If you’ve ever needed to access a computer remotely, you may have tried advanced software in the past with overly technical steps. Luckily, accessing any computer remotely doesn’t have to be that difficult, thanks to the Chrome Web Browser.
There’s an app called Chrome Remote Desktop that will let you access multiple computers, and allow others to access your computer as well. Chrome Remote Desktop is secure and works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and of course Chromebooks.
For this tutorial, I’ll be accessing a Windows desktop (work computer) via a Macbook Pro (home computer). To make this easier to understand, I’ll use “work” to refer to the computer that you want to access remotely, and “home” to refer to the computer that you’ll use to remotely access that computer.
1. You’ll need to install the Chrome Remote Desktop app on both your work and home computers. For now, let’s just install it on the work computer.
2. Once installed, you can access the Chrome Remote Desktop app from the New Tab Page or via the App Launcher (if you’re using a version of Chrome that supports it).
3. To get started, you’ll need to authorize Chrome Remote Desktop and grant extended access permissions to your computer. Click on “Continue” to begin this process.
4. Select the Google account that you’d like to associate with Chrome Remote Desktop and allow access. This account will need to be used on any computer that you use to remotely access your computer.
Enabling Remote Access
5. Now you’ll see two options: Remote Assistance and My Computers. Remote Assistance is good for user-to-user screen sharing, while My Computers is for accessing your computer(s) remotely. Click on “Get started” under the My Computers section.
6. Click on the “Enable remote connections” button; this will give other computers permission to access your computer remotely.
7. You’ll need to come up with a PIN (at least six digits), that will be required when connecting to your computer from another location (i.e. you’ll need to enter this PIN on your home computer in order to access your work computer).
8. Click “OK” on the Windows prompts that come up asking if Google Update and Chrome Remote Desktop Host Controller can make changes to your computer.
9. Confirm your account by entering your PIN, to allow access by Chrome Remote Desktop.
10. Finally, you should see a notification letting you know that remote connections have been enabled. It also tells you to check your computer’s power management settings, to ensure that it is not configured to go to sleep while idle.
To disable your computer from going to sleep:
On Windows: Go to “Control panel -> hardware and sound -> power options”, click “change when the computer sleeps” -> choose “never” for the “put the computer to sleep” option.
Note: I’m not sure if the “turn off the display” option will affect remote access, but I’ve set that to “never” as well, just in case.
On Mac: Go to “System Preferences -> energy saver -> under battery and power adapter”, move the slider to “never” (all the way to the right) -> you should also uncheck the “put hard disks to sleep when possible” option.
If your computer is set to go to sleep when idle you won’t be able to access it remotely, so be sure to fix this.
11. Once you’ve entered your PIN to verify your account, you should see your computer listed under “My Computers.” You can edit the name of your computer by clicking the edit icon that appears when you scroll over your computer name.
12. Now, go to your home computer. Install the Chrome Remote Desktop app and go through steps 1-4. As long as you’ve linked the same Google account, you should now see your computer listed under My Computers.
13. Click on your computer’s name and enter the PIN that you’ve created. Once connected, there will be a notification on your work computer that says: “your desktop and any audio output are currently shared with (your Google account email).” There’s also a button to disconnect, right from here.
14. On your home computer, you’ll be able to see your work computer in the Chrome Remote Desktop tab. At the top of the page there is a little tab that, when clicked, brings down a few options that you may find useful. For instance, under screen options you can shrink your remote desktop to fit the page, or view its original size.
15. When you’re done, you can disconnect and close out the tab. It’s as simple as that.
As far as performance, I can vouch that Chrome Remote Desktop works great on a fast Internet connection. I didn’t notice any lagging, and there was only about a two-second delay when performing an action like closing or opening a tab.
This is by far one of the easiest ways to access your computer remotely and best of all, it’s all done within the Chrome browser. There’s no additional applications or software to install on your computer.
There may be a lot of steps involved to get started, but once set up you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with remote access software in the past.
Image credit: Laptop In Laptop In Laptop by BigStockPhoto
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