A Full Review of UltraVNC, a Free Remote Access/Desktop Program

UltraVNC is free remote access software for Windows. A majority of the settings can be fine tuned, making it perfect for advanced users wanting a remote desktop solution.

Transferring files and starting chat conversations are a couple of its basic features.

Keep reading to see our review of UltraVNC. We've also included the pros and cons of the program as well as a brief look at how it works.

This review is of UltraVNC version, released on April 16, 2023. Please let us know if there's a newer version we need to review.

More About UltraVNC

UltraVNC with Google loaded onto remote computer
  • Windows 7 is the minimum OS, so it also runs on Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8
  • Unattended access can be set up to always have access to the UltraVNC server
  • Router changes are required on the server's network to allow incoming connections from the client
  • Connection shortcut files can be made for quick access to a remote computer
  • A static IP address must be configured for unattended access
  • File transfer is supported in both the client software and through a browser

UltraVNC Pros & Cons

While it might not be ideal for basic users, that doesn't mean it's not a tool worth considering:

What We Like
  • Text chat and file transfer.

  • Automatic clipboard synchronization

  • Can connect over a browser

  • Send custom keyboard commands

  • Can connect to a remote PC that's in Safe Mode

What We Don't Like
  • Router port forwarding is required on the server

  • Not designed for spontaneous support

  • Remote printing isn't supported

  • No Wake-on-LAN (WOL) option

How UltraVNC Works

This program uses a client/server connection like all the other remote access programs out there. UltraVNC Server is installed on the client computer and UltraVNC Viewer is installed on the host.

A strong difference with this tool is that to allow the server to accept incoming connections, port forwarding needs to be configured. For port forwarding to be configured, you also need to set up a static IP address for the server. 

Once the proper prerequisites are completed, the client must enter the server's IP address in the viewer program followed by the proper port number configured by the server.

Thoughts on UltraVNC

UltraVNC is a great program to use if you're wanting to always have access to your home computer. Once everything is configured, you can easily make repeated connection back to your PC to open programs or transfer files.

We don't recommend using it for remote support, but instead just remote access. Although they normally mean the same, what we mean here is that if you're needing to connect to a remote PC to provide computer support, you'll be trying for hours to get this to work, especially considering remote support normally involves a host PC that is already having problems or is difficult to operate. The last thing you want is to try to remotely work in port forwarding changes!

However, again, if you want to set up your own computer for remote access, UltraVNC is a nice choice. You've got advanced settings like cursor tracking, view only mode, and custom encoding options, as well as a file transfer feature.

A hidden feature you may not notice at first is that if you right-click the connection window you're working in during a remote session, you can find many advanced options. For example, you can save the current session's information to a VNC file for later use. Then when you want to connect to that same computer again, just launch that shortcut file to quickly start the session. This is very useful if you use UltraVNC to connect to more than one computer.

We like that you can skip using the program and connect to the server through a browser. If you're on a computer that doesn't allow software installs, then using a web browser on the client PC can be helpful.

In short, UltraVNC isn't for the basic user. If you want to connect to your home computer when away, use a program like Chrome Remote Desktop or Remote Utilities.

The download page can be a little confusing. Select the download link above and then choose the most recent version. Then scroll down a little and choose the 32-bit or 64-bit installer version (x86 means 32-bit) that your computer requires (see Am I Running a 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Windows? if you're unsure). Finally, accept the conditions and choose Download

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