It may happen that you need to urgently to check something on a remote computer, and there’s no time to get back home, or to the office – or maybe someone needs urgent help with a problem. Being able to “see” and access files on a remote computer is crucial, and if you don’t have your computer, being able to remote-control a PC from Android can save the day.
In this tutorial, we are going to show you two different and free programs that will let you control PCs remotely.
Tool #1: Use TeamViewer To Control a PC
This is the easiest option to control any PC and doesn’t require any kind of complex settings to go through. TeamViewer sends the screen video stream of a PC to another device (PC or phone), and the controller device can view and control the host PC in real time.
As the screen of a PC is shared, this method might not provide smooth performance. But if you don’t mind a responsiveness hit, then this is the best option with the least amount of set up.
To get started, download and install the TeamViewer app on your Android phone and the desktop client on the PC you want to control. Yes, the tool requires prior setup before using, so it might not be an answer to your problem if you are already away from the PC without the program installed on it.
The password provided by TeamViewer changes with almost every connection, this is handy when you need to give access to someone else to control you PC without compromising your password.
However, it is not a good option when you need to control your own PC when you are away. If your intention is to control your own PC when you will be away, then setting up a static password is very important.
Once both applications are installed, open the desktop client and you will see an option to add a personal (static) password located at the bottom left corner of the window. Click on it and provide a specific password that you will use to connect to your PC (an easy to follow Wizard will help).
Save or memorize “Your ID” provided in the TeamViewer desktop client and always remember the password you provided.
Now, open the TeamViewer android app and in the interface enter the ID provided on the desktop client. After that, you will be asked to provide a password, just enter the specified password and you will connect automatically.
You will see the screen of your PC on your android phone and all the tools will be provided to control your PC remotely.
Note: For this to work, you need to make sure the TeamViewer client is open on your PC before you go away (after rebooting, it will automatically restart in the background). The connection will not be made if it is turned off. The PC must also be connected to a Internet connection for it to work.
Tip: TeamViewer also provides ability to share files between PC and Android while connected. If you may require to exchange any files, you can easily do so right from the TeamViewer Android app.
Tool #2: Use Microsoft Remote Desktop to Control a PC
If you don’t want to run two separate applications to control your PC, then Microsoft Remote Desktop is a good option. Remote Desktop and the Microsoft’s RDP protocol are not meant for “sharing” a screen between two users. Instead, it will log-out the user from the computer, and initiate a private session for the remote device. The computer screen will go black.
Using this tool, you will control the PC as a sole user, the physical PC display will black-out and your activities via phone will not been seen by a person who may look at your computer’s screen at home.
Microsoft’s RDP protocol doesn’t stream a video of your PC screen. Instead, it sends Windows Interface primitive commands that the controller can use to re-render the exact same screen. This is much faster because the commands are tiny (in size) when compared to a video stream.
With RDP, the control is smoother than TeamViewer and doesn’t require any separate application running on your PC.
However, The setup process is more difficult as compared to TeamViewer (because of the network settings), but once you are done, it is actually quite simple to control your PC anytime you want.
Note: This option is only available in Professional and Enterprise version of the Windows. Home and standard versions of Windows don’t support Microsoft Remote Desktop app.
Enable Remote Connection on PC
To use Microsoft Remote Desktop you will first have to allow remote connection on the host PC. For this purpose, right click on “My Computer” and select “Properties” from the context menu.
In Properties, click on “Advanced system settings” in the left panel.
Here, navigate to the “Remote” tab and select the second “Allow Connection” option under the heading “Remote Desktop”. Now, just click on “OK” and your settings will be saved.
Note: If you are going to control the PC from a phone that is not connected to the same network, then you will also have to setup port forwarding (to port 3389) on the PC and use a Static IP address.
You can refer to this extensive guide on Port Forwarding to setup port forwarding on your PC. To get a static IP address you will have to tweak some PC network settings, you can refer to this guide to tweak the settings.
Using Microsoft Remote Desktop
Download Microsoft Remote Desktop on your Android phone and launch the Application. Click on the “+” icon on right to create a new connection.
Under “PC name” enter your PC name or local IP address (can be found in network settings of your PC) if both your PC and phone are on a same network. Otherwise, enter the port forwarding address, that would be “Your IP address:3389” (where 3389 is the port). Now, click on “Save” and your PC will be registered and displayed in main interface.
Click on the registered PC and you will be asked to provide PC login details and password (username and password).
Once you will provide these details, your phone should automatically connect and you should be logged in your PC.
If you can’t seem to get it right or port forwarding process is confusing you, let us know in the comments below and we would love to help.