Your friends are not very familiar with computers and that is why they often ask you to help them download and install programs. Even if you are actually able to provide for them on their own, you find these constant requests, in the long run, to be a bit of a nuisance. In reality it would take very little time to help them; the real problem is to overcome laziness and go to their house every time. Today you should help Mario, tomorrow Francesca and Matteo, the day after tomorrow it’s up to Paolo: you are so exasperated by these constant requests that you are looking for a way to remotely control a PC .
You can console yourself, I understand you very well! Given my passion in the field of technology and information technology, you can well imagine how I have been repeatedly “kidnapped” by friends and relatives. Well, if you are looking for a solution to remotely control a PC, which allows you to help all those in need, without leaving home, know that it exists.
“Salvatore, don’t fool me like that!” – you will tell me – Oh no my dear, I’m not deceiving you at all! If you want to know what you need to do to solve all your problems, all you have to do is sit comfortably. Take a few minutes of free time and carefully read the instructions that you will find in my tutorial dedicated to the subject; you will see that they will mark a turning point. Have a good reading!
- How to remotely control a PC: integrated solutions
- Remote Desktop (Windows)
- Screen Sharing (macOS)
- How to remotely control another PC: third party programs
- TeamViewer (Windows / macOS)
- Other remote access programs
How to remotely control a PC: integrated solutions
Not everyone knows, but Windows and macOS integrate software solutions that allow you to acquire remote control of your computer called, respectively, Remote Desktop (with RDP protocol) and Screen Sharing (with VNC protocol). Before explaining how they work, however, I consider it necessary to make some clarifications on this: firstly, the Remote Desktop server is not present in the Home versions of Windows , but only in the Pro , Server , Enterprise , Edu and so on.
In other words, if you are using Windows 10 Home (or other Home versions of Windows), you can use the remote desktop client to connect to other computers, but not receive remote assistance; if you find yourself in such a situation, you can instead rely on a third-party program specially designed for the purpose, which I told you about in the next chapter of this guide.
Furthermore, both Remote Desktop and Screen Sharing are designed for use mainly by computers connected to the same local network : in this case, you just need to configure the two servers appropriately and establish the remote connection from any other connected computer, smartphone or tablet. to the same network.
If, on the other hand, you want to access the PC from a different network or from the Internet, you need to know the public IP of the computer to be controlled and open the router ports associated with the two services.
To get the public IP address of the computer, open the Command Prompt in Windows (recalling it from the Start menu) or the terminal of MacOS (via the menu Go> Utilities in the Finder), type the command curl ifconfig.mein the window that is to be open and awards the Enter key on the keyboard.
As for the opening of the router ports related to the computer to be controlled, if you do not know how to proceed, you can refer to the specific guide I have dedicated to the topic. To be precise, the doors to open are as follows.
- Windows Remote Desktop:3389, 443 and 8245, all with TCP and UDP protocols.
- MacOS Screen Sharing: 5900 and 3283, both with TCP and UDP protocols.
Having made these necessary clarifications, let me explain how to properly configure the computers to be controlled.
Remote Desktop (Windows)
To activate the Remote Desktop server on Windows 10 and later , preparing the computer for remote access, proceed as follows: open the Windows Settings by right-clicking on the Start button (the flag symbol located to the left of the applications) and selecting the appropriate item from the menu that appears, click on the System button and then on the Remote Desktop option .
Now, move the lever corresponding to Enable Remote Desktop from OFF to ON and, if necessary, click the Confirm button . It should be noted that, by default, Remote Desktop sessions can only be used by users with administrative privileges.
To change this behavior, click on the item Select the users who can remotely access this PC / Remote desktop users , click on the Add … button resident in the next screen and type, in the appropriate text field, the username of the person to which enable remote access. To add it to the list, click the Check Names and OK buttons .
Finally, if you intend to access the computer from another device on the local network , note the local name of the computer specified in correspondence with the words Use this PC name to connect from the remote device / Use this name to connect to this PC from another device , as you will need it to log in.
