Have you ever been in the position where you’ve needed to access a PC from a different location? Maybe you urgently need a file from your PC, or a friend needs your technical help or maybe your stuck behind a firewall that will only let you access certain sites. Thankfully, there are a few programs out there that can help you establish a connection with another PC and allow you to do everything from reinstalling programs to simply just snoop around their desktop.
UltraVNC is one of the most popular applications for this task. Its fast, free and easy to use allowing you full access to a remote PC. One of the best things about VNC is that the other user does not need to install any other software to allow you access. Using Java, the desktop of the person you are connected to is displayed in a separate window on your screen. Be warned though that although its easy to use once up and running, you may need to consult the instructions to get the connection settings right. There’s a useful forum where the most common problems are reported and discussed.
Another option is Remote Desktop Control. This program is somewhat less popular because it doesn’t come with all the advanced features of UltraVNC but it is a little more user- friendly. One good feature is that more than one administrator can connect to the same computer which can be particulary useful when trying to solve tricky technical issues. Note however that the trial is limited to 30 days.
Finally, a slightly different take on the genre is AstroShare which attempts to be an all in one remote-control, video conferencing solution. Its aimed more at those who conduct regular business meetings and need to interchangeably use different computers. It also features file transfer options, voice conversations, instant messaging, and even a chalk-board to outline strategies. However, it’s not for the faint hearted since trying to control all of these features in one program can become cumbersome.