15 Best Remote Desktop Software and Access Tools (2021)
Today, modern technology makes it possible to work independently of your location.
Team members easily collaborate and conduct meetings across the world remotely with just a computer, webcam, and some video conferencing software.
And surprisingly, this work from home culture makes everyone more productive and helps provide better results.
Over 86% of employees say they’re more productive when they work from home.
However, to do a work from home job, you might need access to a computer in another location. And this is where remote desktop software comes into play.
These platforms enable you to manage your work, collaborate with your team, monitor your work, and more. They also help you deliver efficient customer support to users from any part of the world.
To help you pick the best possible option, I put together a list of some of the best remote desktop tools and reviewed them based on ease of use, pricing, third-party integrations, and more.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Here are my top picks for the best remote desktop software to use this year.
GoToMyPC provides remote access and allows you to work from home instantly. It provides easy installation without restarting the computer. Moreover, it connects to the virtual machine within seconds and offers high-quality real-time-in-session performance.
With reliable security and 128-bit AES encryption, it’s a capable option for professionals who need to work from home regularly. rea
- Sound: Hear voicemail or music on the machine you are accessing the virtual computer.
- Multi-Monitor Support: Renders full display of all the monitors connected with the computer.
- Privacy: Easily make the screen black or lock the remote keyboard to ensure absolute privacy on your machine.
- Usage Report: Keep track of all the sessions with crucial details like time, origin, duration of the connection, and type.
- It comes with mouse share capability to enhance the engagement
- Offers the log of online users and their timing
- Validates and verifies all the data and files that pass through the user’s account
- Offers affordable pricing
- You can easily transfer files through its intuitive drag and drop feature
- Renders two-way interaction with the connected machine
- Reliably syncs all the data between laptop and desktop
Its Personal and Pro plans cost $35 and $66 per month, respectively. Corporate plans start at $140 per month.
Get started with GoToMyPC and take 20% off.
AnyDesk is one of the most popular remote desktop platforms, used by over 100 million users globally. DeskRT is the codec that forms the foundation of AnyDesk, providing it with low latency. Other features include high frame rates, real-time collaboration, encryption technology, and more.
It’s a reliable solution for IT professionals who are mostly working from remote locations with a slower internet connection.
- Own Network: Easily set up your Enterprise Network to take total control of your data and transmit it through end-to-end encryption.
- Highly Customization: Easily customize the user interface to make it align with your branding guidelines.
- Lightweight: Easily download a light file and install it on the machine with no lags and disruptions.
- Bank-Grade Security: Leverages banking-standard TLS 1.2 technology to ensure absolute protection of your computer.
- Capable of working smoothly on lower bandwidth up to 100kbps
- Offers 60 fps for a flexible experience on local or any other network
- Provides whitelist trusted machines to control access to your computer
- It verifies every connection through RSA 2048 asymmetric key exchange encryption
- You can run it on any platform, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, FreeBSD, iOS, or Android
- It offers absolute compatibility with older versions like Windows 7
- It’s available in over 28 languages
- Allows you to transfer files easily and securely through copy and paste feature
- You can reboot the machine from a remote location
- Easily manage contacts with built-in address book
- Comes with a free trial
- The software suffers from stability issues at low bandwidths
- The mobile app isn’t as capable as the desktop website
The paid plans start from about $11 per month and range up to $52.99 per month. For personal use, you can download it for free.
LogMeIn is one of the most capable names of the remote desktop software ecosystem. It comes with unique features like advanced configuration options for business users. Moreover, you get plenty of reliable capabilities, including remote monitoring, remote deployment, endpoint management, and more.
It is suited for large businesses as its paid plans are not feasible for small businesses or individuals.
- System Admin Tools: Easily implement business policies and control crucial aspects of the host machine in your native environment.
- File Transfer: Leverage drag and drop to instantly transfer files securely.
- Powerful Mobile App: Its iOS and Android application offer an intuitive and immersive user experience.
- Unlimited Remote Access: Offers unlimited access from any device.