If, on the other hand, you are using an older version of Windows, open the Start menu , type the words remote desktop in it and click on the result called Allow remote access to the computer , relative to the Control Panel; arrived at the new window, put the check mark next to the item Allow Remote Assistance connections to the computer , press the Advanced button and make sure that the item Allow control of the computer from remote locations is selected, otherwise do it yourself.
Now, click on the OK button to make all changes effective, choose whether to allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure option but which allows you to receive remote assistance from any version of Windows, without the need to add username and password) or whether to allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure option but which allows you to receive assistance only with the authorization of the remote computer) and click the Apply button to save the settings.
Again, by default, only accounts with administrative privileges can initiate Remote Desktop sessions; to change this behavior, click on the Select users button , type their username in the dedicated text field and click on the OK button to confirm the change. Finally, click several times on the OK / Apply buttons , in order to make the settings effective and activate Remote Desktop.
Once you have configured the computer to access via Remote Desktop, you can take control of it in a very simple way: if you use Windows , open the Start menu , type the words Remote Desktop Connection in it and click on the first result received, in order to open the dedicated client.
Once this is done, type the name (for internal connections to the network) or the public IP address (for connections external to the network) of the computer to connect to, click on the Connect button and answer affirmatively to the warning that appears later. Finally, enter the username and password of the account you want to log in to and click the OK button to start checking the computer.
The Microsoft Remote Desktop client is also available on the Mac App Store for macOS, the Play Store and alternative stores for Android , as well as on the iOS and iPadOS App Store and works in a very similar way to what is seen for Windows.
Screen Sharing (macOS)
To activate macOS Screen Sharing and prepare the Mac to receive remote assistance, open System Preferences (by clicking on the gear symbol located in the Dock bar ), click on the Sharing icon and put the check mark next to the Screen Sharing item , visible in the left sidebar.
Now, to define the connection settings, press the Computer settings … button , put the check mark next to the items Anyone can request permission to control the screen and VNC viewers can control the screen with a password and enter a password with which protect the connections within the appropriate field. To apply the changes, click the OK button .
Even on macOS, by default, remote access is allowed only to accounts with administrative privileges: to alter this behavior, place the check mark next to the All users item , in order to enable remote access for all users. computer users (who in any case must authenticate with their personal password).
Alternatively, if you want to allow access only for certain users, put the check mark next to the item Only these users , click on the [+] button located a little further down and click on the name of the account to be authorized and then on the button Select . Repeat this last step for all users you want to grant remote access to.
Now, if you intend to control the Mac using a computer connected to the same local network, write down the address of the computer located immediately under the heading Screen Sharing: active , next to the writing vnc: // (e.g. mac-mini.local or 192.168 .1.12 ).
To access the Mac just configured from a computer of the same type, right-click on the Finder icon (the one in the shape of a smiling face ) attached to the Dock , select the item Connection to the server … from the menu that is proposed and type the vnc address : // Mac_address in the text box that appears; remember to replace _Mac_address_ with the name / private IP of the computer (if you are accessing from the LAN network) or the public IP of the computer (if you are accessing from other Internet connections).
Once this is done, click on the Connect button , enter the password previously set in the VNC configuration phase and use the macOS login screen to log in with the account credentials to be controlled remotely.
Please note that you can connect to a Mac on which screen sharing has been activated even from a Windows computer, smartphone or tablet, using any VNC viewer, such as the free VNC Viewer client available for free for Windows , Android , iOS and iPadOS .
How to remotely control another PC: third party programs
If you think the solutions I have suggested so far are too complex, you will be pleased to know that there are third-party software that allows you to receive and provide remote assistance simply after entering an identification and password displayed in the software window. itself (or set manually). The strength of these programs is their simplicity: in most cases, it all comes down to a couple of clicks, eliminating the need to configure access, open doors or perform other similar operations.
TeamViewer (Windows / macOS)
TeamViewer is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most used and appreciated remote access programs ever: it allows you to acquire control of a computer almost instantly, to perform unattended access, to transfer files, to apply updates remotely and much more.
TeamViewer can only be used free of charge for personal and non-commercial purposes ; otherwise, you must take out a subscription with prices starting from € 29.90 / month . Having clarified this, let’s see together how to download and configure the program on the computer to be controlled : connect to the program’s website , click on the Free Download button located in the center of the screen and, when the download is complete, start the file obtained.
Now, if you use Windows , put the check mark next to the item Default installation , press the Accept – forward and Yes buttons, put the check mark next to the words I want to use the free version for personal use and click on the Finish button , to finalize setup and start the program.
If, on the other hand, yours is a Mac , double-click on the Install TeamViewer file visible in the window that opened previously, press the Open button (if required) and put the check mark next to I Accept the EULA . Subsequently, click on the Continue and Continue buttons , the latter two consecutive times, type the Mac password in the appropriate field and press the Install software button , to start copying the files.
Once the last operation is completed, you should be asked to grant the program the permissions necessary for its operation: press, therefore, on the Configure permissions and Open system preferences buttons , click on the Accessibility item (on the side) and put the check mark next to any rumors related to TeamViewer . Finally, do the same for the Screen Recording and Full Disk Access sections and exit System Preferences.
Please note that, if necessary, you can also install TeamViewer QuickSupport on the computer to be controlled , a lighter version of the program that does not require installation and which, however, lacks some features of the full version. You can always download it from the official TeamViewer website .
If you find it difficult to complete the installation of the program, I refer you to reading my tutorial dedicated to downloading TeamVieawer , in which I explained how to proceed in great detail.
In any case, once the program setup is complete, wait for it to start automatically (or do it yourself, using the appropriate icon that has in the meantime been added to the Windows Start menu or to the macOS Launchpad ), click on the Control tab remote located on the side (depicting two horizontal arrows in opposite direction) and write down – or let the person to whom you have to provide remote assistance communicate – the codes below the words Your ID and Password : you will need them to establish the connection to the computer.
You can control a PC configured in this way by installing TeamViewer also on the computer from which you intend to operate , following the same instructions seen a little while ago; if, on the other hand, you are going to operate from a smartphone or tablet, download and install the TeamViewer Remote Control client, available for free on the Play Store and on the alternative stores for Android and on the Apple App Store .
At the end of the installation, open the program or the dedicated application, open the Remote Control tab (the two horizontal arrows in the opposite direction) and enter the partner ID previously obtained in the appropriate field; now, put the check mark next to the wording Remote control (only on the computer), press the Connect / Remote control button , enter the access password to the computer to be controlled and enter , to establish the connection.
Within a few seconds, you should have access to the desktop of the computer to which you have established the connection, which you can check exactly as if you were in front of its screen; on smartphones and tablets, you will also see a short tutorial on the gestures to use to make the most of the app.
To learn more about the use of TeamViewer , I invite you to read the specific tutorial I have dedicated to the topic.
Other remote access programs
In addition to the solution I told you a little while ago, there are many other programs that allow you to remotely control another computer, even free. Below you will list the ones that, in my opinion, represent the best in the category.
- AnyDesk( Windows / macOS ): This is a great feature-rich remote access software with an easy-to-use interface. It can be used free of charge for personal purposes only, otherwise a license to use must be purchased. Computers can be controlled not only from other PCs, but also from Android , iOS and iPadOS smartphones and tablets , after installing a dedicated app.
- DWService( Windows ): this is a distributed platform dedicated to remote control, which works by combining a Web server with a connection client available for Windows; in reality there is also a version dedicated to Macs, however the software is 32-bit and cannot run on macOS 10.15 Catalina and later versions of the operating system. The DWService service is completely free, for both personal and professional use.
- SupRemo( Windows / macOS ): another excellent program that allows you to receive and offer remote assistance via the Internet, without going into complex and cumbersome configurations. The software is free if used occasionally for personal purposes but, in order to use it for personal purposes or for continuous use, you must subscribe to a paid plan. Computers set up for access via Supremo can be controlled via the same computer program, but also via dedicated clients for Android , iOS and iPadOS .
To learn more about how to use the software that I listed a little while ago, or to discover other remote access programs that you can use if necessary, you can take a look at the specific guide I have dedicated to the topic.