicts, and mobile solutions for iOS and Android.

LogMeIn Pro

Their programs range from user-friendly to a little intimidating, but if you’re just looking to occasionally access files and functionality on your home PC from your smartphone you shouldn’t have any trouble. LogMeIn has just announced that they are no longer offering a free version of their software, but if you’re using computers remotely outside of your local network on a regular basis it’s still worth looking into their services.

RDCMan

Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows both have their own built-in protocol for remote desktop connections, and both are easy enough to use to connect to a single machine. If you’re using Windows and find yourself needing to connect to a large numbers of machines on a regular basis, it’s worth the upgrade to RDCMan, a free program from Microsoft designed to manage server farms or labs with lots of machines.

RDCMan

While it’s a little more involved and there’s less documentation on how to use it, users may find options for server groups and multiple system management more robust than most end-user options. Since RDCMan uses a built-in protocol, the client machine simply needs to have the functionality enabled in the system settings, and the connection is naturally lightweight and flexible, though only compatible with Windows computers.

Apple Remote Desktop

Apple has its own remote desktop software available, and it’s a little more flexible and user friendly than RCDMan. Like some of the more feature-rich alternatives, ARD lets you keep track of multiple machines, and also lets you scan your local network for Mac OS X machines to identify whether they’re controllable and to what degree. There are a lot of control features, including text based terminal control, drag and drop file transfer to and from the client machine, remote spotlight search, and a curtain mode that lets the host to close off the client machine from the user temporarily.

Apple Remote Desktop

Setup and connection is easy. You only need to allow remote connections in the system settings of the machine you wish to control. Apple Remote Desktop is also capable of controlling Windows and Linux machines on and off the local network over VNC. The cost is a little higher, with Apple charging $79 for unlimited use of the product, with single and multiple client computer versions at a reduced price.

Chicken of the VNC

A third party option for Mac OS X, Chicken is a lightweight VNC client that allows both client and host connections to other Windows, Mac, and Linux machines also running VNC software or accepting VNC connections. The program is easy to install and use, and only requires you to enable control on the client machine and identify its IP address. There’s a bit less documentation on this program, but using it is very straightforward, and the flexibility of a cross-platform protocol in a free program is both useful and desirable, even if it lacks some of the functionality of the paid programs.

Chicken of the vnc
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts in the process.
Computing

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 
Computing

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.
Computing

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.