- It comes bundled with 1 TB of cloud storage and LastPass premium subscription to secure passwords in a safe vault
- You can gain remote access the unlimited number of users
- Enables you to print documents through a remote machine on the nearest printer available
- Achieve faster and smoother access to the remote machine
- Get access to multiple remote monitors in 1:1
- Easily control multiple aspects of the host behavior in your native environment
- Allows you to gain access from both Windows and Mac
- Provides capable Android and iOS mobile apps
- You can gain access to all the stored files for easy collaboration
- Provides whiteboard features for drawing on the screen
- It’s an expensive tool
- Offers a lot of sophisticated features that are redundant for the majority of users
Its pricing plans start from $30 to $129 per month billed annually.
Parallels is another great remote desktop platform on this list. It provides flexibility and lets you work from any remote location you want. Moreover, it helps businesses keep their data secure through monitoring, centralizing, and restricting access to business-critical assets while reducing the cost of ownership. It is also capable of easily scaling up the IT infrastructure on-demand to meet abrupt market requirements.
It is a capable remote access software for businesses that are witnessing brisk growth and need to scale up IT infrastructure in real-time.
- Seamless UX: It offers an immersive user experience on Android, iOS, and HTML5 browsers.
- Task Automation: Maximize resource utilization through automation of common, repetitive, and even complex tasks by leveraging PowerShell cmdlets and REST-API.
- Advanced Access Control: Enforce business policies based on user groups and end user’s device types to ensure the security of corporate data.
- Multitasking: It allows multiple applications to operate along with the storage of different files. Users can easily switch between different files and applications through native gestures.
- Parallels’ app runs smoothly even on older machines
- Leverage copy and paste functionality to easily transfer files virtual and the host machine
- Allows you to launch applications from OS X Taskbar easily
- You can instantly switch between virtual and host desktop through a swipe gesture
- Coherence mode ensures smoother operation of applications
- Offers tech support for all popular operating systems
- Its Snapshots feature ensures taking images of Windows VM daily
- Enables you to secure USB device compatibility
- No support solutions for multimedia and gaming
Its one-year subscription plan costs around $100 for a year.
Splashtop Business Access remote desktop software is an affordable solution for people looking for a reliable and efficient tool. It offers a simple, fast, and secure remote access to machines without any complications.
It’s an option worth considering for businesses looking for an affordable and reliable remote desktop solution.
- Multi-to-Multi Monitor: This feature allows you to view multiple screens from a monitor or multiple monitors.
- Two Users on One Machine: It allows two users to access the same machine remotely.
- User Management: You can allow access to specific machines, assign tasks to new users, and give permissions.
- Easy Deployment: Leverage your own deployment streamer for hassle-free deployments.
- Its cloud computing environment is highly secure through data encryption, firewalls, and DDoS mitigation
- Comes with a clock defense and intrusion detection mechanism to enforce strong security
- Offers faster connect, HD quality, and rich sound
- Get unlimited access from any computer, including Linux, Windows, and Mac, along with iOS and Android mobile devices
- Print files from the remote computer on your nearest printer
- Easily drag and drop to transfer files
- Ensure faster deployment by creating your personal deployment streamer
- Empower the entire team to leverage remote access easily
- Reboot remotely from the web console or Splashtop app
- Two users can gain access to the machine at the same time
- Easily enable screen recording
- To enable multiple user access, you need to have multiple accounts
- The wake-up option is not reliable on the desktop option
- Some users noticed minimal lags
Its paid plans start from around $5 per user per month and go up to $8.25 per user per month. You also get a free trial to check out the features before making a final purchase.
6. Zoho Assist.
Zoho Assist is a cloud-based platform suitable to deliver IT and customer support. It allows an on-demand connection without the installation of software through the direct email invitation. Moreover, it enables users to quickly set up remote access inside and outside the LAN for both Windows and Mac.
Zoho Assist is best for businesses that want to deliver remote customer support.
- On-Demand Support: Easily resolve customer issues by ad-hoc or on-demand sessions from a remote location without any prior installation.
- File Transfer: It enables file transfer even in the middle of a live session to share updates, security patches, or any file to the remote machine.
- Schedule Sessions: Schedule remote sessions at any preferred time across various time zones.
- Bulk Deployment: Easily deploy unattended access installer to a large number of remote machines instantly.
