How to access a home computer from work or school
If you need to control a remote computer, or you'd like someone else to control your computer remotely, there are several options available. Below is a listing of some of the more popular methods of remotely connecting to another computer for remote access or assistance.
First is a listing of online services, which allow anyone with a compatible Internet browser to remotely access and connect to another computer. Next is a listing of software that are used to connect and remotely access other computers. Finally, we have listed additional information about resolving problems you may experience while using one of the below services.
TeamViewer - https://www.teamviewer.com/
LogMeIn - https://secure.logmein.com/home/
A great, free service that allows you to remotely connect to another computer using your Internet browser. After installing a small program onto the computer, the program allows you to remotely connect to another computer. Once connected, you can open remote files, check your e-mail, run programs, and provide remote support to a local user.
GoToMyPC - https://get.gotomypc.com
These programs have a free trial, and if you like them, you can continue use by paying a monthly/annual fee.
If your work or school prohibits information from being installed onto the computer, you can install many of these programs on a USB thumb drive instead of on the computer.
TightVNC - http://www.tightvnc.com/
A free and open source VNC program that allows you to remotely connect to another computer and control it. The program supports multiple platforms including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix, and permits file transfers between computers.
RealVNC - https://www.realvnc.com/
The original VNC program that allows users to remotely connect to other computers running VNC. RealVNC has three different versions. The free version that supports a standard connection and the Professional and Enterprise editions with encryption, One-port HTTP & VNC, file transfer, and more.
Laplink Everywhere - http://www.laplink.com/lle/
A great software program for Microsoft Windows computers to remote connect without hassling with firewalls. Laplink has three different modes of connection, high security, and much more.
Windows XP Professional
Users who have Windows XP Professional installed on their computers can also use the Windows XP Professional Remote Desktop option to remotely access their computer. Additional information about how to do this can be found here.
Potential problems and additional information
Below is additional information about potential problems you may encounter when using any of the above solutions.
- Firewall - Any firewall protecting your home, work, or school network must be open for many of these software programs or services to communicate with other computers. If you have a software firewall running on your computer, you must explicitly open the port required by the program. Some schools and corporations have a hardware firewall that will block almost all outside Internet traffic, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many of these solutions to work.
- Static IP vs. dynamic IP - Many of the programs require you to specify the IP address of your computer. If you do not have a static IP address, the address changes each time you connect to the Internet.
- Modem vs. always on connection - If you connect to the Internet using a dial-up modem instead of broadband, you must keep your modem connected to the computer.
- Plug-ins and additional software - Many of the online services that allow remote connections to another computer over a browser require a plug-in to be installed in the browser or a third-party program be installed. Some work and school computers may prohibit you from doing this.
- Computer must be on - Finally, the computer you want to connect to must remain powered on, or the remote connection will fail.
- See our remote access definition for further information and related links.
- Computer network card and network help and support.