Best free cross-platform software

Want to run multiple OSes on the same machine? Well, before you can multi-boot your computer, you need to divide the disk up to make room for the new OS.

The process doesn't sound easy, and depending on the default layout of the disk, might be more cumbersome than you can imagine.

Disk space and sharing

WARNING: GParted can be unforgiving if taken lightly

Thankfully, the brilliant GParted can help. It enables you to manipulate partitions in over a dozen formats, be that resizing and creating a Linux ext3 partition from the HFS+ partition on an Intel-based Mac, or altering an NTFS drive segment.

GParted is a GUI wrapper to the GNU Parted tool. It's available in almost every distro's repository and as a live CD – handy for operations on partitions without mounting them. It can create partitions as well as grow and shrink existing ones. Not all operations can be done on all partition types, though. For instance, GParted can't yet expand HFS+ partitions, although it can shrink them.

The program's also useful when you have to move or copy partitions between disks. Note that on Linux you'll need the hfsprogs module to manipulate HFS+ partitions, and that NTFS ones require the ntfsprogs module.As an alternative to GParted, check out the proprietary and paid-for Paragon Partition Manager.

Control remote desktops

One of an admin's best tricks is the ability to access desktops remotely. There are lots of tools out there that enable users to share their desktops, but setting one up can be quite a task.

TeamViewer is the no-brainer solution. It's free for non-commercial use, and works on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Just grab and install the binary for your platform. Although it's proprietary, TeamViewer shields users from the learning curve involved in establishing remote connections.

Remote control

REMOTE ACCESS: TeamViewer shields you from the murky task of establishing remote connections

When launched, the TeamViewer client gives you a unique, password-protected session ID. Pass this to whoever you want to control your desktop, or use a received one to gain control of another machine; connections are encrypted and encoded.

You can also use the Presentation option to share desktops without the ability to control them. TeamViewer can copy files to and from the remote desktops too.

What's more, there are options to create a template for custom invites, set a permanent password for unattended access, create a blacklist of users and customise access control settings, such as disabling file transfers.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.