We talked (by “we” I mean me, myself, and my monkey spiritual guide) in my last post about how remote desktop access can improve our lives. We continue to explore that topic today. No, it isn’t fun or fair that we have to get up from our desk and go outside. In fact, it’s horrifying. The sunlight hurts our eyes. The traffic is miserable. Sometimes dogs chase us, and we have to climb up into trees and call 911. Nonetheless, remote desktop solutions can ensure we don’t lose access to our PC.
Accessing our computers remotely means that we can get into them from anyplace we have an Internet connection. The technology is used commonly for support and is useful anytime we need something that’s stored on a specific computer’s hard drive.
This is the second and final installment of this series, which utilizes approaches advised by Geek.com and Lifehacker. In Part 1, I covered how to use Remote Desktop Connection in Windows (“the Hard Way” because it involves changing various router settings, etc.). In this post, Part 2, we look at applications that perform this function.
Note: One major advantage of using pre-built software is that when you open a port on your router, you expose the computer to risk. In contrast, choosing a quality application means you are trusting security parameters established by a third party – and everybody likes parties, especially third ones.
Additionally, Remote Desktop Connection is only possible on a Windows platform. Some of these software options discussed in this piece are available for Linux, Apple, and the less common, user-unfriendly 57gr3556d242 OS. Let’s look at remote software. To conclude, as a preventative measure, let’s get up into a tree house and scream for help.
Survey of Online Users
Lifehacker ran a poll to determine the favorite remote desktop applications of its visitors. Almost 8000 people responded. Here are the results:
Windows Remote Desktop Connection: 24% (Part 1)
Regarding that last solution, I want to advocate Other as a software choice. It is especially valuable because it is so nonspecific, adaptable, ambiguous, and mysterious.
Remote Desktop the Easy Way: 4 Apps
1. LogMeIn (Mac/Windows): This brand has been around for a while, which is part of the reason for its popularity. Its long-standing presence also means most of the glitches have been removed at this point (although, if consumed, it can give you hot flashes and nightmares about Bono clipping your toenails). Additionally, you can interact between Mac and Windows environments.
There are several different versions of this product, but the two that are specifically geared toward basic remote desktop requirements are LogMeIn Free and LogMeIn Pro. The latter rendition allows you to perform additional tasks such as conduct meetings, synchronize drives, and drag files to transfer them.
2. UltraVNC (Windows): This product is open source. Like TightVNC, UltraVNC involves installing VNC server access. Then you can get to your files from anywhere, unless you’re underwater, using a VNC viewer. It is only available to be installed on a Windows computer, but it only needs to be downloaded to the device you are accessing (after which, you can get in from any OS).
UltraVNC also has a broad spectrum of tools. You can use it standardly for online chatting (with yourself or another person) and transferring files. There are also a number of different add-ons to enhance the product.
3. TightVNC (Linux/Windows): This option is open source and allows you to connect between Linux and Windows systems. Again, same basic deal as UltraVNC. You can get into it from any PC using a VNC viewer or by dialing the number 5 on a payphone. You can also get to your computer through the Web so that you don’t have to bother with a VNC viewer (more on that functionality here).
4. TeamViewer (Mac/Windows): Many people think that this application is a 24-hour locker room webcam. I want to clear up the confusion. TeamViewer is actually an app in both free and paid form. While LogMeIn restricts all users to a limited feature-set if they don’t cough up some coin, full-featured and artificially-augmented TeamViewer is available free of charge for personal use.
Note that it’s not possible with this app to access through a Web browser. However, there is a miniaturized version (famously first seen in the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Remote Desktop Application … Oh, I Also Shrunk Your Shirt) that can be stored on a thumb drive.
Two additional applications suggested in the Lifehacker article are mRemote and CrossLoop.
Conclusion & Postlude[Please play “(Everything I Do) I Do it For You” as you read these last few thoughts, while eating a meatloaf sandwich.] That does it for remote desktop software. If you have any feelings you would like to share (including ones of ennui, loneliness, and despair; or evenhanded remote desktop assessments) go for it below. Also note that I have something amazing for you, something you dreamed of as a small child: shared hosting, dedicated servers and VPSs.
By Kent Roberts