As the coronavirus (aka Covid-19) continues to spread around the world, many companies have now introduced policies to accommodate remote working while also helping to limit the impact on productivity.
Here we feature the best remote desktop software - but if you're looking for more tools, be sure to check out our guides to the best video conferencing software and the best online collaboration tools around today.
Also take a look at our in-depth feature on everything else you need to set up your home office.
Choosing the best remote desktop software will equip you with the tools needed to access and manage one or more computers from another device. Remote access is possible via both local networks and the internet, which means that, with the right software, anyone can access any device, anywhere in the world.
With one of the remote desktop access applications we’ve listed below, you will be able to do any one of a number of things. For example, you could use your personal laptop to access and manage files on your office PC without having to leave your home. Having this versatility is great, especially during periods of sickness or difficulty when you’re unable to physically go to the office.
Using remote access software is simple. They generally take no more than a few minutes to set up, and you will usually have to install the software on the computer or other device you want to access the remote computer with. Many programs also need to be installed on the remote PC, while others are connected via a weblink or access code.
Some versions of Windows come with built-in remote desktop software, but third-party tools often perform much better and come with significantly more features. This could be especially important if you’re planning on using the software regularly.
There are a few other popular uses for the best remote desktop software. For example, you can handle complicated tasks from a laptop by connecting remotely to a more powerful computer. Also, IT support staff regularly use remote access programs to control a client’s computer and deal with any issues.
In the this article, we've briefly covered our top ten best remote desktop applications to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Best remote desktop software of 2020 at a glance
- Zoho Assist
- LogMeIn Pro
- Connectwise Control
- Parallels Access
- Chrome Remote Desktop
- Remote Desktop Manager
- RemoteUtilities for Windows
Simply the best remote computer access for business users
Communication: Online messaging, whiteboard | File transfer: Yes | Compliance: HIPAA and GDPR | Security: Personal Key and TLS v 1.2/AES-256 encryption | Other: Remote printing
RemotePC is a hugely-popular remote computer access application that’s suitable for both home and—in particular—for business users. It uses cloud technology to deliver class-leading remote access solutions through an intuitive web application and native desktop and mobile apps. It also includes collaboration features such as voice chat.
On top of this, Remote PC is highly secure, scalable, and affordable. Prices start from $29.50 per year for individuals and $249.50 for teams. A 30-day free trial is available with all plans. It’s a scalable program with the power to connect large numbers of devices.
Great all-round remote desktop access software
Communication: Voice and video chat, screen annotation | Diagnostic tools: Yes | Wake on LAN: Yes | Security: 2FA, SSL and 256-bit AES encryption | Other: Mobile SDK for iOS/Android
Cloud-based Zoho Assist is one of our favorite remote access tools because it enables you to access almost any device. It provides specialized remote support and unattended access plans designed to streamline workflow processes.
Zoho Assist’s support plans start at just $8 per month and include features such as remote printing and custom branding. They’re great for people such as support technicians and IT managers. More advanced features can also be accessed, with higher-end plans costing $13 and $21 per month.
Zoho Assist is protected by some of the best security integrations we’ve seen, which means it’s a great choice for those working with sensitive data.
Powerful solutions for large businesses and enterprises
File transfer: Yes | File storage: 1TB | Multi-monitor support: Yes | Remote actions: Printing | Security: 256-bit AES encryption | Other: Complimentary LastPass Premium license
LogMeIn Pro is one of the most popular remote desktop access programs available, and it’s a great choice for large businesses. It is a little expensive, but it comes with a great range of tools designed for enterprise users.
Prices start from $30 per month for two remote connections and a 14-day free trial is available. If you need more connections, you can simply upgrade to a higher plan. Additionally, LogMeIn Pro is easy to set up, highly secure, and backed by 24/7 live support. Note, though, that its performance can be a little slow at times.
Highly specialized remote access for support and unattended access
File transfer: Yes | Cross-platform: Yes | Host pass configuration: Yes | Security: 2FA and SSL Authentication | Other: Extension marketplace
ConnectWise Control provides highly specialized remote access solutions targeted at specific users. Its three Support plans start at $19 per month, come with some remote access features, and include powerful tools to help IT staff and support technicians solve problems remotely. The Access plan starts at $30 per month for 25 devices and is aimed at those who want to connect with numerous remote devices.
The main issue with ConnectWise Control is its sometimes poor performance. Even with a fast internet connection, the user interface is often slow and laggy, which isn’t ideal at the best of times.
Best for remote desktop access from a mobile device
File transfer: Yes | Supports: iPad multitasking, full-screen apps | Other: Samsung DeX and S Pen support
Parallels Access is designed for remote computer access from mobile devices. It does support computer–computer connections, but the majority of its features are mobile-centered. Prices start from just $19.99 per year, making it one of the more affordable options on this list.
One of our favorite things about Parallels Access is its tidy user interface. Rather than simply showing your desktop screen on a mobile device, like most of its competitors do, it presents a modified, mobile-friendly version. Overall, this program is a great choice for those who want to remotely access their computer from a mobile device.
Best remote PC software for cross-platform compatibility
File transfer: Yes | Wake on LAN: Yes | Install features: Remote install, Automated mass deployment | Security: Secure unattended access | Other: 4K monitor support, ServiceCamp ticket management
TeamViewer is a powerful remote access program that enables remote access to and from computers, mobile devices, network machines, and more. Unfortunately, though, it is quite expensive.
There is a free version of TeamViewer available for personal users, but businesses and other commercial users will have to upgrade to a paid subscription. These start at $49 per month for a single license. However, TeamViewer does offer impressive cross-platform compatibility, which includes remote mobile access and IoT device compatibility.
Best free remote computer access program for business
Cross-platform support: Yes | Access: Browser and mobile device
Chrome Remote Desktop is a free remote access program that’s available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. It's extremely limited when compared to some of the paid options on this list, but it’s the best free software we’ve come across and is a great option for personal use.
Since Chrome Remote Desktop is available as a browser extension, it can be used on any device that supports the Chrome browser. It is a little limited on mobile devices, but it’s easy to set up and is certainly worth considering.
Suited to businesses with large networks of connected devices
Logging: Auditing and activity | Security: Multiple 2FA options | Other: Password management, Account brokering
Remote Desktop Manager is a powerful remote computer access program offering scalable solutions for large businesses. It’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices and comes with a selection of impressive security features.
Unfortunately, though, Remote Desktop Manager is slightly expensive. Single-user licenses start at $199.99 per year, while site-wide business licenses start at $4,999.99. Custom enterprise-level solutions are also available.
Powerful remote desktop with impressive features
Communications: Session recording | File transfer: Yes, drag and drop | Multi-platform support: Yes | Security: TLS and 256bit AES encryption | Other: Active directory integration
Splashtop is a versatile remote computer access program with a range of impressive features, including a user-friendly interface and impressive security. It’s compatible with most common operating systems, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Splashtop comes in a number of specialized forms. Prices for Splashtop Business Access start from $60 per year and enable remote access to a specified number of computers. Remote Support plans start at $299 per year for up to 25 computers, and SOS on-demand support starts at $199 a year.
Highly affordable remote Windows computer access
Active directory support: Yes | Security: 2FA
If you’re looking for an affordable remote access program without ongoing fees, Remote Utilities for Windows could be for you. It comes with a range of impressive features, including file transfer, video calls, and session recording. A free technician license allows you to access up to 10 remote computers, while lifetime paid licenses start from $99. An enterprise-level site-wide license costs $12,000 and supports unlimited users.
- Make your home workers secure and productive with a remote access VPN