- You can install and set it up pretty easily
- Offers a freemium plan for essential features
- Efficient costing structure based on per seat system
- Offers a desktop app for Windows, Mac, and Linux, along with a Chrome extension
- Mobile app for iOS and Android are also available
- Easily ensure mass deployment of unattended remote access
- Ensures file transfer with end-to-end SSL 256-bit AES encryption
- Allows you to connect with customers through video and voice chats
- You can gain access to any number of monitors connected to the remote machine
- Enables you to reconnect to the last session without losing control of the machine
- Unattended Access and Remote Support features are a bit confusing
- Limited to basic features
It offers a 15 days free trial without any credit card. Monthly paid plans start from around $7 to $12.
ConnectWise Control offers two options, including control and support. The software comes equipped with remote control and unattended access capabilities to enhance efficiency and cut additional costs.
It is good for small scale or mid-sized businesses that are looking for powerful remote access software. If you require a wide range of third-party extensions, then also it’s a great option.
- Flexible Plans: It offers multiple plans to ensure every user is able to meet business requirements through a single tool.
- No Footprint: Eliminate remote support client from the remote computer after the completion of every session.
- Brute Force Attack: Prevent the entry of potential hackers automatically by locking them in the event of repeated wrong password entries.
- Server Level Auditing: Easily store recordings and audit logs of every remote session for audit purposes.
- Offers a wide range of flexible integrations, including Slack, ServiceNow, Outlook, Zopim, ITBoost, Naverisk, Passportal, and Zendesk, among others
- Provides powerful security options
- It’s easy to deploy and set up
- It’s capable of working on desktop computers, servers, virtual machines (VM), and virtual private servers (VPS)
- Renders a highly synchronized remote screen to ensure efficient remote operations
- Users can easily access more than one sessions to control and interact with multiple computers and users
- Its ‘Wake’ feature works with the WOL (Wake-On-LAN) feature to allow the machine function in any remote location
- Offers a clean and easy to use UI
- Its remote screen is scalable and can have a resolution greater than the screen of the original machine for better viewing
- The subscription is costlier than other available options
- Some features are complex to understand at first glance
It offers a 14 days free trial. After that, it provides a quote-based pricing structure on request.
RemotePC is a cloud-based remote desktop software that offers a secured connection with AES-256 encryption. Moreover, its drag and drop feature allows you to efficiently execute the tasks even if you are a beginner and have no technical knowledge.
It’s best for both individuals and small businesses
- Unlimited User License: Offers unlimited users to access the system with unlimited computers.
- Create Groups: Make groups of users and quickly move them from one group to another.
- Blank Host Screen: This function blanks out the screen of a remote machine to enable absolute privacy during the live session.
- Draw on the remote screen: Ensure efficient collaboration by drawing on the remote screen – a perfect feature for architects, designers, and artists.
- Allows you to add extra users through secure access ID and key
- You can leverage its alternative helpdesk to deliver direct user support
- Easily configure and use all features through its web applications
- It’s scalable enough to handle multiple computers efficiently
- Allows you to transfer files or print remotely through its intuitive drag and drop feature
- Receive and send chat pings between computers
- You can also play and listen to audio files from remote machines
- Enables you to draw on the remote screen for efficient collaboration
- Record remote sessions and save them at the location of your choice
- Meets all the regulatory compliance
- Unable to display multiple monitors in the same window
- You might face minimal lags at a few points in the software
It offers four paid plans, starting from about $22 to all the way up to $374.
TeamViewer is one of the most popular remote desktop platforms in the world, with over 2 billion active users. It offers support for a massive number of platforms and provides the capability to access a PC from a Samsung smartphone remotely.
TeamViewer is best for large enterprises that need to focus on security and can’t compromise on the quality of service.
- IoT Device Control: Control internet-enabled devices and monitor them from any part of the world.
- Device-Agnostic Connectivity: It’s a reliable feature for businesses that have BYOD (Bring your own device) culture or CYOD (choose your own device) policy.
- Augmented Reality Remote Guidance: Leverage AR tools to gain access to the remote camera of smartphones to have a closer look at devices.
- Non-Profit Pricing: It offers non-profit pricing for non-profit organizations and businesses to help them sustain.
