Imagine being able to start and stop video conversion, upload and download large files, or do anything else you need to do while away from your desktop. VNC, or virtual network computing, is a technology that allows you to access your computer from any internet-connected device in the world.
There are a number of VNC solutions that you can use across all platforms, even Linux and the iPhone. They cover the spectrum in terms of cost as well – some are free, some are a flat one-time purchase, and then some are a recurring monthly fee.
We’ve rounded up 10 rock-solid VNC solutions to help you escape your desk. All you need is an internet-ready device.
After downloading the client, GoToMyPC automatically launches, installs and configures itself, with no restart required. All data is protected with 128-bit AES encryption. You can cut, copy and paste between computers, as well as print documents to your computer or the computer you are accessing. Furthermore, you can even invite a person to temporarily view or share control of your computer from anywhere.
Price: $9.95 per month
A heavyweight in the VNC world, LogMeIn has been connecting people to their computers remotely for a long time. Their service branches across platforms - you simply log in via their site, which displays your home desktop. Copy documents to and from your computer, and control your computer as if you were sitting in front of it. Use their iPhone app as well. There are free and paid services available.
Price: $0 or $12.95 per month, $29.99 for the iPhone app
Apple Remote Desktop is more suited for managing multiple computers on a single network. Use it to check up on what's happening on your network. It includes a Dashboard widget that gives you an instant view of the remote computers in your network. The Remote Drag and Drop capability gives you the ability to move items between your computer and a computer on your network. You can also copy and paste information between systems. It also keeps track of who's been using your computer - it saves information in user history reports that tell you who is using a computer, when they logged in and out, and how they accessed the computer.
Price: $299 for a 10-system licence, $499 for unlimited systems (available in the Mac App Store for $79.99)
For the Windows camp, Remote Desktop enables you to connect to your computer across the Internet from nearly any computer. Remote Desktop gives you full mouse and keyboard control over your computer while showing you everything that's happening on the screen.
For those of us who can't live without our iPhones and iPads, iTeleport gives you full control of your Mac or PC. You'll love the easy one-time setup and the intuitive touch interface. Run your entire computer from the palm of your hand.
Chicken of the VNC is a fast, lightweight client for OSX. If you don't need fancy bells and whistles and just want something that works, this is for you. You're hard-pressed to beat the price, as well.
With iTap Mobile, you're once again accessing your home computer with a device that you already have with you most of the time - your iPhone or iPad. Take advantage of iTap's gesture control and the ability to control your computer over 3G, EDGE, or wifi.
RealVNC lets you see and interact with desktop applications regardless of location. The software has a widespread user base from individuals to the largest multi-national companies, so it's almost certainly good enough for you.
Price: $30 per personal licence
TeamViewer can handle it all - remote access, screen sharing, or even controlling a customer's computer from around the world. Depending on your business, TeamView could easily become the most useful thing you use during your day.