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Updated Apr 22, 2024

Connecting to Your PC From Anywhere

As remote and hybrid work become more common, remote desktop software is becoming essential.

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Written By: Chad BrooksBusiness Ownership Insider and Managing Editor
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

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Work-from-home and hybrid work policies are increasingly common for companies to offer. This can be a great perk for employees. However, as companies implement these policies, many have had to figure out how to manage a remote workforce. Chief among these considerations is ensuring employees have remote access to their office workstations. 

Remote desktop software makes it possible for employees to connect to their computers from anywhere. That can help address some of the challenges between working remotely and working from a shared office, as well as for IT managing devices remotely.

What is remote desktop software? 

In business, remote desktop software allows a user to connect to, access and control a computer from a remote workstation as if the computer was right in front of them. A remote desktop station creates a one-to-one connection between two workstations, which can include mobile devices. By installing the software on both the computer you are trying to access (the host) and the device you are currently using (the client), you can create a connection between the two devices to access the host as if it’s local. 

With the help of remote desktop software, employees and IT specialists are able to remotely access computers so they can work from any location, while still being as productive as they are in the office. By using remote desktop software, employees are able to access their office computer from home, while IT personnel can use the software to fix other computers from their location. In essence, the software makes it appear as if the user is sitting right in front of the computer they are accessing, when in fact they may be at home, in a coffee shop or in another office hundreds of miles away.

Types of remote desktop software

There are two main types of remote desktop applications. One is designed for IT workers fixing computers, and the other is for other employees using computers from outside the office.

Remote desktop software for IT experts

One is designed for IT specialists as a way to solve their clients’ computer problems without having to actually sit down in front of their computer. Rather than personally inspecting the computer, they can log on to it from their own office and fix problems. This saves time and allows IT specialists to handle many more issues than they would if it were necessary to visit each computer personally.

Among the things remote desktop IT service providers can do with the software are download files, reboot computers and chat via the connection about problems that arise. Remote desktop software also gives IT professionals the opportunity to record sessions to help train other employees on how best to solve issues.

Remote desktop software for other employees

Employees who want to access their personal computer from work or their work computer from home generally use the second type of remote desktop software: remote PC access software. The best remote PC software gives employees the opportunity to log on to a work or home computer from any other computer or mobile device with little noticeable difference from using that device directly. 

Once logged in with the remote software, users are able to use every file and program on the PC they are accessing. This eliminates stress for employees who may have left a file at the office or are working on a project at home and forgot to bring a file to work the next day. In those situations, they can remotely access their computer to retrieve the needed files.

When do you need remote desktop software? 

Remote desktop software continues to grow in importance for businesses, especially as so many companies add and maintain remote or hybrid work policies. 

  • For fixing problems: Network administrators and IT support technicians often need remote access to connect to employees’ computers to find software issues and provide aid when necessary.
  • For updating computers: IT workers also may use remote desktop software to install new applications or programs being implemented by the employer – including top tools for remote work – without the need to physically access devices.
  • For remotely connecting to work computers: Employees may also need remote desktop software to connect to their work computers from outside the office. This can be to access files and software that are found only on their work desktop machines or other devices.
Did You Know?Did you know
In a report by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of workers who work from home said doing so helps them balance their personal and professional lives.

What to look for in remote desktop software

When choosing remote desktop software, there are a number of features and options users should be looking for. 

  • Access to files and software: It should be possible to access files and run software programs on the remote computer.
  • File and data transfer: It’s generally also important to be able to transfer data, such as work files and system information, to and from a remote computer. 
  • Ease of use: It’s important that remote desktop software is easy to install and use. Complicated setup processes or login procedures will become frustrating and make the remote desktop software more of a chore than a tool for getting work done easily.
  • Information security: Because sensitive or confidential information is often being accessed via remote desktop software, security features protecting against cyberattacks are critical. Any remote desktop option should use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to provide secure transmissions over the internet.
Make sure that remote desktop software is compatible with the devices everyone in your business uses, which could include Windows PCs, Macs, mobile phones, Chromebooks and other devices.

What to look for in remote PC software

When choosing remote PC software, users should make sure it offers several important features. 

  • Access from multiple devices: It’s often important to be able to access a remote computer from multiple devices, such as mobile devices and laptops, for either repair or everyday use.
  • On/off capabilities: It’s also important to be able to turn a remote computer on if it’s not already on, so someone doesn’t have to physically access it before you can use it remotely, and to be able to turn it off to save power when not in use.
  • Multimedia access: It should be possible to stream video and audio from the remote computer, particularly if there are multimedia files stored locally that need to be accessed remotely. Similarly, it should be possible to access webcams and microphones connected to the computer.
  • File transfer: The software should also include file sync – the ability to drag and drop files between the computer and the device accessing it.
  • Interactive chat: It should be possible to communicate via private chat. This is especially helpful for IT experts needing to communicate with users of the remote computer.
  • High-grade security: Like remote desktop software, remote PC software should have top-notch security. Secure services support password protection, encrypt data transfers and can block IP addresses from remote access. The software should also have an automatic timeout so that no one can access the remote PC later if the user forgets to log out.
Many companies offer free trials so you can test out their software and make sure the service and features are a good fit for your business’s needs.

Best remote desktop and remote PC software


RemotePC offers remote PC software that’s great for small businesses without an IT department. It’s designed so that users at all different levels of experience can quickly and easily navigate remote computers.

All of RemotePC’s business-focused plans provide accounts for unlimited users, and they all provide the ability to transfer files, stream audio, print documents,and view files at nearly 60 frames per second. RemotePC’s software also provides remote reboot, whiteboard collaboration tools and video conferencing support.

RemotePC provides 24/7 support via chat and email. RemotePC plans cost between $29.50 and $899.25 for two years of service. You can learn more in our full RemotePC review.

Zoho Assist

Zoho Assist is a great choice for remote PC support by IT workers as well as remote access. It also supports a wide range of hardware and software, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, ChromeOS and Raspberry Pi.

The software is also closely integrated with other Zoho products, including Zoho CRM for sales, and offers extensive ability to diagnose a problem on a remote PC. That includes access to technical features like the command prompt, Windows registry editor and other configuration tools. Configurable permissions make sure that technicians and other users have access to only what you want them to be able to control.

Zoho Assist offers a limited free plan and paid plans costing up to $24 per user. Read our full Zoho Assist review to learn more.

GoTo Resolve

GoTo Resolve, formerly called GoTo Assist, can be used for remote IT support without the need to download any special software. It also includes ticketing and IT management tools that are useful for support professionals. It can provide a secure connection through a standard web browser, with the option to download a remote installer onto devices or install a special GoTo Resolve toolbar.

The software works with a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Users in need of support can submit tickets through a variety of systems, including email, a web portal, and chat tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack. GoTo Resolve can also integrate with a variety of third-party software, including ticketing software like Zendesk and with Google Translate, which allows for multilingual support options.

GoTo Resolve is available at price points from $0 to $190 per user per month. Check out our full GoTo Resolve review to find out more.


Splashtop is a great choice for businesses with a hybrid workforce and for creative professionals. It offers support for remote use of creative tools like a stylus- or pen-based tablet, as well as support for common business software.

Splashtop lets multiple users connect to and from multiple monitors at the same time, which can be great for group work, letting people collaborate as if they were sitting side by side. It also includes chat and access to remote microphones, with HD-quality video and audio transfer built in. An add-on service, Splashtop Antivirus powered by Bitdefender, offers additional security capabilities when accessing remote computers and transferring files back and forth.

Splashtop’s plans cost between $5 and $8.25 per user per month. Check out our complete Splashtop review for more information.

Choosing remote desktop and remote PC software

Different remote desktop and remote PC software applications serve different purposes. Think about your needs when deciding which software is right for you and your business. Consider how you’ll be using remote PC software, as well as what operating systems and other software you’ll be using with it, as you consider your options. 

Some are designed for IT professionals needing to remotely control computers, while others are designed for employees accessing work computers from home. Different programs provide different levels of support for adjusting system configurations and remotely accessing files, software, and audio and video, and different applications offer different levels of compatibility with other software. Regardless of which you need, remote desktop and PC software is a must if your team works remotely. 

Steven Melendez and Sean Peek contributed to this article.

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Written By: Chad BrooksBusiness Ownership Insider and Managing Editor
Chad Brooks is the author of How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business. He has spent more than 10 years guiding prospective entrepreneurs and business owners on the ins and outs of launching a startup, scaling a company and maintaining profitable growth. Within the world of entrepreneurship, he is particularly passionate about small business communications tools, such as unified communications systems, video conferencing solutions and conference call services. Brooks, who holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University, has lent his business expertise to a number of esteemed publications, including Huffington Post, CNBC, Fox Business and Laptop Mag. He regularly consults with B2B companies to stay on top of the latest business trends and direct growing enterprises toward the modern-day business technology required in today's digitally advanced world.
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