Image: Olezzo, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

To access another PC remotely, you can turn to a number of different apps and services, including LogMeIn, TeamViewer, GotoMyPC, and Microsoft’s own Remote Desktop Connection. Another program worth considering is AnyDesk. Free for personal use and available for a monthly subscription price for business use, AnyDesk lets you quickly connect to any remote device running the program. You can require a response from the remote PC or set a password for unattended access. You can connect from a mobile device to a PC. You can also work with a whiteboard, transfer files, and print remotely.

SEE: Life after lockdown: Your office job will never be the same–here’s what to expect (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

AnyDesk is available for a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS/iPadOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Raspberry PI, and Chrome OS. You can try the free version first to evaluate the program, though this edition is designed only for personal use. Offering a greater array of features, the paid editions include a Lite plan for $10.99 per month, a Professional plan for $20.99 per month, and a Power plan for $52.49 per month.

Download AnyDesk from its website on both your remote and guest computers or devices. By default, AnyDesk runs in portable mode, which means no installation is required; just double-click the downloaded AnyDesk.exe file to launch the program. If you wish to remotely access a PC within your organization, you’ll likely first need to establish a secure connection through a VPN or Remote Access Gateway.

Make sure AnyDesk is running on both the remote and guest devices. On the remote device, look for the address listed in the pane for This Desk. On the guest PC, enter that address in the pane for Remote Desk and click Connect (Figure A).

Figure A

On the remote PC, a window appears asking you to accept the remote session request. Click the Accept button (Figure B).

Figure B

The guest PC is now connected to the remote machine. Certain options are turned on by default, including allowing the guest PC to take control, allowing use of the clipboard, allowing use of the OS’s file manager, allowing audio, allowing the desktop to be locked, allowing a video recording of the session, and allowing drawing on the screen. Any of these options can be disabled or re-enabled but only on the remote side (Figure C).

Figure C

Otherwise, you can now fully access all of the apps, services, and files on the remote PC. The top toolbar offers icons for all the major AnyDesk features (Figure D).

Figure D

  • Click the Files icon to transfer files from the guest PC to the remote computer, or vice versa.
  • Click the Chat icon to chat with someone at the remote PC.
  • Click the Actions icon to perform certain actions, such as sending a Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence, taking a screenshot, or restarting the remote computer.
  • Click the Keyboard settings icon to change the keyboard layout.
  • Click the Display settings icon to change the screen mode and quality.
  • Click the Permissions icon to enable or disable certain permissions.
  • Click the Whiteboard icon to draw lines, circles, and other objects on the screen.
  • Click the Start session recording button to record the remote session.
  • Close the top tab for the remote computer to disconnect.

If no one will be at the remote PC to accept the connection, you can set a password for unattended access. At the remote computer, click the pane for Set password for unattended access. At the Security section under Settings, check the box to Enable unattended access. Create and then confirm the password and click Apply (Figure E). Then try to connect from the guest PC. Enter the password to gain access.

Figure E

Back at the remote PC, review the other options in Settings. Check the ones for User Interface, Display, Audio, Connection, File Transfer, Recording, Printer, and Wake-On-LAN. But pay special attention to the options under Security and Privacy to make sure the remote connections are as secure as possible without obstructing your ability to fully work on the remote machine (Figure F)

Figure F

Finally, you can install the full version of AnyDesk either on the remote or guest machine. The main reason would be to check all the features available in the paid versions. At the main AnyDesk window, click the link to Install AnyDesk on this computer. At the next screen, click the button to Accept & Install. At the Welcome screen, click the button to Test professional features now. You can now sign up for a 14-day trial license through which you can explore all the advanced paid features.

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays