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This is how you can control your desktop remotely

Or just help solve someone else’s PC/Mac problem without having to leave your own.

"No, no, go to settings. It's the cog icon at the top right-hand corner. No, that's your profile ... never mind."
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

SOMETIMES YOU MAY be asked to solve a problem on someone’s PC/Mac, or vice versa. Sometimes they can be straightforward, but if it’s something more complex, then giving instructions over the phone can range from annoying to incredibly frustrating.

If it’s the latter, there is a way to get around that. If you’re a Chrome user, you can use Remote Desktop to access another computer while you’re away. Available as a plugin, it allows you to either access a computer remotely or mirror a screen useful if you’re trying to help someone on their PC/Mac.

Before that, there are two caveats you need to know. The first is you need your computer to be on for it to work – meaning it can’t be asleep – while the other is you will need a reliable connection for this to work.

This is more useful if you’re away from the office for a bit and need to access some files if your PC/Mac is still on, or if someone needs your help with something but you’re away.

(If you’re worried about security, all connections are encrypted, and none of your session data is recorded or transmitted.)

Remote connection

To begin, you have to install Chrome Remote Desktop, a plugin for your browser. The installation part is straightforward, but you will need to do this for both computers. When that’s finished, you will be asked to authorise both computers using a special code.

How you access them is done in two forms. The first is sharing your PC/Mac with someone else so they can see and control it. This is handy if you need someone’s help with a problem. The other option is to access and control a shared computer.

Chrome capture image

As mentioned earlier, the computer you’re accessing needs to be turned on, and connected to the internet.

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If you’re accessing a shared computer that you own, it needs to be using the same Google account, but if you’re sharing yours with someone else, they will need to input a special code that’s generated then for it to work.

The other thing to note is if someone is walking past your computer, they will see you performing said actions remotely. If you don’t want this to happen, you can do so by changing your network settings using Curtain Mode which prevents anyone from seeing what you’re doing.

The situations you may need it might be few and far between, but if you’re regularly troubleshooting someone’s PC problems over the phone, it could be a lifesaver.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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