- It offers a free version for individuals, which allows you to test the software thoroughly before committing for an enterprise plan
- It provides support for Samsung’s DeX technology to enable remote access of PC through Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Offers support for 4K desktops
- Comes with a VPN alternative and reliable file sharing feature with mid transfer file access
- Get unified experience through centralized management and remote monitoring
- Instantly connect, operate, and monitor IoT devices and machines
- Leverage smartphone-enabled remote support for round the clock customer services
- Comes with GPU to enable hardware-accelerated processing of images
- The mobile version of the software is not user friendly
- One of the costlier options in the market
It offers a free version for individuals with basic requirements. Paid plans start from $58 to $219 per month.
Remote Utilities for Windows is one of the most capable remote access tools available for free. It comes with a lot of premium features that you would only get in a paid tool.
It is best for individuals and small businesses who are looking for affordable yet capable remote access software.
- Active Directory Support: Allows easy integration of Remote Utilities into the active directory environment.
- MSI Configuration: Its inbuilt MSI Configurator efficiently creates a custom Host installer for efficient deployment through the network.
- Self-hosted Server: Easily create an end-to-end autonomous solution to provide reliable and robust support to clients.
- RDP Integration: Easily manage saved RDP sessions to connect with remote computers through RDP protocol on the internet.
- It allows simultaneous connection with up to 10 computers
- It comes in two parts, namely Host and Viewers, installed on remote and home device respectively
- Offers an iOS and Android application to deliver remote access on mobile devices
- You can also use the software without installing it on the PC
- Control User Access Control (UAC) prompts remotely
- You can connect it with a proxy server to connect to configure remote utilities easily
- Enables you to connect with peers through a single PC
- Comes with a separate installer
- Requires incredibly fast internet speed to work smoothly
Available for free.
Remote Desktop Manager is an excellent tool for both individuals and business enterprises. It offers a secure and stable service to control computers remotely. Moreover, it comes bundled with a broad set of capable features and can be set up quickly for instant use.
It is one of the most suitable tools for medium and large businesses to run reliable operations.
- Account Brokering: Allows you to add broker credentials to prevent the user from knowing actual credentials during the login process.
- Console: Its highly capable virtualized consoles include Terminal Server, Hyper-V, and Xen Server ensure a quick overview of the machine condition.
- Activity Log: Record every step taken by the user and monitor all live sessions in real-time.
- Automatically Launch Connections: Launch secure and reliable connections through direct connections.
- It offers a simple user interface that is easy to navigate
- It comes integrated with multiple protocols, VPNs, and technologies
- Powered with an inbuilt enterprise-grade tool for password management
- It offers a site license for big businesses to manage a large number of machines
- Individual users can leverage the free edition with limited features
- Allows you to share admin password throughout the organization easily
- You can know user information in real-time
- Manage sessions, passwords, machines, and servers through high-quality mobile applications
- Launch and access sessions in offline mode
- Monitor sessions of all users through the activity log
- Manage business-critical data, a high number of entries, and sensitive documents through multiple vaults
- Offers a 30-day free trial
- Sometimes its performance gets a bit slow
- Site-level subscription is costly
The single-user subscription costs $199 per year, and a single site plan costs $4,999 per year.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a cloud-based solution that offers all the essential features required to control a desktop remotely. On top of that, you can use this free remote desktop solution from either desktop or mobile devices.
It is best for individuals who want a free and simple solution to access their system remotely.
- Attractive Features: It’s reliable and offers simple features, including password management, shared database & vaults, role-based access control system, and more.
- Multiple Users Login: Allow other users to log in to the remote machine.
- Quick Setup: You just need to have a Chrome browser and Google account to use the software.
- Entirely Free: One of the most reliable solutions in the market that is available free of cost.
- You can create a PIN to enable another user to log in through different machines
- Offers a user-friendly and capable interface
- Provides a desktop app to deliver more intuitive experience through keyboard shortcuts and lesser space for the browser toolbar
- It also provides powerful Android and iOS applications to ensure remote access of machines through smartphones
- Comes with the reliability and security of Google, including access with the Google Chrome browser
- Works with Apple and Android devices
- Works only with the Chrome browser
- You need to have a Google account to access this tool
- Offers limited features that may look inefficient for a business
Available for free.
