Top Internet Remote Access Software

These remote access software programs support connecting to a PC on your home network from outside. Remote access software allows you to retrieve personal data or assist family members with network problems when not physically at home.
Many different remote access software products exist, but not all are equally fast, reliable, and secure. The products listed below generally offer a good combination of features, performance, and security support.

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Top VNC Free Software

Man working on computer in small modern office
Erik Von Weber/Stone/Getty Images

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) technology enables sharing a copy of one computer's screen display with another computer over a network connection. Various VNC client and server packages exist, based on common network protocols, supporting different platforms.

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Symantec pcAnywhere

What We Like

  • Works on multiple platforms.

  • Allows multiple connections.

  • Encrypted connection.

  • Easy to user interface.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires fast network connection.

  • Lags at times.

pcAnywhere from Symantec has been a perennial leading remote access software solution. The product includes first-time connection wizards, bandwidth auto-detection, and other advanced features. pcAnywhere uses a client-server model meaning that remote access software must be installed on any computers either making or receiving remote connections.

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GoToMyPC

What We Like

  • Supports multiple monitors.

  • Browser based interface.

  • Works over LAN or internet.

What We Don't Like

  • Not available for Linux.

  • Timeout feature can be a nuisance.

  • Pricier than other solutions.

GoToMyPC is Web-based remote access software. Unlike other products in this space, GoToMyPC requires setup only of those computers needing to receive incoming remote access requests. After registering those computers, remote connections are initiated via your Web browser. GoToMyPC strives to be more firewall-friendly than other products through its use of Web protocols.

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LogMeIn Pro

What We Like

  • Cross platform.

  • Customizable idle time.

  • Works well with firewalls.

  • Fast and efficient.

What We Don't Like

  • Unreliable clipboard.

  • Pricier than most options.

While the once-popular LogMeIn Free service was terminated as of January 2014, Logmein.com continues offering its Pro subscription package. LogMeIn Pro supports desktop remote control, file transfer, and remote printing.

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Laplink Gold

What We Like

  • Supports direct, wired connections.

  • Includes folder sync feature.

  • Encrypted connections.

  • Very fast remote control.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires full install on both systems.

  • Not intuitive for novice users.

Laplink has sold its Gold remote access product for many years used for file transfer and remote control with Windows PCs. Current versions support Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.