Remote desktop software can serve a variety of different purposes in a variety of different settings. This particular software allows you to view and use a remote desktop as if it were local. It has quite a few applications. If one of your friends or co-workers is having technical issues, then you can just take over their desktop and fix it yourself. If your computer at home has a certain file that you need, then you can access the file without having to go back home. To many people, remote desktop software is almost essential. So, with that in mind, what is some of the best remote desktop software out there in 2017? In this article, I will be reviewing some of the best remote desktop software that the world has to offer. Without further ado, let’s learn a little bit more about some of these nifty programs.
#1 – TeamViewer
TeamViewer is probably the leading remote desktop software currently available, and there is good reason behind that. It has been around for a very long time, and it has gone through many iterations. The most recent version of TeamViewer is TeamViewer 12, and it is packed with pretty much all of the features that you would ever need. TeamViewer is designed with convenience in mind, and in software, convenience and compatibility are joined at the hip. You can use this software pretty much regardless of your setup. It supports cross-platform connections between PC to PC, PC to mobile, mobile to PC, and even mobile to mobile. Not only that, but on a much finer level, TeamViewer is fine tuned to ensure that you get the best performance that you can get pretty much regardless of your system software or operating system. If you intend to use this software, you don’t need to worry about upgrading your hardware, really. What you have should be good enough.
Outside of that, TeamViewer has also recently put a great deal of focus on improving the security of their platform. The average desktop has some pretty sensitive data on it. Whether it’s something like a social security number or a password, I’m sure everyone has something on their desktop that they don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Last year, TeamViewer got some negative publicity due to security issues. A lot of people were hacked, and a lot of people were upset about it. With TeamViewer 12, the developers have implemented much more rigorous security measures, with RSA 2048 public/private key exchange, two factor authentication, and session-wide end to end encryption. If you’ve been keeping away from this software due to concerns related to security, then maybe you should take a second look at it. I think that they have made some very good improvements.
#2 – RealVNC
RealVNC is another big name remote desktop software, and it is popular in both professional and personal settings. One of the coolest parts about RealVNC, and why it has been such a large success in business, is that they have a very active staff. It can be daunting to roll out any software for use in a major company. Any IT department can tell you that. RealVNC has put a lot of time and resources into ensuring that, if you are a heavy user of this software, you have all of the support that you need to thrive with it. On their website, you can find countless different pamphlets, white papers, case studies, and product guides. All of these resources were made specifically for you. If you aren’t satisfied enough with that level of support, then you should also know that VNC has an actual support staff that is also dedicated to your service. Basically, this is a very user-friendly software, and that means a lot to some people.
The exact features that you can find in RealVNC partially depends upon what payment plan you use with the service. For instance, free users have access to all of the standard features, which include cloud connectivity, online account management, and VNC password authorization. If you’re a professional account (which costs $40 per year) then you can get all of those features along with others, like remote printing, file transfer, unlimited accounts, and secure chat. Finally, an enterprise account (which costs $55 per year) gets all of the aforementioned features along with stuff like direct connectivity, virtual graphical access, third-party VNC compatibility, centralized deployment, and single sign-on. These are all really cool features, in my opinion, and I think that breaking it up into these tiers make it a much more accessible software overall. You’re almost able to custom build your own experience with RealVNC, which is commendable.
#3 – UltraVNC
UltraVNC may not be quite as polished as some of the other remote desktop software that I’ve already talked about, but it still has quality where it counts. This software has been around for a good while, and there are people who would swear by this particular product. To start with, let’s talk compatibility. UltraVNC is compatible with a few other VNC programs, including RealVNC, TightVNC, and a few other -VNC software. You can’t always be in a situation where everyone uses the same remote desktop software, so it’s nice to have a software that is capable of “playing nice” with others. In some ways, it allows for some serious cost effectiveness. For instance, if you happen to merge two departments that use two different remote desktop softwares, then you don’t have to worry about dropping a lot of money in order to get everyone on the same page. This cross platform friendliness gives UltraVNC a big thumbs up in my book.
UltraVNC also has a very nifty file transfer feature. I mentioned RealVNC’s file transfer capabilities before, but I didn’t really go very deep into it. Through these features, users are able to easily transfer files to and from whichever desktop you are accessing remotely. Sure, you could be a little more primitive about it. You could access the file remotely and maybe send it to yourself in an email, or upload it to some kind of file hosting service. However, it’s obviously a lot more convenient to be able to just click a button and have that file sent over to you right away. UltraVNC’s file transfer allows you to transfer complete folders, which are compressed prior to transfer to ensure that you’re not wasting bandwidth. And of course, UltraVNC employs some very tight encryption to make sure that no one tries to interfere with your files while they’re moving around. All in all, this is a very simple and very effective remote desktop software that I don’t think you could go wrong with.
#4 – Chrome Remote Desktop
Google is known for creating top-tier, lightweight software. I guess it isn’t much of a surprise that they would have a remote desktop software. Compared to some of the other software on this list, I think that Chrome Remote Desktop is probably the easiest to use. In fact, I almost hesitate to really call it a software. It’s actually a Chrome extension. Basically, you install the extension and access the extension through your Chrome browser. The extension then gives you an access code, which you share with whoever you are trying to “link up” with. As soon as they enter the code, the connection has been established. It’s really so simple that I think a kid could do it. If you’re worried that simplicity may mean a lack of security, rest assured. Each connection that you form through Chrome Remote Desktop is fully secured, so you don’t have to worry about data hijackers spoiling your fun.
One of the more gimmicky hooks of Chrome Remote Desktop has to do with its compatibility with Google’s Chromebooks. If you’ve ever used a Chromebook before, then I’m sure that you’re completely aware of the limitations of the platform. You can’t really download anything on a Chromebook, which makes it more or less just a super powerful tablet with a keyboard. However, if you host a separate desktop through your Chromebook, then suddenly it’s a lot more like an actual computer. People will use Chrome Remote Desktop along with their Chromebook to play games, watch movies, use programs, and just generally increase the scope of their Chromebook’s ability. I admit that it’s a more niche use of this software, but it’s still a really cool niche use. Chrome Remote Desktop is pretty much the only software that allows you to do this with a Chromebook.
#5 – TightVNC
I briefly mentioned TightVNC earlier, and I think it more than deserves its own spot on this list of the best remote desktop software in 2017. TightVNC is a completely free software that is compatible with both Windows and Unix devices. Although I admit that TightVNC’s interface is much more intimidating than the interface of some of the other remote desktop software on here, this particular service has some incredibly deep customization features. Through their service configuration menu, you’re able to get into all different kinds of features that can majorly enhance your personal user experience. Someone who just intends to use TightVNC for personal uses may require different settings from someone who wants to use it for professional purposes, and you’re able to make those adjustments through their own settings.
It’s also worth noting that, despite the age of this software, it is still being actively developed and improved upon. Its most recent release, 2.8.5, just came out in October of last year. The brilliant team behind TightVNC has also spent time creating applications like Remote Ripple and TightProjector, which you can use in tandem with TightVNC. Remote Ripple is a VNC Viewer for Android, and TightProjector allows you to broadcast your Windows desktop to a local network. Basically, this software offers a very rich and very curated experiences as a remote desktop software. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is less familiar with this sort of software, but if you consider yourself tech-savvy, it’s a must have. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get over the hump, the sky’s the limit.