RescueAssist offers secure and reliable solutions for both agents and end-users alike. Moreover, it offers faster and smoother remote access experience to help you stay connected with employees and customers all the time.
It’s a balanced solution that is capable of catering to the needs of both individuals and small businesses
- Annotation Tools: It ensures easier collaboration through drawing, pointing, and highlighting on the remote machine.
- Unlimited Live End-User Support: Get unlimited live support and easily transition from a chat or call to online support.
- Web Console: Easily start a remote session by merely installing a plugin in your web browser.
- Session Reporting: Get detailed information about all sessions, including customer name, session duration, and notes through interactive reports.
- Securely take control of the keyboard and mouse of remote machines
- Receive and send files in an unattended or live support session
- It can host up to 8 sessions simultaneously
- Allows you to leverage immersive annotation tools to highlight, draw, and point to items on the screen
- Efficiently access machine information, including hardware, software, and data to fix issues
- Two-way screen share allows both the parties to share their screens
- You can instantly transfer the remote session to another team member
- Record and download session videos
- Allows you to add the second level of security pretty easily
- Leverage Single Sign-On (SSO) to efficiently manage a large number of users
- Supports remote access on iOS devices
- Provides a 7-day free trial
- Recordings are available in the cloud for only 90 days
- Support is available only for iOS 11 or later version
It offers a single subscription plan at $55 billed annually.
14. VNC Connect.
VNC Connect is an easy to use and secure remote desktop solution. It offers highly customized plans to meet the budget and business requirements of different users.
The cost-efficient and flexible solution offers a plan for every requirement, whether you’re an individual or run a large company.
- Flexible Session Permission: Easily manage session permission of multiple computers online.
- End-to-End Encryption: Comes with 128-bit AES security to protect all the sessions. It also provides 256-bit AES security for Enterprise sessions.
- Linux Support: Easily facilitate visual remote access to headless systems and independent machines for a large number of users.
- Flexible Deployment: Allows you to deploy, configure, and license easily. VNC Viewer is available free of cost for all the users globally.
- The user interface is highly responsive and intuitive to use
- You can deploy it very easily
- Comes powered with 256-bit AES session encryption and multi-factor authentication for robust security
- Different pricing plans ensure that you only pay for the features that you need
- Offers a free guide on remote working essentials for a beginner
- No audio support between the two machines
- The viewfinder is not stable
- Needs to provide more configuration options
The paid plans start from $40 per month and range up to $400 per month billed annually.
15. Goverlan Reach.
Goverlan Reach offers a secure and reliable solution to gain remote access to computing machines. If you’re looking for a capable software to deliver efficient support remotely, then you might want to try out Goverlan Reach. It provides impressive features, such as remote IT support, IT process automation, active directory management, and more.
It is best for mid-sized businesses looking to provide support through a remote location.
- Scalable: It’s efficient and highly scalable with its “pay as you grow” subscription plans.
- Real-Time Information: Its real-time query engine, along with fail-over database back-end, pulls out live data before historical data in the event of system unavailability.
- Monitor System Health and Resource Consumption: Monitor systems in real-time and identify system health issues to enable preventive maintenance.
- Machine Identity: Easily manage domain memberships and machine names online.
- It offers on-premises credential manager, on-premises enterprise-class solution, and centralized auditing
- Allows you to manage your IT environment through features like shadowing Citrix and Terminal Services sessions, on-demand remote access, and performance monitoring
- You can leverage multiple user options to resolve issues of customers quickly
- Get centralized control of operator actions and client configuration
- Ensure centralized auditing of each action taken by the operator
- Its flexible subscription license allows you to pay as you expand
- Easily install and start using its robust features
- Requires minimal hardware infrastructure
- When multiple agents are online on different versions, it asks to remove the agent on the older version and forces to install the latest version
- Offers limited support for server-side technologies
Its paid subscription plans start from $29 per month and go up to $129 per month billed annually.
Other tools not yet reviewed for this list include Dameware Remote Support and RealVNC.
Remote desktop software leverages Virtual Network Computing (VNC) to enable one computer to gain remote access and control of another computer located at a different location through LAN or internet connection.
It uses a client-server model to connect with the remote computer and control it remotely.
Here’s how it works:
Server: It’s the remote machine or remote device
Client: The local device that is used to gain control to the server
The client monitor displays the user interface of the server. It enables the user to control the remote machine through mouse and keyboard inputs. The inputs are then executed in the remote machine’s environment, and the UI keeps getting updated in the client display in real-time.
You can leverage these remote desktop tools for a variety of reasons, including:
- Troubleshooting – IT admins always use remote access software to troubleshoot problems on machines of employees.
- Work From Home – People who need to connect to their work environment leverage remote desktop solutions.
- Help Desk – Technical support and help desk software often use remote desktop tools to resolve issues at the client-side.
- Personal Use – Use your personal computer while you are on the move to gain access to your documents and files.
The advent of technology gave rise to concepts like remote desktops. Here are simple ways to access your home computer as if you were physically there.
You can choose a same-platform connection or a cross-platform one.
For Windows 10 and above, follow the simple steps:
- Go to the device you want to connect to
- Start > settings > system > remote desktop > enable remote desktop
- Note the name
- Go to local Windows system
- Remote desktop connection > type name of the PC you will connect to > Connect
It’s probably the simplest!
Here are the steps:
- In Windows PC, turn on ‘remote connections’
- Open system properties and click ‘remote tab’
- Enable ‘Allow remote connections to the computer’
- Install the Microsoft Remote Desktop client app on Mac
- You’ll see something like this when you try to connect
Finally, click “Continue.”
In this case, it isn’t possible to use remote desktops. Thankfully, you can use remote desktop tools in such cases.
Here are the steps:
Go to the Mac device and open ‘sharing’ from the preference panel. Next, select ‘screen sharing’ and then click on ‘Computer Settings’
After that, make sure you select the below box and enter a simple password.
Now, install any of the remote desktop tools. There, enter the IP address of the Mac device and then return to your connection and enter the password created earlier.
Finally, click ‘connect.’
You can also connect two Mac devices. In most cases, you can remotely access a desktop from devices like smartphones and tablets as well.
While choosing a remote desktop, you should know exactly what you’re looking for. Since requirements vary according to the needs and aims of any business, you need to decide what’s important for you.
Here are some of the features that you are likely to need:
Many businesses need to cater to multiple clients at once. In those cases, multi-window desktop controls come in handy. That’s why it’s essential to have a remote desktop tool that provides multi-window control.
You might need to relay information in real-time, making chat systems a great addition to remote desktops. It helps you get your point across in a few seconds, and also effectively communicate without needing emails or telephones. It also results in better customer engagement and boosts business in the long-run.
The remote desktop should be able to reboot & reconnect every time. This is an absolute must-have, especially in times of technical support.
The multi-monitor navigation feature allows you to access multiple monitors at the same time. It also allows you to flip through any number of screens.
There’s no guarantee that the two screens you use while on a remote desktop will have the same size. That’s where you need scalability. It’s essential to be able to adjust the screen as per your preference, irrespective of the relative screen sizes, so that you can work flawlessly.
In many businesses where performance is linked to pay, measuring your KPIs and metrics become essential. With the reporting feature, you can measure performance in real-time and keep track of your performance.
You may find the need to transfer files to install a new program, replace an existing one, or copy scripts and commands. With this feature, you can eliminate the need for third-party apps while taking care of your clients.
You might also want to look out for other features like clipboard transfer, restarting in safe mode, two-way desktop sharing, branding, and more.
That’s a wrap. This guide covered the top 15 remote desktop tools to try this year. These tools will help you collaborate with your team from any location in real-time and, at the same time, help you provide customer support to your clients.
However, before making the final purchase, make sure to consider your budget, business requirements, ease of use, and more. To strike a delicate balance between cost, features, and your needs, read all the features carefully and compare them against their subscription price. It will help you figure out an option that gives you the best bang for your buck.
For instance, if you are a freelancer, then I would recommend you to go for something like Remote Utilities for Windows, which is available for free.
And if you are looking for a solution that offers powerful features and has a proven track record of servicing large enterprises, then you might want to consider options like TeamViewer, AnyDesk, Zoho Assist, and more.
Further Reading on AdamEnfroy.com: If you’re looking for other remote tools, check out my reviews of the best webinar software for online conferencing and my picks for the best data recovery software to use this year.